Gardening How-to Articles

Native Alternatives Plant List

In conjunction with the Brooklyn Botanic Garden All-Region Guide Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants, the following plants have been selected by the handbook's author, C. Colston Burrell, as native alternatives to invasive plants for use in gardens, yards, and natural plantings. The list is organized by horticultural plant group: trees, shrubs, vines, herbaceous plants, and grasses.

For each invasive species listed below, several natives are suggested as alternatives, along with their natural range in continental North America. Ideally, the alternative matches most or all of the invasive plant's desirable characteristics, such as flowers, fruit, fall color, and ease of care. The following checklist was used to select the recommended alternatives that most closely match the corresponding invasive species:

  • Is the plant locally or regionally native?
  • Are the flowers or fruit the same color?
  • Is the inflorescence the same shape and size?
  • Does the plant bloom at the same time?
  • Is the foliage similar in form, texture, and color?
  • Is the overall shape and size of the plant similar?
  • Does the plant have multiple seasons of interest?
  • Is the root system similar?
  • Is the plant easy to establish and maintain?
  • Will it grow in the same hardiness zone and under the same site conditions?

The plants marked with an asterisk (*) are profiled in detail in Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants. For additional guidance in choosing plants that do well in your region, refer to the USDA Hardiness Zone map.

See Trees, Shrubs, and Vines.

Herbaceous Plants

Invasive Plant Native Alternatives
Aegopodium podagraria, Bishop's Weed
  • Achlys triphylla, vanilla leaf—British Columbia, south to California
  • Anemone canadensis, Canada anemone—Quebec to Alberta, south to Maryland and New Mexico
  • Aralia nudicaulis,* wild sarsaparilla—Newfoundland to British Columbia, south to Virginia, Georgia, and Colorado
  • Asarum canadense,* Canada wild ginger—New Brunswick to Ontario, south to North Carolina, Alabama, and Arkansas
  • Asarum caudatum, long-tailed ginger—Montana Rockies, west to British Columbia and California
  • Iris cristata, crested iris—Maryland and Ohio, south to Georgia and Oklahoma
  • Mahonia repens, creeping mahonia—North Dakota to British Columbia, south to New Mexico and California
  • Phlox divaricata, wild sweet William—Quebec and Minnesota, south to Georgia and Texas
Carpobrotus edulis, Ice Plant
  • Astragalus species,* milkvetches—North America
  • Baccharis pilularis, dwarf coyote brush—Oregon and California
  • Callirhoe species, winecups—most of North America
  • Fragaria chiloensis, beach strawberry—Alaska to California
  • Glandularia bipinnatafida, Dakota mock vervain—Wisconsin to California, south to Georgia and Mexico
  • Glandularia (Verbena) canadensis,* rose verbena—Pennsylvania and Illinois, south to Florida and Texas
  • Glandularia neomexicana, hillside verbena—Texas to California
  • Zauschneria californica,* California fuchsia, hummingbird
  • trumpet—California to Baja California
Centaurea cyanus, Bachelor's Button
  • Camassia species, quamashes—most of North America
  • Campanula rotundifolia, harebell—northern North America, south to North Carolina, Texas, and California
  • Delphinium species, larkspurs—most of North America
  • Erigeron compositus, cut-leafed daisy—Alaska, south through Rockies, west to California
  • Erigeron peregrinus, subalpine fleabane—Rockies to Coast Range
  • Erigeron speciosus,* showy fleabane—Alberta and British Columbia, south to the Black Hills, New Mexico, and Oregon
  • Linum lewisii, prairie flax—Michigan to Alaska, south to Louisiana, California, and Texas
  • Lupinus species, lupines—western North America
  • Penstemon species, beardtongues—most of North America
  • Polemonium pulcherrimum,* Jacob's ladder— Alaska to New Mexico, California, and Texas
  • Symphyotrichum (Aster) species,* asters—most of North America
Cichorium intybus, Chicory
  • Campanula rotundifolia, harebell—northern North America, south to North Carolina, Texas, and California
  • Delphinium species, larkspurs—most of North America
  • Linum lewisii,* prairie flax—Michigan to Alaska, south to Louisiana, Texas, and California
  • Lupinus species, lupines—western North America
  • Penstemon species, beardtongues—North America
  • Polemonium pulcherrimum,* Jacob's ladder—Alaska to New Mexico, California, and Texas
  • Symphyotrichum (Aster) cordifolium,* common wood aster—Nova Scotia to Ontario, south to Georgia and Kansas
  • Symphyotrichum (Aster) grandiflorum, large-flowered aster—Virginia and North Carolina
  • Symphyotrichum (Aster) laeve, smooth aster—Maine to Saskatchewan, south to Alabama and Colorado
Coronilla varia, Crown Vetch
  • Apocynum androsaemifolium,* spreading dogbane—Massachusetts and Saskatchewan, south to Florida and Arizona
  • Arctostaphylos uva-ursi,* bearberry—Labrador and British Columbia, south to Virginia, New Mexico, and California
  • Asclepias verticillata,* whorled milkweed—Massachusetts and Saskatchewan, south to Florida and Arizona
  • Dalea species,* prairie clover—most of North America
  • Parthenocissus quinquefolia,* Virginia creeper—Quebec, Manitoba, and Utah, south to Florida and Texas
  • Pteridium aquilinum, bracken—most of North America
  • Vicia americana, American vetch—Quebec to Alaska, south to Virginia, Texas, and California
Daucus carota, Queen-Anne's Lace
  • Angelica arguta, Lyall's angelica—Alaska, south to Wyoming and California
  • Angelica venenosa,* hairy angelica—Massachusetts to Minnesota, south to Florida, Mississippi, and Arkansas
  • Boykinia major, large boykinia—Alberta, south to Idaho; Oregon and California
  • Heracleum maximum, cow parsnip—subboreal Canada, south to North Carolina, New Mexico, and California
  • Oxypolis rigidior, cowbane—Quebec to Ontario, south to Florida and Texas
  • Parthenium integrifolium,* wild quinine—Quebec to Ontario, south to Georgia and Texas
  • Pycnanthemum species,* mountain mint—Nova Scotia to Manitoba, south to Florida and Texas
Digitalis purpurea, Foxglove
  • Chamerion (Epilobium) angustifolium,* fireweed—most of North America
  • Corydalis scouleri, western corydalis—Washington and Oregon
  • Iliamna latibracteata, California wild hollyhock—Oregon and California
  • Iliamna rivularis,* mountain hollyhock—Alberta and British Columbia, south to Colorado, Nevada, and Oregon
  • Physostegia parviflora, purple dragon head—Manitoba to British Columbia, south to Illinois, Utah, and Oregon
  • Sidalcea species,* checkerbloom—Alberta and British Columbia, south to Texas, California, and Mexico
  • Verbena hastata,* blue vervain—Nova Scotia and British Columbia, south to Florida and Arizona
Eichhornia crassipes, Water Hyacinth
  • Nuphar species, pond-lily—most of North America
  • Nymphaea species, water-lily—most of North America
  • Pontederia cordata,* pickeral weed—Nova Scotia to Minnesota, south to Florida and Texas
Foeniculum vulgare, Fennel
  • Zizia aptera, heartleaf Alexanders—New York to British Columbia, south to Georgia and Nevada
  • Zizia aurea,* golden Alexanders—Quebec and Saskatchewan, south to Florida and Texas
Gypsophila paniculata, Baby's Breath
  • Asclepias linaria, pinelaf milkweed—California, Arizona, and New Mexico and Mexico
  • Cleome species, bee plant—Manitoba to Alberta, south to Texas, California, and Mexico
  • Desmanthus species, bundleflower—Pennsylvania to South Dakota and Nevada, south to Florida, Texas, and Arizona
  • Eriogonum fasciculatum var. polifolium—Utah to California, south to Arizona and Mexico
  • Euphorbia corollata,* flowering spurge—Quebec to Ontario, south to Georgia and Texas
  • Krascheninnikovia (Ceratoides) lanata,* winterfat—Saskatchewan to Washington, south to Texas and California into Mexico
  • Limonium californicum, California sea lavender—Oregon and California
  • Porteranthus trifoliatus, bowman's root—Ontario and New England, south to Georgia, Kentucky, and Alabama
  • Symphyotrichum (Aster) ericoides, heath aster—Maine to Manitoba, south to Pennsylvania and New Mexico
Hesperis matronalis, Dame's Rocket
  • Chamerion (Epilobium) angustifolium,* fireweed—most of North America
  • Clarkia species, clarkia—Saskatchewan to British Columbia, south to Arizona, California, and Mexico
  • Geranium viscosissimum, sticky cranesbill—Saskatchewan and British Columbia, south to Nevada and California
  • Penstemon species, beardtongues—North America
  • Phlox carolina,* Carolina phlox—North Carolina and Kentucky, south to Florida and Mississippi
  • Phlox glaberrima, smooth phlox—Maryland to Wisconsin, south to Florida and Oklahoma
  • Phlox paniculata, border phlox—Pennsylvania and Illinois, south to Florida and Louisiana
  • Physostegia parviflora, purple dragon head—Manitoba to British Columbia, south to Illinois, Utah, and Oregon
  • Sidalcea malviflora,* checkerbloom—Alberta and British Columbia, south to Colorado, Nevada, and Oregon
Iris pseudacorus, Yellow Flag Iris
  • Iris brevicaulis, lamance iris—Ohio and Kansas, south to Alabama and Texas
  • Iris fulva, copper iris—Illinois and Missouri, south to Georgia and Texas
  • Iris missouriensis, Missouri iris, western blue flag—South Dakota and British Columbia, south to Mexico and California
  • Iris versicolor,* blue flag iris—Newfoundland to Manitoba, south to Virginia and Minnesota
  • Iris virginica, southern blue flag—Virginia, south to Florida, west to Texas
Lespedeza cuneata, Chinese Lespedeza
  • Astragalus canadensis, Canada milkvetch—most of North America
  • Dalea species,* prairie clover—most of North America
  • Desmanthus illinoensis, prairie bundleflower—Pennsylvania to Saskatchewan, south to Florida and New Mexico
  • Desmodium species, tick-trefoil—most of North America
  • Lespedeza capitata,* roundheaded bushclover—New Brunswick and South Dakota, south to Florida and Texas
Leucanthemum vulgare, Ox-Eye Daisy
  • Georgia and Oklahoma, naturalized widely
  • Erigeron pulchellus,* Robin's plantain—Nova Scotia and Ontario, south to Florida and Texas
  • Heracleum maximum, cow parsnip—subboreal Canada coast to coast, south to North Carolina, New Mexico, and California
  • Melampodium cinereum, hoary blackfoot—Texas
  • Melampodium leucanthum,* blackfoot daisy—Kansas and Colorado, south to Texas and Arizona
  • Parthenium integrifolium,* wild quinine—Massachusetts and Minnesota, south to Georgia and Arkansas
  • Pycnanthemum muticum, short-toothed mountain mint—New York and Michigan, south to Florida and Louisiana
  • Pycnanthemum tenuifolium, narrow-leaf mountain mint—Maine and Wisconsin, south to South Carolina and Texas
  • Pycnanthemum torreyi, Torrey's mountain mint—Connecticut and Illinois, south to Georgia and Kansas
  • Pycnanthemum virginianum,* Virginia mountain mint—Maine and North Dakota, south to Georgia and Oklahoma
  • Valeriana species, valerian—most of North America
  • Echinacea purpurea forma alba, purple coneflower—Ohio and Iowa, south to
Lotus corniculatus, Bird's Foot Trefoil
  • Asclepias verticillata,* whorled milkweed—Massachusetts and Saskatchewan, south to Florida and Arizona
  • Baptisia bracteata,* long-bracted wild indigo—Michigan and Minnesota, south to Kentucky and Texas
  • Baptisia sphaerocarpa, yellow wild indigo—Missouri, south to Alabama and Texas
  • Baptisia tinctoria, horsefly weed—Maine to Minnesota, south to Georgia and Iowa
  • Desmodium species, tick-trefoil—most of North America
  • Lotus rigidus,* deer vetch—Utah and California, south to Baja California
  • Lupinus sulphureus, sulphur lupine—British Columbia to Idaho and Oregon
  • Menodora scabra, rough menodora—Colorado and California, south to Texas and Mexico
  • Senna species, senna—Maine to Michigan, south to Florida, west to California
Lysimachia nummularia, Moneywort
  • Asarum canadense,* Canada wild ginger—New Brunswick to Ontario, south to North Carolina, Alabama, and Arkansas
  • Asarum caudatum, long-tailed ginger—Montana Rockies, west to British Columbia and California
  • Mehania cordata, creeping woodmint—Pennsylvania and Ohio, south to North Carolina and Tennessee
  • Mitchella repens,* partiridgeberry, wintergreen—Labrador to Manitoba, south to Florida and Texas
  • Phlox stolonifera, creeping phlox—Pennsylvania and Ohio, south to Georgia
Lythrum salicaria, Lythrum virgatum, Purple Loosestrife
  • Agastache foeniculum, anise hyssop—Ontario to Alberta, south to Kentucky, Colorado, and Montana
  • Asclepias incarnata,* swamp milkweed—Nova Scotia to Saskatchewan, south to Florida and New Mexico
  • Asclepias speciosa, showy milkweed—Manitoba to British Columbia, south to Iowa and Oklahoma
  • Chamerion (Epilobium) angustifolium,* fireweed—most of North America
  • Eupatorium purpureum, sweet Joe-Pye weed—New Hampshire and Iowa, south in the mountains to Georgia, and to Oklahoma
  • Filipendula rubra,* Queen-of-the-prairie—New York and Wisconsin, south to North Carolina and Kentucky; naturalized elsewhere
  • Iliamna rivularis,* wild hollyhock—Alberta and British Columbia, south to Colorado, Nevada, and Oregon
  • Liatris pycnostachya,* prairie blazing star, Kansas gayfeather—Indiana to North Dakota, south to Texas and Mississippi
  • Liatris spicata, spike gayfeather—New York and Wisconsin, south to Florida and Louisiana
  • Lythrum alatum, winged loosestrife—Quebec to Montana, south to Florida and Texas
  • Physostegia species, obedient plant—Most of North America
  • Sidalcea malviflora,* checkerbloom—Alberta and British Columbia, south to Colorado, Nevada, and Oregon
  • Verbena hastata,* blue vervain—Nova Scotia and British Columbia, south to Florida and Arizona
  • Vernonia species, ironweed—Ontario to Montana, south to Florida and Arizona
Melilotus albus, Melilotus officinalis, Sweet Clover
  • Cleome lutea, yellow bee plant—Manitoba and Saskatchewan, south to New Mexico and California
  • Senna species, senna—Maine to Michigan, south to Florida, west to California
  • Stanleya pinnata, prince's plume—Manitoba and Saskatchewan, south to Texas and California
  • Thalictrum species, meadow rue—North America
  • Thermopsis montana,* mountain goldenbanner—Alberta to British Columbia, south to New Mexico, Arizona, and Mexico
  • Thermopsis rhombifolia, golden banner—Saskatchewan, south to New Mexico
  • Thermopsis villosa, Carolina bush pea—North Carolina to Georgia
  • Veronicastrum virginicum,* Culver's root—Ontario and Manitoba, south to Georgia and Louisiana
Pinellia ternata, Pinellia
  • Arisaema dracontium,* green dragon—Quebec to Minnesota, south to Florida and Texas
  • Arisaema triphyllum, Jack-in-the-pulpit—Nova Scotia to Manitoba, south to Florida and Louisiana
  • Asarum species,* wild ginger—North America
Polygonum cuspidatum (Fallopia japonica), Giant Knotweed
  • Aralia californica, elk clover—Oregon and California
  • Aralia racemosa, spikenard—New Brunswick to South Dakota, south to North Carolina and New Mexico
  • Aruncus dioicus,* goatsbeard—Ontario to Alaska, south to Georgia and Oklahoma, west to California
  • Holodiscus discolor,* ocean spray—Albert and British Columbia, south to Arizona and California
  • Polygonum phytolaccifolium, alpine knotweed—Alberta and British Columbia, south to Montana and California
  • Sambucus canadensis, elderberry—Nova Scotia to Manitoba, south to Florida and Mexico
  • Sambucus nigra subsp. cerulea, blue elderberry—Alberta and British
  • Columbia, south to Texas, California, and Mexico
Potentilla recta, Potentilla
  • Asclepias verticillata,* whorled milkweed—Massachusetts and Saskatchewan, south to Florida and Arizona
  • Potentilla arguta,* prairie cinquefoil—Quebec and Manitoba, south to Virginia and Arizona
  • Potentilla tridentata, wine-leaf cinquefoil—Greenland and Northwest Territories, south to New England and Iowa, and in the mountains to Georgia
Ranunculus ficaria, Lesser Celandine
  • Caltha palustris, marsh marigold—northern North America to North Carolina, Indiana, and Alaska
  • Chrysogonum virginianum,* green-and-gold—Quebec, south to Florida and Louisiana
  • Senecio aureus, golden groundsel—Labrador and Minnesota, south to Georgia and Arkansas
  • Zizia aptera, heart-leaf Alexanders—New York to British Columbia, south to Georgia and Nevada
  • Zizia aurea,* golden Alexanders—Quebec and Saskatchewan, south to Florida and Texas
Trifolium arvense, Trifolium aureum, Trifolium campestre, Trifolium dubium, Trifolium fragiferum, Trifolium hybridum, Trifolium incarnatum, Trifolium pratense, Trifolium repens, Trifolium resupinatum, Clovers
  • Amorpha species, wild indigo—most of North America
  • Astragalus species, milkvetch—most of North America
  • Baptisia species,* false indigoñMaine to Ontario and Minnesota, south to Florida and Texas
  • Chamaecrista nictitans, partridge pea—Maine to Michigan and Wisconsin, south to Florida, west to New Mexico
  • Dalea candida, white prairie clover—Indiana and Saskatchewan, south to Alabama and Arizona
  • Dalea mulitflora, many-flowered prairie clover—Iowa and Kansas, south to Arkansas and Texas
  • Dalea (Petalistemum) purpurea,* purple prairie clover—Indiana and Alberta, south to Alabama and New Mexico
  • Dalea villosa, silky prairie clover—Wisconsin to Saskatchewan, south to Texas and Colorado
  • Oxytropis species, locoweed—Manitoba to Alaska, south to Texas, California, and Mexico
  • Trifolium species, native clovers—most of North America
Tripleurospermum maritimum subsp. inodorum (Matricaria perforata), Scentless Chamomile
  • Erigeron philadelphicus,* Philadelphia fleabane—throughout North America
  • Symphyotrichum (Aster) species,* asters— throughout North America
Vinca minor, Vinca major, Periwinkle
  • Arctostaphylos uva-ursi,* bearberry—Labrador and British Columbia, south to Virginia, New Mexico, and California
  • Asarum species,* wild ginger—most of North America
  • Clinopodium (Satureja) douglasii, yerba buena—Alaska to Montana and California
  • Eurybia (Aster) divaricatus, white wood aster—Nova Scotia to Ontario, south to Georgia, and Alabama
  • Euonymus obovata, running strawberry bush—New York to Michigan, south to North Carolina and Missouri
  • Mahonia repens, creeping mahonia—North Dakota to British Columbia, south to New Mexico and California
  • Mitchella repens,* partridgeberry—Nova Scotia and Minnesota, south to Florida and Texas
  • Pachysandra procumbens,* Allegheny spurge—North Carolina and Kentucky, south to Florida and Louisiana
  • Paxistima myrsinites,* Oregon box—Alberta and British Columbia, south to Texas and California
  • Symphoricarpos mollis, snowberry—California
  • Vaccinium crassifolium,* creeping blueberry—Virginia to Georgia
  • Vaccinium elliottii, Elliott's blueberry—Virginia, south to Florida, west to Texas and Arkansas
  • Waldsteinia fragarioides,* barren strawberry—Maine and Quebec, west to Minnesota, south to Georgia and Indiana

Grasses

Invasive Grass Native Alternatives
Agropyron cristatum, Crested Wheatgrass
  • Bouteloua species, gamma grass—most of North America
  • Hesperostipa species, needlegrass—throughout central and western North America
  • Koeleria macrantha (cristata), June grass—Maine to British Columbia, south to Alabama and California
  • Nassella species, tussock grass—throughout central and western North America
  • Pascopyrum (Agropyron) smithii,* western wheatgrass—Ontario to British Columbia, south to Tennessee, Texas, and California
  • Schizachyrium scoparium,* little bluestem—Maine and Quebec to Alberta, south to Florida and Arizona
Arundo donax, Giant Reed
  • Arundinaria gigantea,* giant cane—New Jersey and Kansas, south to Florida and Texas
  • Dasylirion wheeleri, sotol—Texas to Arizona, south to Mexico
  • Nolina bigelovii,* Begelow's bear grass—California, Nevada, and Arizona, south into Mexico
  • Saccharum (Erianthus) giganteum, sugarcane plumegrass—Long Island, New York, south to Florida, west to central Mississippi Valley and Texas
  • Yucca thompsoniana (rostrata), beaked blue yucca—Texas
Bromus inermis, Smooth Brome
  • Andropogon ternarius, split-beard broomsedge—New Jersey south to Florida, west to Texas, and up the Mississippi Valley to Illinois
  • Calamagrostis canadensis, Canada bluejoint—northern North America, south to North Carolina, New Mexico, and California
  • Calamovilfa longifolia, Prairie sandreed—Ontario to Saskatchewan, south to Pennsylvania, Missouri, and New Mexico
  • Panicum virgatum, switchgrass—most of North America
  • Schizachyrium scoparium,* little bluestem—Maine and Quebec to Alberta, south to Florida and Arizona
  • Sporobolus species, dropseed—most of North America
  • Hesperostipa species, needlegrass—central and western North America
  • Tridens flavus,* purpletop—New Hampshire to Nebraska, south to Florida and New Mexico
Cenchrus ciliaris (Pennisetum ciliare), Bufflegrass
  • Bouteloua species, gamma grass—most of North America
  • Koeleria macrantha (cristata), June grass—Maine to British Columbia, south to Alabama and California
  • Pascopyrum (Agropyron) smithii,* western wheatgrass—Ontario to British Columbia, south to Tennessee, Texas, and California
  • Pleuraphis (Hilaria) rigida,* big galleta—California and Utah, south to Baja California and northern Mexico
  • Schizachyrium scoparium,* little bluestem—Maine and Quebec to Alberta, south to Florida and Arizona
  • Sporobolus species,* dropseed—most of North America
  • Hesperostipa species, needlegrass—central and western North America
Cortaderia selloana, Cortaderia jubata, Pampas Grass
  • Carex spissa, San Diego sedge—California, Arizona, and Mexico
  • Leymus condensatus, giant wild rye—California
  • Juncus acutus subsp. leopoldii, spiny rush—California, Nevada, and Arizona, south to Mexico
  • Muhlenbergia lindheimeri,* Lindheimer's muly grass—Texas and Mexico
  • Nolina bigelovii,* Bigelow's bear grass—California, Nevada, and Arizona, south into Mexico
  • Saccharum alopecuriodium, silver plumegrass—New Jersey to Arkansas, south to Florida and Texas
  • Saccharum brevibarbe var. contortum, shortbeard plumegrass—Virginia to Oklahoma, south to Florida and Texas
  • Saccharum (Erianthus) giganteum,* sugarcane plumegrass—New York, south to Florida, west to Mississippi Valley and Texas
  • Sorghastrum nutans,* Indian grass—Maine to Manitoba, south to Florida, Arizona, and Mexico
Cynodon dactylon, Bermudagrass
  • Agrostis hyemalis, ticklegrass—eastern and central North America
  • Aristida stricta, wiregrass—Florida and Southeast
  • Carex pansa,* California meadow sedge—British Columbia to California
  • Carex texensis, Catlin sedge—Quebec south to Georgia and Texas
  • Festuca californica, California fescue—British Columbia, south to Montana and California
  • Festuca rubra,* red fescue—central Canada, south to Georgia, Colorado, and California
  • Tridens flavus,* purpletop—New Hampshire to Nebraska, south to Florida and New Mexico
Eragrostis curvula, Weeping Lovegrass
  • Agrostis hyemalis, ticklegrass—eastern and central North America
  • Aristida stricta, wiregrass—Florida and Southeast
  • Calamovilfa longifolia, prairie sandreed—Ontario to Saskatchewan, south to Pennsylvania, Missouri, and New Mexico
  • Carex pansa,* California Meadow sedge—British Columbia to California
  • Festuca californica, California fescue—British Columbia, south to Montana and California
  • Hesperostipa species, needlegrass—central and western North America
  • Sporobolus heterolepis,* prairie dropseed—Quebec and Saskatchewan, south to Delaware, Texas, and Colorado
  • Tridens flavus,* purpletop—New Hampshire to Nebraska, south to Florida and New Mexico
Festuca arundinacea, Tall Fescue
  • Andropogon ternarius, split-beard broomsedge—New Jersey south to Florida, west to Texas, and up the Mississippi Valley to Illinois
  • Calamagrostis canadensis, Canada bluejoint—northern North America, south to North Carolina, New Mexico, and California
  • Calamovilfa longifolia, prairie sandreed—Ontario to Saskatchewan, south to Pennsylvania, Missouri, and New Mexico
  • Hesperostipa species, needlegrass—central and western North America
  • Panicum virgatum,* switchgrass—most of North America
  • Schizachyrium scoparium,* little bluestem—Maine and Quebec to Alberta, south to Florida and Arizona
  • Sporobolus species,* dropseed—North America
  • Tridens flavus,* purpletop—New Hampshire to Nebraska, south to Florida and New Mexico
Imperata cylindrica, Cogon Grass
  • Carex crinita, fringed sedge—Nova Scotia and Ontario, south to Georgia and Texas
  • Carex lupulina, hop sedge—Newfoundland to Ontario, south to Florida and Texas
  • Chasmanthium latifolium, riverbank oats—New Jersey to Iowa, south to Florida and Texas
  • Elymus hystrix (Hystrix patula), bottle-brush grass—Newfoundland to Manitoba, south to Georgia and New Mexico
  • Imperata brevifolia, satin tail—Texas to Utah and California, south to Mexico
  • Panicum virgatum,* switchgrass—most of North America
Miscanthus sacchariflorus, Maiden Grass
  • Panicum virgatum,* switchgrass—most of North America
  • Spartina pectinata,* prairie cordgrass—Newfoundland to Alberta, south to Florida, Texas, and Washington
Miscanthus sinensis, Japanese Silver Grass
  • Panicum virgatum,* switchgrass—most of North America
  • Saccharum giganteum,* sugarcane plumegrass—New York, south to Florida, west to central Mississippi Valley and Texas
  • Saccharum brevibarbe var. contortum, shortbeard plumegrass—Virginia to Oklahoma, south to Florida and Texas
Paspalum notatum var. saurae, Paspalum notatum var. latifolium, Bahia Grass
  • Agrostis hyemalis, ticklegrass—eastern and central North America
  • Aristida stricta, wiregrass—Florida and Southeast
  • Carex pansa,* California meadow sedge—British Columbia to California
  • Carex texensis, Catlin sedge—Quebec south to Georgia and Texas
  • Paspalum notatum var. notatum,* American bahia grass—Virginia to Illinois, south to Florida, west to Texas
  • Tridens flavus,* purpletop—New Hampshire to Nebraska, south to Florida and New Mexico
Pennisetum setaceum, Fountain Grass
  • Bothriochloa barbinodis, silver beardgrass—Oklahoma to California, south to Texas and Mexico
  • Festuca californica, California fescue—British Columbia, south to Montana and California
  • Muhlenbergia capillaris,* hairawn muhly—Massachusetts to Indiana, south to Florida and Texas
  • Muhlenbergia rigens, deer grass—higher elevations from New Mexico to California, south into Mexico
  • Sporobolus airoides, alkali sacaton—Manitoba to British Columbia, south to Texas, California, and Mexico
Phalaris arundinacea, Reed Canary Grass, Gardner's Garters
  • Calamagrostis canadensis, Canada bluejoint—northern North America, south to North Carolina, New Mexico, and California
  • Carex crinita, dropping sedge—Nova Scotia and Ontario, south to Georgia and Texas
  • Glyceria grandis, American mana grass—subboreal Canada, south to Virginia, New Mexico, and California
  • Panicum virgatum,* switchgrass—throughout most of North America

See Trees, Shrubs, and Vines.

C. Colston Burrell is an avid plantsman, garden designer, and award-winning author. His books include Hellebores: A Comprehensive Guide (Timber Press, 2007), winner of the AHS Book Award; Perennial Combinations (Rodale, 1999), a Garden Book Club Best Seller; and A Gardener's Encyclopedia of Wildflowers (Rodale, 1997). He is the editor of several BBG handbooks, most recently Native Alternative to Invasive Plants (2006) and Intimate Gardens (2005). He gardens on ten acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Learn more at www.ccolstonburrell.com.

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