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PlantFiles: Northern Sea Oats, Spangle Grass, Indian Woodoats, Broadleaf Uniola, Wild Oats, River Oats
Chasmanthium latifolium

Family: Poaceae (poh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Chasmanthium (chas-MAN-thee-um) (Info)
Species: latifolium (lat-ee-FOH-lee-um) (Info)

Synonym:Uniola latifolia

16 vendors have this plant for sale.

59 members have or want this plant for trade.

Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall

Grown for foliage
Good Fall Color

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season
This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds
Provides winter interest

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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There are a total of 34 photos.
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11 positives
7 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Phellos On Nov 1, 2013, Phellos from Port Vincent, LA wrote:

I first saw this growing under neath some sideways growing shade making river birch trees along the banks of the Amite river here in Louisiana. I collected some seeds and plan to try growing this in my 'river garden' along my willow and cottonwood trees.

Neutral Arthur55 On Jul 27, 2013, Arthur55 from Decatur, IL wrote:

I am so sorry I planted Northern Sea Oats! They are coming up EVERYWHERE! I have found the plants to be difficult to pull because of extensive root systems, so for several years I have removed all seed heads, hoping to stop them from spreading. They can apparently send roots long distances, because I find them 15 feet away on the other side of a concrete patio! I REALLY dislike Northern Sea Oats!

Neutral SoooSirius On Jul 30, 2012, SoooSirius from Municipality of Murrysville, PA wrote:

I have both positives and negatives about this plant. As others have said, it does reseed freely. However, it does tolerate growing in a difficult environment - along a winter-salted Pennsylvania street. It is lush no matter how dry the weather, and for me provides some measure of privacy and sound-deadening along said street. It is also growing in clay/rock subsoil, the junk the gas company left behind when they filled in the trench after installing new line. Chasmanthium has provided winter interest in an area that would otherwise be bare in the winter. I would recommend that if you do want to cut or pull this plant that you wear good, thick, garden or work gloves, because the edges of the leaves and stems are like razors on your hands if you attempt to pull them. I agree that it does best in part or dappled shade.

Positive oldgal67 On Nov 4, 2010, oldgal67 from London, ON
Canada wrote:

This pretty - so far non-invasive - plant has been growing happily in shade in an herbaceous border in my garden in Southwestern Ontario (Canada - Zone 5) for two years now. I cut the dry heads in early November for indoor decoration so self-seeding hasn't so far been a problem. - in fact I would be happy to see it spread itself about a bit more than it does. It has remained in the slowly growing clump I planted two springs ago without showing any signs of becoming rampant......I may live to eat those words, of course ;o)

Neutral Juniper99 On Jun 7, 2009, Juniper99 from Charlottesville, VA wrote:

My experience combines the positive and negative others have posted. Placement of this wonderful species is crucial. I originally planted it, without research, in my carefully controlled, moist woodland shade garden along my front path. The seedlings were simply overwhelming, and as Victor accurately states, if you don't catch the small seedlings in time, it is very difficult to pull and becomes a serious problem.

I've a new garden, and my woodland shade garden is now a much wilder place in my back yard. I'm planting this species today and eager to see its spangliness run wild, adding to the much-needed native diversity of my suburban lot.

Positive CurtisJones On Apr 30, 2008, CurtisJones from Longmont, CO wrote:

From your friends at Botanical Interests, inc.: An ornamental and U.S. native grass, Northern Sea Oats has clumping foliage that is reminiscent of bamboo leaves. A relative of true oats, its nodding seed heads dance in the slightest wind. As temperatures cool in autumn, its foliage and seed heads turn a richy, coppery red then turn to bronze as winter draws near. Leave them standing for their fall beauty or cut them for dried flower arrangements. Plants started in early spring will produce seed heads the first year. (Cut back in fall after seeds heads appear to prevent spreading if it is a problem in wet soil areas.) Perennial in zones 4-9.

Positive CodyMody7890 On Jun 14, 2007, CodyMody7890 from Reno, NV (Zone 6a) wrote:

this grass is amazingly bamboo- like and has BEAUTIFUL flowers that turn brown when cold /fall arrives makes a very cool quakish sound when wind blows ! attractive year round and extremely hardy ! iv learned it likes part to full shade more than sun !

Neutral soulgardenlove On May 21, 2007, soulgardenlove from Marietta, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Okay.. it's not "invasive" but I have moved it two times. If you plant it amongst ground covers, just imagine if someone threw a handful of grass seeds throughout.. Nope, not a problem to pull up, but you just have to do it strand by strand while not taking up your desired plants. The seeds are pretty and I do like the way they look.. it just needs to be in the right place. It is easily divided and shared. Just dig up the clump and saw in as many new plants as you want. Susan

Positive WUVIE On Apr 18, 2007, WUVIE from Hulbert, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

When planted in the right location to do as it will, it
makes a fabulous display.

However, I, like others mentioned, made the mistake
of planting it among my normal garden environment.
I am still digging it out of the location.

Otherwise, I love watching the little spangles dangle.


Neutral princessnonie On Jul 21, 2006, princessnonie from New Caney, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Inland Seaoats is native in this part of Texas. ( Pineywoods, 40 miles north of Houston ) It's foliage is similar to bamboo and the seedheads are very showy.
In this area, with no supplamental water and in full sun, it spreads rather aggressively and is hard to get rid of without the use of herbicides..
I prefer it in its native habitat near a shady creek bank away from flower beds.

Negative victorgardener On May 15, 2006, victorgardener from Lower Hudson Valley, NY (Zone 6b) wrote:

Horrible re-seeder here. Did not exhibit this for about five years. Now it is everywhere and contrary to one of the other reviews, it is NOT easy to remove unless you spot it when it first sends up a teeny shoot. After that, it gets very fibrous anchors of roots. This and Eupatorium rugosum 'Chocolate' are the worst offenders I have in my garden. Would not wish them on anyone.


Positive Gabrielle On Jan 25, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

I really like the seedheads on this; they look as though they have been pressed. I keep thinking of ways to make a bookmark out of them and some day I will. Last fall I cut some after they had dried brown, but the blades were still green. The blades dried with the green color. I made a bit of a decoration in a vase with it and Feather Reed Grass, and it lasted and looked really nice. I'm not into dried flowers. It's not that I don't like them, it's just not my skill. So if I can do it, anyone can.

I do recommend deadheading this unless you want them coming up everywhere. Blooms June - September in my garden.

Positive Toxicodendron On Jul 27, 2004, Toxicodendron from Piedmont, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

I am fortunate to have great quantities of this native grass growing along my creek and it's tributaries. It thrives in full shade, and thin rocky soil. I dug one up and put it in a flower bed once, and then I had to dig out seedlings for about 3 years after that, so I don't recommend placing them in a formal planned area. Last year I saw some plants for sale in 2 gallon pots.
If you want to dry them for arrangements and would like them to remain green, pick them in August. They last for years. Of course, they are beautiful all winter if left standing where they grow, but they will gradually lose most of the seeds by spring.

Positive henryr10 On Jul 26, 2004, henryr10 from Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

I first ran into this grass about 5 years ago at Cox Arboretum in Dayton, OH.

After describing our shady conditions they recommended Northern Sea Oats.

It absolutely is the grass for partial shade/shade,
3' tall w/ 42" seed heads thick and lush.
I've seen Badseed's Oats, in her full sun conditions, and see no difference.

It IS politely invasive.
Because the seeds are so heavy it's more of a creeping invasion though.
Not much running from roots.
As stated above very easy to control.

The easiest way to propagate is just shake the dried seed heads over the area you'd like to cultivate.

Try in in a container.
It makes an easy, instant, tall filler for empty areas.

The dried seed heads look killer in Winter, snow or no snow, and rustle in the wind w/ a lovely sound.

Strangely our dogs LOVE the new shoots.
They will sit and munch like a cow.

Positive greenjeans1 On Dec 4, 2003, greenjeans1 wrote:

This is a very easy to grow grass. Though it loves to reseed I didn't find it invasive. The dried seed heads turn bronze and make wonderful dried decorations.

Positive gardenwife On May 30, 2002, gardenwife from Newark, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

This is one of my favorite ornamental grasses. The seed heads turn a lovely russet color in the fall and really augment the garden. This spring I had two small starts of it beneath the two main clumps I put in two years ago. It definitely self-seeded last year, but it is by no means invasive.

Positive Wingnut On May 30, 2002, Wingnut from Spicewood, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

These are also native to Central Texas, found along spring-fed creeks. I just love the graceful arcs of the stems holding the seed pods! They're also called River Oats, Inland Sea Oats, Broadleaf Woodoats, Sea Oats, Northern Oats and Indian Woodoats.

Neutral smiln32 On Aug 31, 2001, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This clump-forming, upright, ornamental grass is a Missouri native plant which typically grows 2-5' and most often occurs in rich woods or rocky slopes along streams and on moist bluffs. This grass is perhaps most distinguished by the flat, drooping seed heads which hang in terminal clusters on thread-like pedicils from slightly arching stems. Seed heads will flutter when caressed by even the softest of breezes. Seed heads emerge green but turn purplish bronze by late summer. Bright green leaves (5-9" long) turn a coppery color after frost and eventually brown by winter. Excellent for dried flower arrangement

Neutral Badseed On Aug 9, 2001, Badseed from Hillsboro, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

This grass is very easy to grow from seed or can be divided. I grow it for the showy seed heads, that work very well for dried arrangements. It does self seed, but not enough to be a nuisance. Seedlings are easy to move.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Birmingham, Alabama
Huntsville, Alabama
Morrilton, Arkansas
Redlands, California
San Diego, California
Stockton, California
Denver, Colorado
Lake City, Florida
Niceville, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida
Cleveland, Georgia
Cordele, Georgia
Marietta, Georgia
Cherry Valley, Illinois
Coal City, Illinois
Crystal Lake, Illinois
Palatine, Illinois
Peoria, Illinois
Plainfield, Illinois
Urbana, Illinois
Warrenville, Illinois
Washington, Illinois
Ewing, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Denham Springs, Louisiana
Zachary, Louisiana
Baltimore, Maryland
Churchton, Maryland
Marlborough, Massachusetts
Reading, Massachusetts
Dearborn Heights, Michigan
East Tawas, Michigan
Smiths Creek, Michigan
Cole Camp, Missouri
Piedmont, Missouri
Omaha, Nebraska
Reno, Nevada
Dover, New Hampshire
Frenchtown, New Jersey
Mount Laurel, New Jersey
Davidson, North Carolina
Elizabeth City, North Carolina (2 reports)
Greensboro, North Carolina
Hayesville, North Carolina
Canton, Ohio
Cincinnati, Ohio
Glouster, Ohio
Lynchburg, Ohio
Eufaula, Oklahoma
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Jay, Oklahoma
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Portland, Oregon
Brookhaven, Pennsylvania
Murrysville, Pennsylvania
New Freedom, Pennsylvania
North East, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Spring Grove, Pennsylvania
Conway, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Morristown, Tennessee
Arlington, Texas
Austin, Texas (3 reports)
Belton, Texas
Boerne, Texas
De Leon, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Helotes, Texas
Lindale, Texas
Lipan, Texas
Missouri City, Texas
New Caney, Texas
Santo, Texas
Spicewood, Texas
Salt Lake City, Utah (2 reports)
Leesburg, Virginia
Springfield, Virginia
Liberty, West Virginia
La Crosse, Wisconsin

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