Dwarf Fakahatchee Grass



Botanical Name:  Tripsacum floridanum

Common Name:  Dwarf Fakahatchee Grass, Florida Gamagrass

Description:  This is a very nice Florida native ornamental grass. Dwarf Fakahatchee Grass is an herbaceous perennial that forms a dense, upright clump. These flat blades of grass grow from a short, thick, underground rhizome. Blades are noticeably more narrow than Tripsacum dactyloides. This grass grows at a moderate rate to a height of 2 – 3′ tall and spreads to form a clump up to 6′ wide. The flowers appear in somewhat showy spikes, with rust-colored anthers. These spikes appear in the spring and summer. Is semi-evergreen to evergreen.

Even though its native range is Southern Florida, it grows just fine well north of that range. It has been documented in very southern counties with an outlier in Martin County (see the Atlas of Florida Plants map). That outlier is also unique in that it was collected near a cypress dome. It is listed as Threatened in Florida, so please don’t disturb clumps you find growing in the wild.

It likes to grow in sun, part sun, or part shade areas of your garden. The adaptability of Dwarf Fakahatchee grass makes it well suited for planting in water retention and detention areas. These areas are often wet or inundated for a period of time, then become very dry. Which means it would be good in rain gardens. But it is also a drought tolerant ornamental grass, which makes it very versatile in our gardens. Likes lime rock or sandy soils in acidic to alkaline pH. It is also useful to stabilize banks and steep slopes.

Is a larval host for Byssus Skipper (Problema byssus). Seeds are eaten by birds.  Provides cover for lizards and other small animals.

Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water. Low/no tolerance of salty wind or direct salt spray.

This plant in 3-gallon containers is 2-3′ tall.

Plant Lore:  Closely related to corn, this species has been crossed with maize to produce a corn that is resistant to Helminthosporium turcicum, the fungus that causes northern leaf blight.

Florida Hardiness Zones 8 – 11


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