Opening up a Mis-can-thus of worms

Flowering this week at JLBG is the amazing Miscanthus transmorrisonensis. Many gardeners, who blindly believe everything they read/hear think the genus miscanthus is the horticultural version of the devil itself. Like everything in life, it’s all about those pesky details, which so many people simply don’t want to be bothered with.

Most miscanthus in the horticultural trade are selections of the species Miscanthus sinensis. Some selections of that species reseed badly and should be avoided in gardens. Others are sterile or nearly so, and unquestionably still deserve a place in American landscapes.

If we make good/bad evaluations at the species level, what would happen if visitors to the earth had their first encounter with a Homo sapiens that was a less than ideal representative of the species at large. They could easily assume that the entire species was a problem and should be eliminated. It’s fascinating that such species based prejudices are acceptable with ornamental plants, but not with people.

Then there are species, which have proven themselves to be complete without seed in our climate, such as Miscanthus transmorrisonensis. All plants in cultivation all appear to be derived from a 1979 Ferris Miller (Chollipo Arboretum)/ Paul Meyer (Morris Arboretum) collection at 9,500′ elevation on Taiwan’s Mt. Daxue. We have grown this for 30 years in rather good conditions, and have yet to see a single seedling. The beauty of this species is that it flowers continuously from summer into fall. I guess it’s too much to ask for environmental fundamentalists to actually pay attention to facts.

A large clump of Miscanthus transmorrisonensis
Miscanthus transmorrisonensis

10 thoughts on “Opening up a Mis-can-thus of worms”

  1. Hey Tony, thanks for everything, first and foremost… But on those issue, being technically right may be insufficient. In my home area, Central and eastern Kentucky, sinensis reseeding is devastating. As a landscaper, it is more simple, efficient and effective to say “don’t plant Miscanthus!” It’s not reasonable to expect the client to knows the “safe” species or cultivars. Same is true for Polygonum. We have fantastic native flora. It u number one priority to protect it.

    1. I’m curious where even Miscanthus sinensis has invaded a functioning natural ecosytem. In NC, it is everywhere along the Interstate roadsides, but it only persists in these manmade un-natural habitats, where native plants don’t thrive. I’ve spent quite a bit of time walking into to natural areas looking for miscanthus problems, and have yet to find one. I understand your frustration about less educated homeowers, but am very concerned when we throw the baby out with the proverbial bath water.

  2. This one looks amazing! Do you sell it? I would love to buy it! I have recently planted Miscanthus Morning Glory, and don’t know yet if it’s going to be problematic or not. It’s my first experience with Miscanthus. Will is seed a lot in Raleigh NC? I have it in part sun, it’s doing well so far.

      1. Thank you! I would love to buy it. And what about Miscanthus Morning Glory, is it going to be problematic in Raleigh? Is this going to reseed like crazy?

  3. Re “homo sapiens”

    At the core of homo sapiens is unwisdom (“invisible” madness) and so the human label of “wise”/sapiens is a complete collective delusion — study the essay “The 2 Married Pink Elephants In The Historical Room” …

    Once you understand that humans are “invisibly” insane you’ll UNDERSTAND (well, perhaps) why they perpetually come up with myths and lies about everything … including about themselves (their nature, their intelligence, their origins, etc).

    (CAVEAT — only read the 2 pink elephant article if you’re GENUINELY interested in the truth and therefore “CAN handle the truth” …)

    Isn’t it about time for anyone to wake up to the ULTIMATE DEPTH of the rabbit hole — rather than remain blissfully willfully ignorant in a fantasy land and play victim like a little child?

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