Japanese Stiltgrass or Nepalese Browntop, Microstegium vimineum
Poaceae or GrassFamily


A spreading grass, forming large populations. Inflorescence is long and very narrow, often branching, with the side branch at a large angle to the top branch. Leaves are wide for a grass, with a silvery shiny midvein, which is distinctive in that it is usually not in the middle of the leaf, but somewhat to one side. Young leaves stick out at nearly right angles from the stem. Stems that are not flowering often show a distinctive right-angle leaf at the very tip. Blooms in late summer.

Native of south and east Asia. In the US, a noxious invasive weed that apparently hitchhiked to Tennessee in the packing material around Chinese porcelains in 1919. It has since invaded nearly the entire eastern US, and in Virginia, nearly every county. Unusual for a grass, it can stand significant shade. In Wildwood it is too common in semi-shady places along the bikeway, especially near the bridges.

Easily identified by its wide leaves and the off-center shiny midvein.

Inflorescence Leaf Top
Dried inflorescence   Dried florets, closeup

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