Ruby Grass

12 Sep

Ruby Grass (Rhynchelytrum nerviglumis (Melinis)) evergreen to semi-deciduous, clumping growth to 8-12 inches in height, to 2 ft. when in bloom, one of the most lovely of all flowering grasses, narrow, silky, ruby-pink blooms summer into winter, blue-green foliage, full sun to part shade, drought tolerant.

This perennial grass species grows in tufts of rolled blue-green leaves. The flowers appear mostly in summer, and fade from purple through rose pink to white as they mature. They are densely covered with glistening, silky hairs that give the panicles a ‘shining’ appearance.

Melinis nerviglumis occurs in Africa south of the Sahara and in Madagascar. Melinis, the genus name, is either derived from the Greek melas, meaning black, as the seeds of the grass are black, or from the Latin mel or honey, as some members of the genus give off a strong molasses smell; nerviglumis refers to the veins on the glume (bract at the base of the spikelets which bears the inflorescence).

There are 10 species of Melinis in southern Africa, including the well-known Natal red top, Melinis repens ( formerly Rhynchelytrum repens), which is common on roadsides and in disturbed areas. It is often confused with Melinis nerviglumis, but can be distinguished by the more open leaves.

 

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One Response to “Ruby Grass”

  1. Claude Carle September 12, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

    The moment I saw this plant at the Montreal’s Mosaïcultures at the Botanical Garden, I fell in love with it. I wish I could find a place where to buy this beautiful specimen for next spring plantation.

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