Pennisetum setaceum

Pennisetum setaceum_crimson fountaingrass_ JM Di Tomaso
Photo courtesy Joseph DiTomaso

Synonyms: Pennisetum ruppelii, Phalaris setaceum

Common names: crimson fountain grass; purple fountain grass; tender fountain grass

Pennisetum setaceum (crimson fountaingrass) is a coarse tufted perennial grass (family Poaceae). It primarily grows along the southern California coast. Crimson fountaingrass is well adapted to fire, and plants can recover to pre-burn density, even increase in density, following a burn. It is cultivated as an ornamental, but the red cultivar is sterile and not considered invasive.

Cal-IPC Rating: Moderate

Cal-IPC Assessment

Plant Assessment Form - Information gathered by Cal-IPC on the impacts, rate of spread, and distribution of invasive plants in California. Does not include management information.

Weed RIC Management Notes

  • Management Notes - Information on management techniques and effectiveness from the University of California Cooperative Extension’s Weed Research & Information Center.

Cal-IPC Newsletter Articles

Cal-IPC Symposium Presentations

  • Sweet, L. and J. S. Holt (2010). Ecological correlates of fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum) in California coastal sage scrub. Cal-IPC 2010 Symposium. Ventura, CA, California Invasive Plant Council
  • Clines, J., J. DiTomaso, et al. (2004). Grasses working group. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2004. Ventura, CA.
  • Connick, S. and M. Gerel (2004). Partnering to prevent invasions of plants of horticultural origin. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2004. Ventura, CA.
  • Northam, F. E. (2001). Invasive plant species management in Arizona. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium 2001. San Diego, CA.
  • Brooks, M. L. and T. C. Esque (1999). Alien grasses in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Synposium '99. Sacramento, CA.
  • Devender, T. R. V., R. S. Frlger, et al. (1997). Exotic plants in the Sonoran desert region, Arizona and Sonora. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium '97. Concord, CA.
  • Thomsen, C. D., W. A. Williams, et al. (1996). Yellow starthistle management with grazing, mowing, and competitive plantings. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium '96. San Diego, CA.

Other Pennisetum setaceum Information

  • CalPhotos - Images of plants taken mostly in California.
  • Calflora - See the distribution of this species on Calflora's map of California.
  • CalWeedMapper - Distribution information with ability to determine regional priorities.
  • Jepson Online Interchange for California Flora - Information on taxonomy, biology, and distribution from UC Berkeley's Jepson Herbarium.
  • CDFA - California official noxious weeds.
  • USDA PLANTS Database - Federal database with information on identification and distribution, and links to websites in individual states.