At the following three locations Miscanthus sinensis has been documented as invasive. Invasiveness is defined as "the establishment of self-sustaining plant populations that are expanding within a natural plant community with which they had not previously been associated" (Vitousek et al., 1995).
Miscanthus sacchariflorus is growing on its own in several locations in Iowa and Minnesota, but the majority of these sites are plants that continue to live on old farmsteads, or where they were originally planted. Such instances offer a case of persistence but are not necessarily "invasion" into new areas.
Citations about Miscanthus as an Invasive Plant
Hitchcock (1901) listed one of the earliest descriptions of Miscanthus as an ornamental. However, in the 1917 edition of the Cyclopedia, he added an additional sentence in the description of M. sinensis: "Sometimes found escaped from cult."
In the 1950 edition of Manual of Grasses, Agnes Chase included this information on Miscanthus:
"Eulalia (Miscanthus sinensis) has been cultivated for ornament in the eastern part of the United States for many years. Recently it has shown a tendency to spread by seed. It is now becoming a nuisance in some localities because of its aggression in old fields." Under M. sacchariflorus she noted, "Sparingly cultivated for ornament; escaped in Clinton County, Iowa".
Pohl (1978) noted that M. sinensis is "cultivated widely as an ornamental, and occasionally escaping to the wild around inhabited places.....M. sacchariflorus... has become a weed in the north central states."
As of 2003, several states and organizations listed online information about Miscanthus as an invasive plant. Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Virginia, Kentucky and Wisconsin had information on invasive miscanthus in their states. New York State regulates the sale of miscanthus with exceptions for sterile hybrids recently developed.
The following resources give more information on specific areas of the United States where Miscanthus has been invasive.
- Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States shows images and a distribution map for Miscanthus invasiveness
- Midwest Invasive Plant Network
- Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council lists the status of Miscanthus for 13 southern states.
- US Forest Service FEIS Miscanthus sinensis information
Hitchcock, A. S. 1901; 1917. Miscanthus p. In L. H. Bailey (ed.). Cyclopedia of Horticulture. Macmillan, NY.
Hitchcock, A. S. 1950. Manual of the grasses of the United States. Second edition revised by Agnes Chase. US Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.
Pohl, Richard. 1978. How to know the grasses, Third edition. Wm. C. Brown, Dubuque, Iowa.
Vitousek, P. L. Loope, C. D'Antonio, and S. J. Hassol. 1995. Biological invasions as global change, p. 213-336, In: S. J. Hassol and J. Katsenberger (eds). Elements of change 1994. Aspen Global Change Inst., Aspen, Colo.