Learn More About Growing Japanese Silver Grass

by johnah on October 31, 2020


Silver grass is a species of perennial flowering plant native to Japan. Its leaves are oblong or ovate, with five leaflets each measuring 2-5 cm long. They have two narrow white teeth at the tip of each leaflet, which allow them to grasp onto twigs and other plants when they are young.

Leaves turn yellowish brown and eventually drop off completely after several years of growth. When silver grass flowers, it produces a pinkish flower spike. Silver grass grows best in moist soil and prefers full sun. It is not frost hardy but can survive temperatures down to -10°C (-20°F).

The Japanese silvergrass (Agrostis albidum) is one of the most widely cultivated plants in Japan. It is used for its edible leaves, which are eaten raw or cooked. The leaves are often added to soups and stews, where they add a distinctive flavor.

Other uses include tea infusions and medicines such as cough syrup.

In addition to being consumed, silver grass is grown commercially for its seeds. These seeds produce small silver-colored berries that can be ground into flour or used like cornmeal in baking recipes.

Silver grass contains a number of nutrients, such as B vitamins and dietary minerals. It also contains proteins that can be used food additives (such as texturizers) for manufacturing processed foods.


The natural distribution of silver grass is restricted to eastern Asia: Japan, Korea and parts of China. Outside its native range, it has been introduced to various other regions around the world.

In its natural environment, silver grass grows in wet mountain forests and stream banks. Its roots are shallow, allowing it to anchor itself in the mud while its shoots reach for the sunlight. Young shoots are eaten by deer and other grazing animals, while mature plants are browsed by forest cattle.

It is an important food source for the endangered Japanese serow (Capricornis crispus).

Silver grass requires a mild climate with lots of rainfall to thrive. It is not frost hardy, and is often cultivated in container gardens in colder climates. It prefers growing in rich, loose soil that is constantly wet.


The Japanese silver grass is currently not threatened or endangered throughout its native range. It is widespread across its natural environment of Japan and China, and its range extends into Korea.

Sources & references used in this article:

Rate of parasitism of cocoons silver Y moth, Autographia gamma (L.) in grass fields at Sapporo, Japan and species composition of parasitoids. by JI Kaneko – Japanese Journal of Applied Entomology and Zoology, 1995 – cabdirect.org

Connecticut nursery and landscape industry preferences for solutions to the sale and use of invasive plants by JA Gagliardi, MH Brand – HortTechnology, 2007 – journals.ashs.org

Ornamental grass trials by MH Meyer – … Trials Conference: Assessment of Ornamental Plants …, 2011 – actahort.org

Tuning in to musical rhythms: Infants learn more readily than adults by EE Hannon, SE Trehub – Proceedings of the National …, 2005 – National Acad Sciences

Effects of silver nanoparticle exposure on germination and early growth of eleven wetland plants by L Yin, BP Colman, BM McGill, JP Wright… – PLoS One, 2012 – journals.plos.org

Invasiveness potential of Miscanthus sinensis: implications for bioenergy production in the United States by LD Quinn, DJ Allen, JR Stewart – Gcb Bioenergy, 2010 – Wiley Online Library

Handbook of phytochemical constituent grass, herbs and other economic plants by JA Duke – 1992 – books.google.com

The ecology and agronomy of Miscanthus sinensis, a species important to bioenergy crop development, in its native range in Japan: a review by JR Stewart, YO Toma, FG Fernandez… – Gcb …, 2009 – Wiley Online Library

Plant invasion alters nitrogen cycling by modifying the soil nitrifying community by CV Hawkes, IF Wren, DJ Herman… – Ecology letters, 2005 – Wiley Online Library



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