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Chionochloa is a genus of tussock grass

Images of Chionochloa at

Chionochloa is a genus of tussock grass.

Overview of Chionochloa

• It belongs to the Poaceae family.
• It contains primarily species of grass that are endemic to New Zealand. These are like:
– Snow tussock (e.g. Chionochloa conspicua)
– Red tussock and hunangamoho. C. frigid
– C. pallid
• The other species are found in Australia.
• Out of these, about 24 species in the genus grow in clumps.
• They grow up to a height of 1.5 m.
• Red tussock is found in higher numbers than the tall tussock grasslands.

They are found on:
– The North Islands volcanic mountains
– Northern half of the South Island
• Snow tussock is seen above the tree line together with other species.
• There are other species too other than snow tussock
• Some of the species are called as snow grass or snow grass tussock.

Characteristics of Chionochloa

• Plant type: Grass-like
• Habit: Tufted
• Hardiness: H7
• Color of the Flower: Pale Brown in Summer
• Foliage Color
– Brown
– Green
– Red in Autumn, Spring, Summer and Winter
• Size: 1-1.5 metres
• Ultimate spread: 0.5-1 metres
• Time taken to reach maximum height: 2-5 years
• Chionochloa are compact and tufted grasses.
• They have narrowly linear and coloured leaves that are quite attractive.
• They have tall stems.
• They bear lax panicles.
• They have small flowering spikelets that arise in summer

Scientific Classification of Chionochloa

• Kingdom : Plantae
• (unranked) : Angiosperms
• (unranked) : Monocots
• (unranked) : Commelinids
• Order : Poales
• Family : Poaceae
• Genus : Chionochloa

Growing/Caring conditions for Chionochloa

How to grow?
• This plant needs sunlight.
• This plant needs full sun.
• This plant needs South-facing, West-facing or East-facing spot to grow well.
• This plant needs to be sheltered.
• This plant needs moist but well-drained and light fertile soil.
• This plant will not tolerate very wet winter times.
• Soil should be Well-drained or Moist but well-drained for the plant to flourish.
• Soil should be Acid, Alkaline or Neutral.
• Soil should be of the Loam, Chalk or Sand type.
• Sow the seeds in pots in a cold frame.
• Sow the seeds in spring.
• You can also grow by division in spring.
Suggested planting locations
• Cottage
• Informal Garden
• Flower borders and beds
• Cut Flowers
• Low Maintenance
• Prairie Planting
How to care?
• This grass is generally pest free.
• Cut back old and the flowered stems in early winter.
• Prune them at the base.

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