Micanthus sinensis seeds
Micanthus sinensis belongs to the family of the Poaceae. It is also known as Chinese silvergrass. It is native to East Asia.
M. sinensis reaches mostly a height of 2, 5 m, sometimes it gets taller. The shoot and the
leaves die in winter. It grows in horsts.The leaves are typically for Poaceae very long and small. They get 75 cm long and 0,3 to 3cm wide. The leaves go around the shoot and can be hairy. They are light green and one can
clearly see the white midrib.
The flower is reddish and fluffy. It stands clearly above the leaves. Like one knows from the
family of the Poaceae, the flower has a very complex organization. The flowers form
inflorescences the so called spikelet. Those spikelets form a panicle.
The fruit is a so called caryopse, it includes the various seeds that are very small and get
distributed with the wind. In Europe reproduction occurs mainly vegetative via the rhizome.
M. sinensis was brought to Europe in 1935 as an ornamental plant. Soon one recognized that
M. sinensis is very useful as building material and fuel because it produces a high amount of
biomass. Today one makes chaffs out of the plant to use it as fuel. There’s also ongoing
research how to cross M. sinensis with other species to get even more biomass.
M. sinensis can live 10 to 20 years in culture. It is a long living and relatively non demanding
plant. The seeds can be put loosely on the substrate. Kept moist and warm (20 to 25°C)
germination occurs in about 1 to 2 weeks.
M. sinensis needs a constantly water supply, without stagnant moisture. It prefers a sunny
place. M. sinensis is winter hardy.