Cortaderia is a genus of 20-25 species of grasses, native to South America (15-20 species), New Zealand (four species) and New Guinea (one species).
Names and Types in Cortaderia Stapf (Gramineae) II Selected species
The species of Cortaderia
are imposing tall grasses growing 1.5-3 m tall, with graceful white inflorescence plumes. They are in widespread use as ornamental plants
in horticultural use. The common name Pampas Grass
, though strictly referring to C. selloana
, is frequently applied to all species in the genus (and sometimes also, incorrectly, to Erianthus
and Saccharum ravennae
Some species, notably C. selloana, C. jubata and C. rudiuscula, have become invasive species in a number of areas, including New Zealand, coastal California, Hawaii, and some other areas. In these areas, and any area with a Mediterranean-style climate*, planting of any non-native species of Cortaderia should be avoided.
*dry summer, mild winter; as in the Mediterranean, parts of Australia, South Africa, Chile and the Western US
The Latin binomial or scientific name Cortaderia comes from the Spanish word for cutting, because the leaf edges in Cortaderia species are painfully serrated. Selloana is named for a botanist.