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Silkgrass, Narrowleaf     Pityopsis graminifolia

The Narrowleaf Silkgrass is a native perennial plant found in the southeastern United States and as far north as Maryland and Ohio.  In Florida, it is found throughout the state.  Its normal habitat is pine flatwoods, dry prairies, scrubs and sandhills.  Other common names for this plant include Golden Aster, Silk-Grass and Grass-leaved Goldenaster.

This plant emerges in early spring.  For most of spring and summer, it exists as a bundle of silvery, grass-like leaves.  A flower stalk begins to emerge by mid-summer.  By early or mid-fall, flowers begin to bloom.  By this time the plant may be 3 feet tall.

The thin, grass-like leaves are 4-8 inches long.  They are attached alternately to a stiff upright stem.  The leaves and stem are covered with silvery hairs, giving an overall grayish-green appearance.

Flower heads, about 3/4-1 inch wide form in small groups at the end of the stalk and its branches.  Each flower head has several yellow petals (ray flowers) around a yellow center (disc flowers).  In Florida, these flowers bloom in October and November.  They produce nectar, which attracts bees, butterflies and other insects.

The plant propagates by spreading underground stems (rhizomes) or by seeds.  The small seeds are about 1/16-inch long, narrow and tan to dark in color.  They are dispersed by wind or animals.

The photos on this page were taken in Deep Creek in Charlotte County. Additional information on this plant may be found by clicking on the following links:

     Atlas of Florida Plants

     USDA PLANTS Database

      Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center