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Photo Credit: F.Starr

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Photo Credit: Franz Xaver

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Photo Credit: Forest Starr



  • FAMILY Poaceae
  • CATEGORY Shrubs, Vines, & Others

pampas grass (Cortaderia jubata, Cortaderia selloana)

Considered very invasive; C. jubata is on the Hawai`i State Noxious Weed List. The Division of Forestry and Wildlife of the Hawai`i Department of Land and Natural Resources has designated this species as one of Hawai`i's Most Invasive Horticultural Plants.

  • Large clumping grass that may reach 6 ft or taller
  • Leaves are narrow and have sharp, serrated edges
  • Showy white to purple flower plumes (24 - 31 in) tower three times higher than the foliage
  • C. jubata plants have both female and male flowers and are able to produce viable seeds without cross-pollination
  • C. selloana plants have either male or female flowers and require cross-pollination between male and female plants to produce viable seeds
  • C. jubata was controlled on Mau`i, C. selloana is on O`ahu and Big Island; both species are native to South America
  • Multiple seeds spread far by the wind


  • In native forests they outcompete native plants, create a fire hazard, and may impact watersheds by changing the natural water cycle.
  • The invasive nature of C. selloana was not historically recognized in Hawai`i because only female plants had been cultivated by cuttings. Male plants are now present and this species is starting to spread.
  • Both are serious pests in California and New Zealand

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