Briza media (Common Quaking Grass)

Scientific Name

Briza media L.

Common Names

Common Quaking Grass, Quaking Grass, Cow Quake, Didder, Dithering Grass, Dodder Grass, Doddering Dillies, Doddle Grass, Earthquakes, Jiggle Joggles, Jockey Grass, Lady's Hair, Maidenhair Grass, Pearl Grass, Quakers, Quakers and Shakers, Shaking Grass, Tottergrass, Wag Wantons

Synonyms 

Briza anceps, Briza australis, Briza elatior, Briza lutescens, Briza pauciflora, Briza pilosa, Briza serotina, Briza tremula, Briza viridis, Poa media

Scientific Classification

Family: Poaceae
Subfamily:  Pooideae
Genus: Briza

Flower

Color: Pale green
Bloom Time: May to August, 12 weeks from spring sowing

Description

Briza media is a rhizomatous, creeping, warm-season ornamental grass that features a clump of narrow, erect, green leaves, typically growing up to 15 inches (37.5 cm) tall. Tiny, greenish flowers appear in spring in loose, airy panicles atop stems rising well above the foliage clump up to 3 feet (90 cm) tall. Flowers give way to flattened hop-like, purplish-maturing-to-tan seed heads which dangle on thread-like stems and quiver in the slightest breeze, thus giving rise to the common name.

Briza media - Common Quaking Grass
Photo via gardenhow.blogspot.com

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zone 4a to 8b: from −30 °F (−34.4 °C) to 20 °F (−6.7 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Quaking Grass has no special germination requirements and so can be sown at any time of the year to raise plants. As with most grass seed, this means that seed can also be sown successfully in open ground in both autumn and spring.

It is slow-growing grass and so will take time to establish from seed.  It is best sown in small quantities to add interest as a minor component of a mixture, with the main ground cover provided by other companion grass species.

As Quaking Grass is not a very competitive grass, it does require good grassland management (mowing and grazing) to maintain its presence in a mixed sward, particularly on better soils. Neglect or even regular late hay cutting will allow taller grasses the opportunity to outgrow and to shade it out. Also, while quaking grass does produce side shoots, it does not spread laterally very much, so is dependent self-seeding into gaps created by good management to maintain itself or increase in a mixed sward. See more at How to Grow and Care for Quaking Grass (Briza).

Origin

Native to Europe and Asia.

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