The Peruvian Feather Grass may save the world from Mexican Feather Grass, Nassella (formerly Stipa) tenuissima. Whether the world needs saving from the rampant reseeder MFG depends on your point of view and where you garden. (More on that here.) I’ve heard grass authority and famous contrarian John Greenlee proclaim that he’d rather see Los Angeles’ vast concrete spaces festooned with MFG than bare. MFG effortlessly insinuates itself into cracks in paving. The biggest concern would arise if your Southern California garden abuts open spaces where MFG can escape. In that context, Stipa ichru, aka Jarava ichru, aka Peruvian Feather Grass, is being touted as a substitute.
This is its first summer in my garden, and already I’ve noted some differences, though. For one, PFG is taller. And because it’s not a prolific reseeder, we’ll probably be seeing it more as a specimen than en masse, as the MFG is so often used. It might be too early to judge if this is a long-lasting trait or due to its young, small size, but Peruvian Feather Grass has more of an arching, weeping form.
My early impression is that this grass really deserves to be considered on its own merits. because it’s a beauty. I’ll be thrilled if it reseeds…lightly.