Pampas Grass (Cortaderia selloana), Coastal Path
This species belongs to the gramineous family of plants. It is an ornamental perennial plant that lasts more than one year and it resprouts every spring from its roots. They present dense sheats of long linear leaves with serrulate sharp margins. Leaves are usually green, although there are varieties which are whitish or yellowish. It blossoms at the end of summer and beginning of autumn. The flowers emerge from the groups of leaves, forming large plumose long panickles at the top. They are silky, white or rose, depending on the type, and more attractive in female plants. These clusters of flowers can be up to 3 m high.
DISTRIBUTION AND HABITAT
As their name suggests, these plants comes from Argentinian pampas. They can live on any kind of soil and place, but they cannot live in very wet or humid places, as their roots can rot.
As for other kinds of environment, they can live in any habitat; under the sun or in partial shade, but they cannot stand frost.
HOW THEY LIVE
This species adapts easily to the environment, as it grows in a wide range of surroundings and climates. These plants are very prolific that reproduces by seeds. Each plant can produce more than one million seeds during its life. In some places like California, Hawaii or the north and west of the Iberian Peninsula, these plants are invasive. In Spain, except on the Canary Islands, New Zealand and South Africa, it is forbidden to sell them and dissemination for these reasons. If the species is burnt, it can still resprout.
WHERE THEY CAN BE SEEN IN MÁLAGA
As this species is common in gardening due to its size and spectacular inflorescence, it is likely to be seen in hotel gardens, building complexes and parks all over the coast of Málaga, above all, on the western coasts which is rather developed. They can also be seen in natural surroundings.
This species was introduced to Spain in the 1940s, after the war, when there was lack of food so cereals had to be imported from Argentina. It seems that Pampas grass’s seeds were mixed with grains. The species was registered in the 1950s close to the Puerto de Santander. Lately, it has been used for landscaping, and its plumose spikelets are used as decorations with dry flowers. They are sometimes coloured, and they are cut while young and dried upside-down.
This is a big plant with long plumose spikelets, so it can be easily confused with any other species from the same group, but when it is young with no inflorescence, it can be confused with marram grass, above all, on the beaches close to gardens. It can be easily identified if you touch the cutting margins of its leaves to check if they are sharp.