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Japanese Stiltgrass

Photo by Chris Evans, Illinois Wildlife Action Plan, Bugwood.org

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Common Name: Japanese stiltgrass
Scientific Name: Microstegium vimineum
Origin: Asia


Japanese stiltgrass is an annual grass that sprawls along the ground as it grows. The leaves are pale green, narrow, and lance-shaped with a distinctive silvery stripe of hairs along the midrib. Tiny flowers are produced on slender stalks in late summer.


Japanese stiltgrass is especially adapted to low light conditions and will thrive in a wide range of habitats including woodlands, wetlands, fields, and roadsides.


Japanese stiltgrass spreads to form extensive mats that displace native plant species that are not able to compete with it. Invasions can also change soil nutrient cycling processes, inhibit tree survival and growth, and reduce light availability. After it dies back in late fall, it forms a thick layer of smothering thatch that is slow to decompose and creates a fire hazard.


Hand pulling and herbicides are commonly used for control of this plant. Because hand pulling plants disturbs the soil and may expose stiltgrass seed from previous seasons, handpulling will need to be repeated for many seasons until the seed bank is exhausted.

Distribution: View Map

Japanese stiltgrass is present in the FL-PRISM.

Invasive Rank

Fact Sheet