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How to Identify River Oats

River Oats, Chasmanthium latifolium, is a native, cool season grass found in moist woods and along streams in large colonies. It is also a popular landscape grass. It typically grows two to four feet tall and it has wide leaf blades that taper to a point. There is also a short hairy ligule.

Despite being a cool season grass, River Oats blooms in the late summer. It produces a panicle inflorescence whose branches droop strongly to one side. Its unique spikelets resemble oats and are extremely flat. These spikelets often turn a golden color in the fall.

This video is part of the Grasses at a Glance series by Natural Resources, Environment, and Energy Educator Erin Garrett, University of Illinois Extension. Explore the playlist. Read our blog, Grasses at a Glance.