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How to Identify Velvet Grass

Velvet Grass, Holcus lanatus, is a non-native cool season grass found in scattered counties in Illinois in moist, disturbed habitats. This grass grows three to four feet tall and its defining trait is its hairiness. Velvet Grass is densely covered in short, white, velvety hairs, giving it a gray-green almost silvery appearance. The leaf blades, sheathes, stems, and nodes are all covered with these hairs. It also has a membranous ligule.

Velvet Grass produces a panicle inflorescence. It has numerous branches that are packed full of spikelets. These spikelets are silvery-green to light pink and have pointed tips.

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.