The proper common name for the popular plant pictured at right is pampas grass, but I like to call it pompous grass. I also like to moan and groan about what it truly is: dastardly invasive.
Sure it’s eye-catching and its tall plumage can bring dramatic flair to cosmetically-enhanced landscapes such as the one at this home that I passed by this morning up near the summit of Mount Maltman south of Sunset in Silver Lake, but the owner of this property and anyone else out there who’s allowed this malignant South American space invader to be planted is doing a horticultural injustice to the indigenous plant life, which is a nice way of saying they suck.
Pampas grass may not be as prevalent around the hills and dales of the eastside as another aggressive colonizer/displacer known as North African fountain grass (disclosure: there’s a stand of that stuff in our front yard, which I’ve so-far been unsuccessful in trying to talk my wife into letting me remove), but I invite you to take a look around the coastal bluffs and cliffsides next time you might be heading up or down any extended stretch of PCH or Highway 1. The place is lousy with the pampas grass, and what’s most disturbing is that it’s taken over io thoroughly in only the last couple decades ‚Äî primarily because people plop it into their yards without concern for its success at spreading.
There are stacks of websites out there promoting pampas and fountain grasses for their ornamental properties and drought resistance with nary even a mention that the suckers could practically colonize the moon. Since they’re not illegal or restricted around here, there’s nothing to keep your uninformed or unconcerned neighbor from planting some and subsequently sending them your way sooner or later.