Cortaderia jubata

Common Name(s)

purple pampas grass


Cortaderia jubata (Lemoine) Stapf



Flora Category

Vascular - Exotic

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class



Terrestrial. Forest light gaps, slips, margins, disturbed sites, open habitats, riverbeds, cliffs, inshore and offshore islands, tussockland, fernland, herbfield, duneland, coastline, gumlands, salt marsh, estuaries, shrublands.


Large-clump-forming grass to 3 m+. Leaf base very hairy, no white waxy surface. Leaves with conspicuous midrib which does not continue into leaf base, no secondary veins between midrib and leaf edge. Both leaf surfaces dark green, snap readily when tugged. Dead leaf bases spiral like wood shavings. Flowerhead erect, dense, uniform, fluffy, bright purple, fading to dirty brown, Jan- Mar.

Similar Taxa

Can be separated from native toetoe (Austroderia spp.) by the prominent single midrib on the leaves (native cortaderia have several prominent veins, making their leaves difficult to tear across). Can be separated from C. selloana by the hairy leaf bases, and the white (to pale pink) flowering spike extends further from the clump.


January, February, March

Flower Colours

Violet / Purple


March-April (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995).

Year Naturalised



South America

Reason For Introduction


Life Cycle Comments

Perennial. Seed germination occurs in autumn. The plants breeding system is autonomous apomixis and the flower type is apomictic. All plants are female and all flowers are capable of producing seed without pollination. Reproduction primarily by seed but clumps can get quite large. All plants are female but viable seed is produced by apomixis. Seed production is high, averaging one million per inflorescence in first year of flowering. It is unlikely that this plant forms a long term seed bank.

Seed is dispersed by gravity, man, vertebrates, machinery, in gravel and by wind. The seed is very light and is wind dispersed up to 50km.


Adult plants are tolerant of drought and frost, prefers high light. Seedlings are intolerant to drought and slightly tolerant of frost, slightly intolerant to intolerant of poor drainage.

This page last updated on 5 Aug 2018