Similar Species for: Imperata cylindrica (L.) Beauv.
The native plumegrasses silver plumegrass (Saccharum alopecuroidum), sugarcane plumegrass (S. giganteum) may be distinguished from congograss by their obvious stems and lack of an off-center midvein. Both of these tall grasses are good ornamental choices for the landscape, producing large, showy pinkish to silvery flower and seed plumes. Sugarcane plumegrass prefers wet to moist sites, and silver plumegrass likes drier soil.
Purpletop (Tridens flavus) may be distinguised from congongrass by its stem and lack of an off-center midvein.
Johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense), another Severe Threat invasive grass in Tennessee, may be confused with congongrass. However, the presence of an obvious stem and the lack of an off-center midvein should distinguish the speces.
These native plants are suitable substitutes for cogongrass in the landscape.
Red Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is a smaller-stature grass, typically 2 to 4 feet. The foliage begins to turn a rich red from the tip down in late summer and fall. There are several cultivars available, including ‘Rotstrahlbusch,’ ‘Hanse Herms,’ ‘Shenandoah,’ ‘Squaw,’ and ‘Rehbraun.’
Sideoats Grama (Bouteloua curtipendula) is a short grass, 1 to 2 feet tall, with red flowers dangling from long stalks.
Plumegrasses (Saccharum spp.) – see separate entry.