Setaria palmifolia – Palmgrass

Setaria palmifolia - Palmgrass, Palm Grass, Broadleaved Bristlegrass, Hailans Pitpit, Short Pitpit, Highland Pitpit

Setaria palmifolia - Palmgrass, Palm Grass, Broadleaved Bristlegrass, Hailans Pitpit, Short Pitpit, Highland Pitpit (inflorescence)

Setaria palmifolia - Palmgrass, Palm Grass, Broadleaved Bristlegrass, Hailans Pitpit, Short Pitpit, Highland Pitpit (leaf)

Setaria palmifolia - Palmgrass, Palm Grass, Broadleaved Bristlegrass, Hailans Pitpit, Short Pitpit, Highland Pitpit

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Setaria palmifolia

Synonyms: Panicum palmifolium, P. palmaefolium

Common Names: Palmgrass, Palm Grass, Broadleaved Bristlegrass, Hailans Pitpit, Short Pitpit, Highland Pitpit

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial

Growth Habit: Graminoid

Hawaii Native Status: Introduced. This naturalized ornamental grass and food plant is native to Asia.

Flower Color: Inconspicuous

Height: 3 to 6 feet (1 to 2 m) tall

Description: The single-bristled flower spikelets are in lax, flexible, open panicles on tall, slender stalks. The flowers are followed by small, light brown caryopses (grains). The leaves resemble those of seedling palms and have stiffly haired sheaths and large, green, plicate (pleated), fusiform (wide in the middle and tapering at both ends) leaf blades. The culms (grass stems) are erect and they emerge from a short rhizome.

Here in Hawaii, Palmgrass is a weed in wet and mesic (moderately wet) forested areas from low to middle elevations.

Special Characteristics

Edible – The young, unopened, sheath-enclosed flower shoots are edible, but they are much better in the cultivated "Pitpit" varieties of this plant, which are grown for food. The cereal grain is also edible, but it is small.

Classification

Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Liliopsida – Monocotyledons
Subclass: Commelinidae
Order: Cyperales
Family: Poaceae – Grass family
Genus: Setaria P. Beauv. – bristlegrass
Species: Setaria palmifolia (J. Koenig) Stapf – palmgrass

More About This Plant

Hawaii County Distribution Map