invasive wavyleaf basketgrass

Photo: Kerrie L. Kyde, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Bugwood.org

Updated: July 20, 2021

About wavyleaf basketgrass

Wavyleaf basketgrass (Oplismenus undulatifolius) is an exotic, invasive grass that was first found in Maryland in 1997, including in parts of Patapsco State Park. As of 2020, it has been established throughout the Piedmont region of Maryland. 

This invasive weed grows in dense patches in wooded natural areas preventing the growth of native plants and trees. The grass spreads quickly by stolons and seeds. The seeds are easily moved around by people and animals because they are sticky and adhere to shoes, clothing, tires, animal fur, and paws. Stay out of areas and do not let dogs run in stands of wavyleaf basketgrass in late summer and fall to help prevent seed dispersal.

Life cycle

Invasive shallow-rooted perennial grass

Growth habit

Develops elongated stolons (stems) that root at the nodes (where growth occurs) along the ground. Can grow to 18". Hairy stems.

Reproduction

Seeds and stolons. Spikelet flowers. Seeds mature in late September through frost. 

Photos

Growth habit

Wavyleaf basketgrass growing on a forest floor

Photo: Geoffrey Mason, M-NCPPC, Bugwood.org

Leaves

Wavyleaf basketgrass foliage

Photo: Kerrie L. Kyde, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Bugwood.org

Flowers

Wavyleaf basketgrass flowers

Photo: Kerrie L. Kyde, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Bugwood.org

Spikelets of seeds

Spikelets of seeds

Photo: Kerrie L. Kyde, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Bugwood.org

Sticky seeds

The awns exude a sticky substance that aids in the dispersal of seeds.

Photo: Kerrie L. Kyde, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Bugwood.org

Stems

Wavyleaf basketgrass stems with roots developing at the nodes

Photo: Garrett Waugaman, M-NCPPC Weed Warriors, Bugwood.org

Infestation

Wavyleaf basketgrass infestation in a forest

Photo: Kerrie L. Kyde, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Bugwood.org

Management

Prevent this plant from going to seed. Hand-pulling or digging out the plants is the preferred method of removal, to protect native vegetation that may be interspersed. Wavyleaf basketgrass has a very limited root system and pulls out easily, especially when the soil is moist. Focus on removal in high-traffic areas first, to limit dispersal by seeds. Do not compost plants with seed heads.

Additional resources

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources - general information

Wavyleaf basketgrass - reported locations in Maryland | Maryland Biodiversity Project

(PDF) Wavyleaf grass in Virginia | Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation