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Miscanthus sinensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Panicoideae
Genus: Miscanthus

See text.

Miscanthus is a genus of about 15 species of perennial grasses native to subtropical and tropical regions of Africa and southern Asia, with one species (M. sinensis) extending north into temperate eastern Asia.

Selected species
  • Miscanthus floridulus
  • Miscanthus giganteus
  • Miscanthus sacchariflorus
  • Miscanthus sinensis
  • Miscanthus tinctorius
  • Miscanthus transmorrisonensis


The sterile hybrid between M. sinensis and M. sacchariflorus, Miscanthus giganteus or "E-grass", has been trialed as a biofuel in Europe since the early 1980s. It can grow to heights of more than 3.5 m in one growth season. Its dry weight annual yield can reach 25t/ha (10t/acre). It is sometimes called "Elephant Grass" and thus confused with the African grass Pennisetum purpureum, also called "Elephant Grass".

The rapid growth, low mineral content and high biomass yield of Miscanthus make it a favorite choice as a biofuel. After harvest, it can be burned to produce heat and steam for power turbines. The resulting CO2 emissions are equal to the amount of CO2 that the plant used up from the atmosphere during its growing phase, and thus the process is greenhouse gas-neutral, if one does not consider any fossil fuels that might have been used in planting, fertilizing, or harvesting the crop, or in transporting the biofuel to the point of use. When mixed in a 50%-50% mixture with coal, it can be used in some current coal-burning power plants without modifications.

M. sinensis is cultivated as an ornamental plant. In Japan, where it is known as susuki(すすき), it is considered an iconic plant of late summer and early autumn. It is mentioned in Man'yōshū (Vol8 1538) as one of the seven autumn herbs (akinonanankusa). It is used for the eighth month in hanafuda playing cards. It is decorated with Bush clover for the Mid-Autumn Festival. Miscanthus has also excellent fiber properties for papermaking.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Miscanthus". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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