Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Purpletop, Purpletop Tridens

Purpletop, Purpletop Tridens

Tridens flavus

Full to part sun; medium to moderately dry moisture level; well adapted to shallow droughty, infertile soils including sandy and rocky as well as clay soils; very strongly acid to slightly acid pH.  3-5 feet height; blooms late summer into fall; purple flowers; spreads by short, thick rhizomes and rapidly by self-seeding.

Germination Code:  C(60)

Native Region:  Statewide

Attractive, easy-to-grow, tall grass with drooping branches bearing widely spaced reddish-purple spikes, putting a purple haze on fields and open woods.  Seedlings are slow to develop and may be overwhelmed by other grasses on better soils. Readily consumed by grazing livestock.  Attracts butterflies.

grass;sun;medium;clay
grass;sun;medium;sand
grass;sun;medium;rocky
grass;sun;dry;clay
grass;sun;dry;sand
grass;sun;dry;rocky
grass;sun/shade;medium;clay
grass;sun/shade;medium;sand
grass;sun/shade;medium;rocky
grass;sun/shade;dry;clay
grass;sun/shade;dry;sand
grass;sun/shade;dry;rocky

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One response to “Purpletop, Purpletop Tridens

  1. joystewart December 23, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    A few years ago I scattered a few seeds of this plant to see what it is like. Last year I noticed several healthy plants and really liked the appearance. It is almost as tall as I am (when the seed heads form) but it is so slender that it does not take up a lot of space like Big Bluestem or some of the other clump-forming grasses. I really liked a description that I once read that large areas of it create a beautiful purple haze when the seeds form. I decided I would use it as one of my main grasses in a section of my yard that I will be doing in about a year. But to be on the safe side, I contacted a grass specialist at UT for advice on whether I was headed for any problems in using it. He said no. So hopefully in a couple years I will have a large meadow planting with lots of it. At least it shouldn’t crowd out the wildflowers like Big Bluestem does. Once my planting is in, I will post photos and a note on how well it works.

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