Written by Don Richardson 
River Oats (Chasmanthium Latifolium)
Plant Type
Perennial Grass & Grain
2-5’ tall, 1-2’ wide
Sun Exposure
Full sun, part shade, full shade
Soil Type
Acidic, slightly acidic
Soil pH
6.0 – 8.0
Bloom Time
Summer - Fall
Hardiness Zones
4-9 (USDA)
Medium, Moist, Wet
-20° above, drought tolerate
Self pollinates
Edible Plant
Yes – Seeds cooked
Medicinal Plant
Any reference to medicinal or culinary use of plants or plant parts should in no way be considered an endorsement by The Ocala Food Forest or its staff. Research is crucial in safe and proper consumption or experimentational use of any plant.

Chasmanthium latifolium, also known as northern sea oats or Indian woodoats, is a perennial grass native to North America. It is a beautiful plant that produces inconspicuous greenish-white flowers in the summertime and has long, narrow leaves that turn a stunning golden yellow during autumn. It is an excellent choice for gardeners looking for a low-maintenance addition to their garden. Let's learn more about this incredible plant and what it can do for your yard.
Features and Benefits 
Chasmanthium latifolium stands out among other grasses due to its unique features. It grows quickly in most soil types and can reach heights between two and four feet tall. The leaves are typically flat but can take on an arching shape when planted in dense clumps or when grown on hilly terrain. The leaves are also known for their ability to move with the slightest breeze, creating a soft rustling sound that is pleasing to the ear. This grass prefers full sun but will tolerate some shade as well, making it ideal for sunny gardens or shady corners of your yard.
The most attractive feature of Chasmanthium latifolium is its color-changing foliage. In late summer, the plant produces small panicles with inconspicuous greenish-white flowers which attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies. As fall approaches, the leaves take on a stunning golden yellow hue that adds warmth and beauty to any landscape design. This striking foliage makes it an ideal choice for gardeners who want to add interest to their gardens without having to purchase additional plants or invest in complicated maintenance routines.  
Nutritional Benefits
Chasmanthium latifolium is packed with nutritious benefits. The seeds are high in protein, fiber, vitamin C and other essential nutrients. They are also low in calories and fat, making them an ideal addition to any healthy diet. Furthermore, the seeds contain powerful antioxidants that can help protect against disease and promote overall health and wellness.
These edible seeds can be found in nature or purchased from health food stores or online retailers. Once you have obtained the seeds, they should be cleaned before consumption to remove dirt or debris. To do this, place the seeds in a bowl of water and stir gently until any dirt has been removed from the surface of the seed. After cleaning them thoroughly, you can then cook them up in your favorite recipes like oatmeal. The seeds have a nutty flavor and can be used as an ingredient in salads or soups or even added to breads and muffins as an extra crunchy topping. They can also be ground into flour which can then be used to make pancakes and other baked goods. For those looking for something different they can also be roasted like pumpkin seeds for a satisfying snack
Growing Chasmanthium Latifolium 
Chasmanthium latifolium is very easy to grow given the right conditions. The plant prefers moist soil with good drainage, so it should be planted in areas where rainwater can easily reach its roots without pooling or standing water accumulating around them. It does not require much fertilizer but will benefit from periodic applications of compost or mulch throughout the year. To promote healthy growth, dead foliage should be removed as needed throughout the growing season so that new shoots can flourish without competition from old growth blocking sunlight and nutrients from reaching them.  
 Chasmanthium latifolium is an attractive and easy-to-grow perennial grass that adds beauty and texture to any landscape design. Its color changing foliage provides interest all year round while its low maintenance needs make it ideal for busy gardeners who don't have time for intensive care routines yet still want a beautiful lawn or flowerbeds filled with color and texture. Whether you are looking for something low maintenance yet eye-catching or just need something different from your standard grasses, this incredible plant could be exactly what you're looking for!


Leave a Comment