Virginia Invasive Species

Early Detection Species of Virginia

Wavyleaf Grass (Oplismenus undulatifolius)

What's the harm?

Wavyleaf grass invades forest groundlayer and forms a dense thatch and may outcompete other plants for light and nutrients. It may suppress shrub and tree seedlings, leading to long-term alteration of the forest community and structure. Wavyleaf produces numerous sticky seeds that help the species spread rapidly across the landscape. 

wavyleaf grass

What is it?

A trailing perennial grass species that thrives in moist forests. 

wavyleaf grass

Where is it from?

No one knows how it first arrived in the U.S. It was discovered in Maryland in 1996 and first reported in Virginia in 2003. A genetic study determined the population in the U.S. came from the Ural Mountains in Crimea, Russia. 

How did it get here? 

People moved it here, perhaps accidently picking up the sticky seed while traveling. 

wavyleaf grass seed

Where is it now?

Wavyleaf is reported in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. As of the end of 2019, it is reported in 20 counties and the City of Richmond. 


See our wavyleaf grass StoryMap here>>


How can I report the location of some wavyleaf I found? 

Go to our reporting page here >>

What is being done?

A Wavyleaf Task Force has been formed to pool information and resources and coordinate action among a number of public agencies and private organizations. Actions include public education, field surveys, and control of infestations. See the fact sheet, linked below, for more information.

How can it be controlled?

Very small infestations can be controlled by hand-pulling plants. For best results with this method, ensure the roots of each plant are removed. Herbicides with glyphosate or clethodim are most effective. Be sure to follow lable instructions. All treatments will have to be repeated at least once annually for several years in order to exhaust the seed bank. Treatments should be applied before the plants go to seed. 

How can I learn more? 

Get the DCR-Natural Heritage wavyleaf fact sheet here>>

To learn about control options, download the DCR wavyleaf grass best management practices fact sheet here >>

View a webinar presentation here >>.

Image Credits

Kerrie Kyde, Univeristy of Georgia,