Dinosaur or Plant?
5:21 AM – JUNE 29, 2016
Day 2, going strong, as we are again. No rain today to help my rhythm of the morning, so it might be a good day to cut wheat and plant beans for many of my friends still trying to get some cooperation from Mother Nature. There is no rain in the forecast on the lower Shore for next six hours…enjoy. It has been a tough year on the Shore to get fields planted due to the apparent underwater conditions we are experiencing. Speaking of planting, I have recently learned about a new plant being grown in the South which does not require irrigation or excessive amounts of rainfall, which can be harvested and processed into a range of products from biofuels to bedding for equine and poultry operations. Here is the best part. Its name! Giant Miscanthus.
Wikipedia tells us:
Miscanthus × giganteus, giant miscanthus, is a large, perennial grass hybrid of Miscanthus sinensis and Miscanthus sacchariflorus. This full sun plant grows 240–360 cm tall each year and is best suited for hardiness Zones 5 – 9.
Additionally, it informs us this sterile plant is only propagated by planting its rhizomes and it is a C-4 plant making it a “warm season grass” making its energy for growth via a different carbon cycle (mention of carbon cycles at 5:30 in the morning is free). Bottom line is this grass grows to be 12 feet tall or more and packs a lot of biomass into its production giving it a range of uses in biofuels and products similar to what typical wood shavings offer. While its name makes it sound like a small dinosaur from the Cretaceous Period, its giant name seems to fit the habit of the plant. It is a potential giant new resource and through innovative scaled planting and harvesting techniques this perennial grass may prove to be a new resource on the horizon.
The plant is currently being grown in test plots in Delaware and has been in successful production in North Carolina over the past few years. I am confident there will be more activity to report from this giant grass in the not so distant future.
Thanks for reading today if you got this far and I look forward to our next meeting. It’s still not raining so get outside and enjoy the day. Onward!