Vehicle Fuel Available at Big Meadows ONLY!
Vehicle fuel is only available at Big Meadows (mile 52). Gas service has been discontinued at the Loft and Elkwallow areas.
There has been an outbreak of Norovirus among Appalachian Trail (A.T.) hikers. For information about how to protect yourself click here. More »
Grass and grass-like species (sedges and rushes) account for 13% of the vascular plants within Shenandoah National Park. Despite this relative abundance, these species are often overlooked because of their small wind-pollinated flowers and nondescript linear leaves.
Photo courtesy of Gary Fleming VA-DCR
Many grass flowers mature in the late spring to early summer. The wind-pollinated nature of these flowers necessitates producing large quantities of pollen, making them particularly common culprits for seasonal allergies.
In Shenandoah National Park grasses can be easily viewed at Big Meadows where red top (Agrostis perennans) and tall oat grass (Arrhenatherum elatius) are particularly common. The troublesome invasive species Japanese stilt grass (Microstegium vimineum) can be seen throughout the Elkwallow picnic area where it is has overrun virtually all other forest understory herbs. Grasses possess a subtle beauty, and provide a worthy botanical challenge to those interested in determining individual species. Take a moment next time you pass some grass to bend down and take a closer look.
One website that provides photographs and helpful biological information about grasses is:
Listing of this website does not and is not intended to imply endorsement by the National Park Service of commercial services or products associated with the site.
Did You Know?
Skyline Drive rides the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains for 105 miles through Shenandoah National Park, and joins the Blue Ridge Parkway which connects Shenandoah to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC. More...