Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) is a clump-forming perennial grass that grows naturally in rich woods or rocky slopes along streams and on moist bluffs. It is known for its distinct flat, nodding seed heads that resemble oats and has a high shade tolerance for an ornamental grass. These seed heads are green in spring, ultimately turning tan in summer then purplish in fall. The flat seed heads create an attractive “shimmer” effect in the wind. The Northern Sea Oats’ bamboo-like leaves will turn yellow-gold in the fall with enough sun, and the dried foliage provides winter interest and can be cut back in spring. The seeds are eaten by birds and small mammals while the stems and leaves are used as nesting material by birds. It is the larval host for the Northern Pearly-Eye (shown above) as well as several skipper butterflies.