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Purple Top

Tridens flavus

Fine, purple seed heads; establishes quickly in plantings; seeds are wildlife food



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Tridens flavus, commonly called Purple Top or Grease Grass, is a native perennial, warm season grass. It begins growth in early spring and develops seed stalks from July to September.


Forage notes

Livestock enjoy the foliage in the early stages of growth, but the plant becomes coarse and tough when mature. On native ranges, Purple Top increases as other, more palatable grasses decrease from heavy, continuous grazing.


Wildlife notes

Turkey and quail consume the seeds in the fall, and it provides denning, nesting materials, and cover throughout the year. Deer occasionally eat the young foliage. Purpletop tridens supports several pollinator species. It is a larval host for the crossline skipper, little glassywing, and broad-winged skipper.


Landscaping notes

It typically grows to 30″-48″ in clumps and prefers dry or mesic soil conditions. Plants can be used as a native ornamental grass and are attractive with their reddish-purple inflorescence when planted en masse. It is salt tolerant and does well along roadsides.


Restoration notes

Habitats include woodland openings, savannas, woodland borders, meadows in wooded areas, powerline clearances in wooded areas, limestone glades, fields, roadsides, and areas along railroads. Areas with a history of disturbance are preferred. It does well when used for soil stabilization.

This plant is commonly found in the following mixes:

Buck’s Hangout, Companion Grass Mix – Shade, Dry ‘n Rocky Mix


Videos About This Plant

To learn more about this plant, check out our videos about it and its uses.

Meet the Natives: (Tridens flavus)

Cattle love this underappreciated Warm Season Grass |  (Tridens flavus)

Additional information

Weight N/A

Full Sun to Part Shade

Seeding Rate

8 PLS lbs/acre


Dry, Average



Bloom Month

Aug, Sep



Specialty Uses


Cattle Palatability


# seeds/pkt


Packet coverage area

5 sq. ft

Life Cycle


What is PLS?

Pure Live Seed (PLS) is the portion of good viable seed per pound. It is a measure of the seed that is alive and able to sprout into plants. This product is sold by PLS ounce/pound. To provide one ounce/pound of viable seed, you will receive more than one ounce/pound of product. Read more about PLS here.