Pennisetum setaceum, commonly known as crimson fountaingrass, is a C4 perennial bunch grass that is native to open, scrubby habitats in East Africa, tropical Africa, Middle East and SW Asia. It has been introduced to many parts of the world as an ornamental plant. It is drought-tolerant, grows fast, reaches 3 feet in height, and has many purple, plumose flower spikes.
Fountaingrass has been introduced to Tenerife,Sicily, Sardinia, southern Spain, Australia,South Africa, Hawaii, the Western United States,California, and southern Florida. It thrives in warmer, drier areas and threatens many native species, with which it competes very effectively as an invasive species. It also tends to increase the risk of intense wildfires, to which it is well adapted, thus posing a further threat to certain native species.
Various cultivars are grown as ornamental grasses for horticulture and landscape use, such as Pennisetum setaceum var. rubrum (red fountain grass). The species, often grown as an annual, has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.