Zoysia Species and Variety Names

I often become confused when trying to remember all of the different zoysiagrass species and varieties. Fortunately, my friend Tim Bowyer from Patten Seed Co. did some research and sent it to me. Now you too can have the benefit of his knowledge!

Tim says:

“There is little complete understanding of the zoysiagrass species population in the US (as with most widely occurring/old varieties there is a continuum of phenotypic types that tend to get ‘discovered’ and labeled within present day classifications) .  Recent tests by Texas A&M have profiled the DNA of zoysiagrasses and there is much smearing of the lines between not just species but genus’s of Zoysiagrasses as well.  There are probably more than 20 commercially grown varieties and many are very similar.  Recent interest in Zoysia, because of its survivability in drought conditions, was sparked by our present water problems.

“In my experience, Zoysia japonica is the best surviving turfgrass in the Atlanta and north Georgia areas as demonstrated by its ability to overtake and establish in tall fescue lawns – even when being maintained as tall fescue!  This is especially true when you compare bermudagrass lawns to zoysiagrass lawns 3 years after installation.  The bermudagrass lawn is usually in a much more depleted condition while the zoysia lawn is still dominant and performing – in most cases.

“The zoysia genus is named for Karl von Zois (Austrian Botanist 1756 – 1800).

“This information comes from ‘Grass Varieties in the United States – 1972’/Agricultural Handbook No. 170 and ‘Manual of the Grasses of the United States’ – A.S. Hitchcock and various sites on the Internet plus personal conversations with breeders.

“More information at Don’t Know Much About Zoysiagrass and Classification of Zoysiagrass .

Scientific name Common nameCommercial nameDescriptionReleased byDate
Zoysia japonica, aka Z Korei (sp?)Japanese lawngrass, Korean lawngrass, Korean Temple GrassMeyerSeed introduced in 1930 from northern Korea – in the US since 1895 – tough wear resistant turf – vegetative propagation onlyNational Plant Materials Center USDA/ARS and USGA Green Section. Named Meyer in honor of Plant Explorer Frank N. Meyer1951
MidwestSource prodigy of 40 poly cross F1 selection. Vegetative propagation only.Selected at Purdue U, W. Lafayette, IN, by Bill Daniel. 1963
Z-93Single plant selection from plants grown from seed of MeyerNational Plant Materials Center - USDA/ARS and USGA Green Section. 1952
ZenithHybrid F1 seed of 3 way field cross. Propagated by seed and vegetative material.Patten Seed Company – Jack Murray collection1995
Compadre – CompanionHybrid F1 seed of 2 way field cross. Propagated by seed and vegetative materialPatten Seed Company – Jack Murray collection1995
Zoysia matrella

Zoysia matrella (L.) Merr. var. pacifica Gouds
Manilagrass ‘from H.N. Vinall in 1927, F.C. 13521 obtained originally from J.B. Norton, Hartsville, SC, probably selection from S.P.I. No. 48574 Vegetative propagation only.‘from H.N. Vinall in 1927, F.C. 13521 obtained originally from J.B. Norton, Hartsville, SC, probably selection from S.P.I. No. 48574 Vegetative propagation only.Alabama Agricultural Experiment StationNot given
Zoysia tenuifoliaMascarenegrass, Korean Velvet Grass, Snake grassCommon zoysia tenuifoliaGenerally not mowed and left to grow free form – grass mounding forming void areas under the grass or tunnels. Often found in the Caribbean basin but not originating from there. Native of Kyushu - Ryukyu Islands, Japan. Named in 1834-1836.Vegetative propagation only.Agricultural Experiment Station GuamNot given
Zoysia japonica X Zoysia tenuifoliaEmerald

Vegetatively propagated F1 selection of field cross including tenuifolia, and Meyer Z japonica. Vegetative propagation only.
Georgia Agricultural Experiment Station, Tifton, GA and Plant Science Research Division, ARS and USGA1955

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