It comes from South America, and was introduced in Europe in the mid-nineteenth century, and also appeared in the Spanish horticultural literature of the century with the name of the Pampas grass. It was initially used as an ornamental plant, is not recommended anyway to use it near recreational areas such as swimming pools, rivers or lakes for public bath for its cutting leaves; hence the generic name cortaderia, ‘to cut’.
Its specific name selloana was given by the geographer and explorer Alexander von Humboldt in 1818, in honor of Friedrich Sellow (1789-1831), a German botanist with financial support and recommendations of Humboldt himself could perform independently botanical expeditions by the interior of Brazil.
Although it prefers sunny, moist places, it is a plant that adapts to a wide range of environments and climates. That is why in places like California or the Iberian Peninsula it is considered a terribly invasive species.