LITTLE BLUESTEM(*)

Schizachyrium scoparium

Schizachyrium scoparium, commonly known as Little bluestem or Beard grass, is a species of prairie grass native to most of the contiguous United States and northern Mexico. It will bloom later than most plants, and provides a great source of food when most flowers are spent for the growing season. Little bluestem grass benefits other types of wildlife, is drought resistant, helps with erosion control. It serves as a larval host for nine skipper species including the common wood nymph (Cercyonis pegala), Dakota skipper (Hesperia dacotae), Leonard’s skipper (Hesparia leonardus), and others.

Little bluestem is a perennial bunchgrass and is prominent in tallgrass prairie, along with big bluestem (Andropogon gerardi), indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans) and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum).  It is a warm-season species, meaning it employs the C4 photosynthetic pathway.

 

 

SPECS: Native Name: Algonquin; Genus: Schizachyrium ; Species: Scoparium ; Plant Type: Grass; Life Cycle: Perennial; Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun; Soil Moisture: Mesic (middle), Medium Dry; Height: 5′ — 7′; Spread: 1′; Plant Spacing: 1′ — 2′; Bloom Time: June — December; Bloom Color: Brown, Green, White; Advantages: Adapted to fire, Deep root system, Erosion control, Forage production, Grassland restoration; USDA Zone: 4 — 9; Attracts: Skippers; Tolerant: Drought; Plant Community: Little bluestem looks especially fine when paired with sedums, goldenrods, asters and other favorite late bloomers.;

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