little bluestem

(Schizachyrium scoparium var. scoparium)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

little bluestem

NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Wetland
Indicator
Status

Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland

Midwest

FACU - Facultative upland

Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland

Nativity

Native

Occurrence

 

Habitat

Dry to moderate moisture. Prairies, south-facing goat prairies, open woods, pine barrens, dunes, roadsides, railroads, old fields. Well-drained, rocky or sandy soil.

Flowering

Mid-July to mid-October

     
Height

18 to 36

     

Identification

This is an erect, medium-height grass reaching 18 to 36 in height at maturity.

The stem (culm) is distinctly wine-red or purplish near the nodes.

The leaves, especially the lower ones, are rough to the touch, and may have scattered, long hairs.

At the top of each culm are several ascending racemes, 1½ to 3 long. Each raceme occurs individually on its own slender stalk.

The spikelets are hairy. The glumes have a twisted awn at the tip about ¼ to ½ inch long.

Unlike most grasses, the stems of little bluestem remain upright in the winter.

 
Similar
Species

 


Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.

Comments

Little bluestem is often used in prairie restorations.

The “blue” in the name refers to the color of the emerging shoots in the early summer. The “little” in the name is a misnomer—this is not a little plant—but differentiates it from similarly-named big bluestem.


Taxonomy

Family:

Poaceae (grass)

 

No Rank:

PACMAD clade

 

Subfamily:

Panicoideae

 

Tribe:

Andropogoneae

 
Synonyms

 

 
Common
Names

broom

broom beard grass

broom beardgrass

broom bluestem

little blue-stem

little bluestem

prairie beard grass

prairie beardgrass

wiregrass


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

awn

A stiff, bristle-like appendage at the tip of the glume, lemma, or palea of grass florets.

 

culm

The hollow or pithy stem of a grass, sedge, or rush.

 

glume

A bract at the base of a grass spikelet. Glumes usually occur in pairs, but occasionally only one is present.

 

raceme

An unbranched, elongated inflorescence with stalked flowers. The flowers mature from the bottom up.

       

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MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos

   

Habitat

  little bluestem   little bluestem
       

Clump

  little bluestem   little bluestem
       
  little bluestem   little bluestem
       

Inflorescence

  little bluestem    
       

Infructescence

  little bluestem   little bluestem
       
       

 

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Other Videos

 
  Little Bluestem - Andropogon scoparium at Ion Exchange
Ionxchange
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Oct 4, 2011

Earthyman views Little Bluestem (Andropogon scoparium) also known as Schizachyrium scoparium at Ion Exchange, native seed and plant nursery in NE Iowa ttp://ionxchange.com/products/ANDROPOGON­-SCOPARIUM-%7C-Little-Blue-Stem.html

 
     
  Little Bluestem
Karl Foord
 
   
 
About

Published on Oct 12, 2013

No description available.

 
     
  Collecting Seed from Little Bluestem for Seed Bank
chicagobotanicgarden
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Feb 16, 2011

No description available.

 
     

 

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MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings

   

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