prairie dropseed

(Sporobolus heterolepis)

Conservation Status
prairie dropseed
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

UPL - Obligate upland


FACU - Facultative upland

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland


Prairie dropseed is a bunch-forming grass. It has fine-textured leaves, up to 20 long and wide, that arch gracerfully forming a rounded bunch up to 15 tall and 18 wide. It retains its shape in the winter.

Unlike other grasses, the flower heads produce a pleasant scent.




24 to 48


Similar Species


Dry to moderately moist prairies. Sandy, loamy soil.




August to September


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 24, 28, 30.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Liliopsida (monocots)  


Poales (grasses, sedges, cattails, and allies)  


Poaceae (grasses)  
  No Rank PACMAD clade  
  Subfamily Panicoideae (bristlegrasses, bluestems, paspalums, and allies)  
  Tribe Andropogoneae  
  Subtribe Sporobolinae  


Sporobolus (dropseeds)  



Agrostis heterolepis

Vilfa heterolepis


Common Names


northern dropseed

prairie dropseed











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Nancy Falkum


Prairie Dropseed

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Prairie Dropseed Time Lapse


Uploaded on Nov 19, 2006

REPLACED - SEE NEWER, SHORTER VERSION WITH SURPRISE ENDING. This series of still photos documents the growth of an Illnois native Prairie Dropseed plant in our front garden. The photos were taken during the 2006 growing season in Naperville, Illinois.




Visitor Videos

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Other Videos

Prairie Dropseed - A Fragrant Ornamental Grass


Uploaded on Oct 19, 2009

Prairie Dropseed is a native prairie grass that makes a nice, fragrant addition to the perennial border. for more information about ornamental grasses in the garden, please visit


Spring Prairie Dropseed Burn at Ion Exchange


Published on May 12, 2013

Earthyman shows Spring Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis) burn at Ion Exchange Native Seed and Plant Nursery in NE Iowa, This is a beautiful native grass to add to your prairie planting or perennial garden.




Visitor Sightings

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  Nancy Falkum

Location: Kellogg Weaver Dunes SNA, Weaver Dunes Unit

prairie blue-eyed grass  
  Nancy Falkum

Location: Kellogg Weaver Dunes SNA, Weaver Dunes Unit

prairie blue-eyed grass  
  Nancy Falkum

Location: Kellogg Weaver Dunes SNA, Weaver Dunes Unit

prairie blue-eyed grass  

Agassiz Dunes SNA

Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park

Blanket Flower Prairie SNA

Blue Mounds State Park

Buffalo River State Park

Bunker Hills Regional Park

Butternut Valley Prairie SNA

Carver Park Reserve

Chippewa Prairie

Compass Prairie SNA

Des Moines River SNA

Dodge Nature Center

Felton Prairie SNA, Bicentennial Unit

Foxhome Prairie

Frenchman’s Bluff SNA

Frontenac State Park

Glynn Prairie SNA

Hastings Sand Coulee SNA

Hole-in-the-Mountain Prairie

Hythecker Prairie SNA

Iron Horse Prairie SNA

Jensen Memorial WMA

Joseph A. Tauer Prairie SNA

Kasota Prairie SNA

Kellogg Weaver Dunes SNA, Kellogg Weaver Unit

Kettledrummer Prairie

Lake Elmo Park Reserve

Leif Mountain

Lost Valley Prairie SNA

Malmberg Prairie SNA

Margherita Preserve-Audubon Prairie

Miller Prairie, West Unit

Minneopa State Park

Mound Spring Prairie SNA, South Unit

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Rengstorf Unit

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Spieker Unit

Oronoco Prairie SNA

Osmundson Prairie SNA

Otter Tail Prairie SNA

Oxbow Park & Zollman Zoo

Pembina Trail Preserve SNA, Crookston Prairie Unit

Plover Prairie, East Unit

Prairie Coteau SNA

Prairie Creek WMA, Koester Prairie Unit

Quarry Park SNA

Red Rock Prairie

Regal Meadow

Rice Lake Savanna SNA

River Terrace Prairie SNA

Rock Ridge Prairie SNA

Roscoe Prairie SNA

St. Croix Savanna SNA

Sand Prairie Wildlife Management and Environmental Education Area

Sandpiper Prairie SNA

Santee Prairie SNA

Savage Fen SNA

Schaefer Prairie

Sedan Brook SNA

Seven Sisters Prairie

Sheepberry Fen

Spring Creek Prairie SNA

Spring Lake Park Reserve

Spring Prairie Preserve

Springbrook Nature Center

Staffanson Prairie

Swedes Forest SNA

Thorson Prairie WMA

Tiedemann WMA

Town Hall Prairie

Tribute WMA

Twin Valley Prairie SNA

Uncas Dunes SNA

Vermillion River WMA

Whitetail Woods Regional Park

Wild Indigo SNA

Wild River State Park

Woodbury WMA

Yellow Bank Hills SNA





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