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Little Bluestem

( Schizachyrium scoparium )

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Little Bluestem
Broom Beard Grass
Bunchgrass
Poaceae
Schizachyrium
Schizachyrium scoparium
(Michaux) Nash
Andropogon scoparius
Characteristics

Grass/Sedge

Deciduous

Sun

Sand, Loam

Dry, Normal

Yes

No

No

No
Habitat Considerations

Boreal Shield, Atlantic Maritime, Mixedwood Plains, Boreal Plains, Prairies

Savannah, Forest Edge, Prairie/Meadow/Field

Rooftop Garden (drought tolerant/shallow rooted), Butterfly, Bird, Prairie/Meadow
Design Considerations

45 cm

120 cm

Aug - Oct

White/Cream|Green/Brown

No

Yes

Purple

Yes

ottoe skipper| Indian skipper| Leonard's skippercrossline skipper| dusted skipper

No

No

Yes

No

No

No

Birds, Butterfly Larvae

No
Conservation Status



Interesting Tidbits

This grass is ornamental all year. It grows from bluish/green roots into big bunches until it is mahogany red in the fall with purple/bronze seeds with white tufts. (Wild Flower Centre) Feathery warm season grass with arching red tinged leaves. Important prairie species but not tolerant of competition. (Ontario Native Plants 2002) Eaten by songbirds and gamebirds. Habitat for ground and game birds. It provides cover for small mammals. Adaptable to all soils even infertile thinner soils, therefore good for revegetation of land. (USDA PLANTS) Although not native, this plant has spread to NS. (NatureServe) Habitat Information: One of the indicator species of the mixgrass and short grass prairie in Canada, and is common in dry prairies and meadows and open woods from Quebec to Alberta and south to Florida and Arizona. (Tall Grass Ontario) This grass grows in dry to medium well drained and infertile soils in a variety of habitats, and it one of the widest distributed grass in North America. (USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service) Prairie grasses and perennials can grow roots of up to 15 ft long, an adaptation of plants in search of water in drought ridden prairie and savannah conditions. Little Bluestem has roots of up to 6 feet. (Minnesota Department of Natural Resources) It is a Tall Grass Prairie indicator species, the most endangered habitat in North America. As a warm season grass it starts to grow in summer, and continues to grow well throughout the hottest months. Little bluestem is an important larval host for many butterflies, including crossline, dusted, Indian and Leonards skipper. (Tall Grass Ontario) Garden Uses: Little bluestem is a grass of choice for the sunny garden. A clump that that grows up to 2.5 feet tall, it looks great in the summer with its bluish foliage which turns bronze with fluffy seed heads in the fall, providing winter interest. It is drought tolerant, and does well in poor soil. (Johnson, L., The new Ontario Naturalized Garden, 1999)


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