Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Southern Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash
- Family: Grass (Poaceae)
- Flowering: August-October
- Field Marks: The spikelets of little bluestem are borne in pairs; one spikelet of each pair is fertile
and sessile, the other is sterile and stalked.
- Habitat: Mainly on well-drained sites, but sometimes colonizing moist to wet sites that are
disturbed; old fields; prairies; swales; open woods.
- Habit: Perennial bunch grass with a much branched fibrous root system.
- Stems: Upright, branched or unbranched, usually smooth, up to 4 1/2 feet tall.
- Leaves: Long, narrow, smooth or hairy, up to 1/3 inch wide; sheaths smooth or hairy.
- Flowers: Borne in spikelets; spikelets formed into racemes.
- Spikelets: Spikelets in pairs: one of them fertile and sessile, the other sterile and stalked; fertile
spikelet up to 1/4 inch long; awn spiral, bent, up to 2/3 inch long.
- Stamens: 3.
- Pistils: Ovary superior.
- Notes: Little bluestem is a valuable forage grass. Its pollen may cause hay fever.
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