Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Southern Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Sorghastrum nutans (L.) Nash
- Family: Grass (Poaceae)
- Flowering: July-November
- Field Marks: This tall grass is readily distinguished by its spikelets, some of which are fertile and awned, others sterile and reduced to hairy stalks, and the prominent auricular lobes (ears) at the top of the leaf sheath.
- Habitat: Moist to dry soils in pinelands and prairies.
- Habit: Coarse perennial grass with scaly rhizomes.
- Stems: Upright, smooth except for the hairy nodes, unbranched, up to 8 feet tall.
- Leaves: Elongated, narrow, up to 1/2 inch wide, rough to the touch, green to bluish green; sheaths smooth or hairy, with prominent auricles (ears).
- Flowers: Borne in spikelets, the spikelets numerous and forming a panicle up to 12 inches long; some spikelets sterile and reduced to hairy stalks; other spikelets fertile, hairy, terminated by an awn up to 3/4 inch long.
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 3.
- Pistils: Ovary superior.
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