Little Bluestem, Schizachyrium scoparium, is one of the three dominant species that make up our tall and short grass prairies. In the spring, little bluestem can have crude protein levels higher than 20 percent. Prairie Munchkin (Schizachyrium scoparium 'Prairie Munchkin'): 2 1/2 feet tall with a narrow, columnar habit; silvery blue foliage turns maroon and orange in fall. Read our Commitment to Diversity | Read our Privacy Statement. Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) Little bluestem is the dominant grass in the mixed grass or midgrass prairie. The leaves and stems frequently have a bluish cast in summer, while the fall color is a very warm copper that does not fade throughout winter. But almost everywhere that could be plowed has been plowed. It is attractive planted en masse and would make an excellent addition to a rain garden. The King Ranch Bluestem is a bunchgrass that grows in tufts with erect or spreading culms 18-48 inches tall. Habitat. Our future. Valuable plant for meadow and prairie gardens. "This species is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research." There are many cultivars available, which means it can be difficult to find the straight species in trade. Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menus and submenus. The small fruit (caryopsis or grains) form along the spikes that held the flowers.  The fruit have a fluffy appearance due to white hairs. Little bluestem is considered one of the big four desirable grasses (little bluestem, Indiangrass, big bluestem and switchgrass) in the Great Plains for its livestock and wildlife value. This warm-season grass’ native prairie habitat has almost disappeared, but don’t worry. Illinois bundleflower. One of the most attractive native grasses, and the state grass of Utah, is Indian rice grass. Little Bluestem is used in low maintenance mixtures with other lower growing natives for recreational areas, golf courses, roadsides, and wildlife habitat. It is a bunch type, native, warm-season, perennial mid grass, with a dense root system, and may reach heights of from 2 to 4 feet tall. (They dry well, by the way.) KR bluestem is common throughout Texas (Fig. Switchgrass. A few ornamental grasses that you might consider planting in your landscape are Indian rice grass, blue grama grass, little bluestem, Indiangrass, and Miscanthus. 3), is air salinity tolerant and does best on loamy to clay soils. Categories: December , February , Filter by Seeding Time , January , July , June , May , Native Grass Leaves are flat, often folded along the midrib, 6–10 inches long, less than ¼-inch wide, and bluish-green through early Propagate by seed or division. Leaves are thicker near the collar and the upper surface is covered with long, silky hairs. Purple-bronze racemes form above the clump of leaves and appear in August. Many warm-season grasses are deep rooted, long-lived perennials with considerable tolerance to relatively low pH, low fertility, and drought. Indiangrass. Leaves: blades 2–5 mm wide; ligule 1–3 mm long. Engelmann daisy. Stems 30–100 cm, often red or rust colored when mature; sheaths flattened and keeled. Seeds are eaten by songbirds and small mammals. It is the only native grass species that can be found in every Kansas county, as it is adapted to tallgrass, mixed, and shortgrass prairie ecosystems alike. It is found in many types of soil but is particularly adapted to well-drained, nearly infertile soil which makes it an excellent erosion barrier. However, it does tolerate a wide range of soil conditions including infertility and clay. Prairie Blues (Schizachyrium scoparium 'Prairie Blues'): 3 feet tall with an upright habit; blue gray foliage turns red-orange in fall. Kleberg bluestem is typically found in Central Texas and in South Texas along the Gulf Coast (Fig. Use up and down arrow keys to explore within a submenu. Blue Heaven™ (Schizachyrium scoparium 'MinnBlueA'):  4 feet tall with an upright habit; steel blue leaves change to tones of burgundy, pink and orange in fall. Use up and down arrow keys to explore within a submenu. Little bluestem grows 2 to 4 feet tall. Ornamental grasses have become very popular over the last several years. Cultivars are plants produced in cultivation by selective breeding or via vegetative propagation from wild plants identified to have desirable traits.". This warm season bunch grass is native to 45 of the 50 states making it the most abundant of all native grasses. This photo was taken in December. A native ornamental grass (Poaceae) with attractive blue-green foliage. The Morton Arboretum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that relies on the generosity of members and donors. Good grazing for livestock. The foliage of this natural beauty adds a kaleidoscope of pastel colors in summer and coppery tones in fall. Adult Common Wood-Nymph butterflies feed on rotting fruit and flower nectar. Native to eastern North America. Blaze (Schizachyrium scoparium 'Blaze'):   2 to 3 feet tall with an upright form; blue-green foliage turns to red, mixed with pruple and orange; remains pinkish in winter. N.C. No serious pests.  May self seed, sometimes excessively. Plant Characteristics. Little bluestem grows in a wide range of soil types as long as they are not wet.  Tolerate of both alkaline and acid soils.  Good drought tolerance. Some native forb species: Maximillian sunflower. It can be found from Canada to Mexico and from the east coast to the west coast. It has drought resistance once established. Clumping plants produce half-inch wide leaves on upright stems in a unique light blue coloring. From top level menus, use escape to exit the menu. Schizachyrium is tough and adaptable, tolerant of a range of moisture conditions from average to nearly arid. It is well-adapted to southern climates as it tolerates high heat and humidity. The grass is an important native hay and forage grass. Deer resistant; Cut to the ground in late winter to early spring. Stop by, email, or call. Little bluestem is a prairie grass native to Illinois. Bush sunflower . Flowers in late summer with very erect fine textured needle-like pikes. Cooperative Extension prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex (including pregnancy), disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and veteran status. There are many cultivars available, which means it can be difficult to find the straight species in trade. Andropogon scoparius). It is found in areas receiving 10 to 60 inches of mean annual precipitation and plant hardiness zones 3 to 9. Can grow in almost any soil as long as it drains well. Little bluestem is a tough, easy-care ornamental grass that’s most beautiful in the fall when its tufts of slim, ¼-inch-wide blue-green leaves turn from rust to wine red and its thin 2- to 3-inch clusters of fuzzy flower spikelets glisten silvery-white in the sun. NC State University and N.C. A&T State University work in tandem, along with federal, state and local governments, to Little Bluestem is a highly ornamental native grass prized for its blue-green leaf color and upright form. It is found naturally in a wide range of moist to dry habitats. Blooms from June-October. Little bluestem is an upright grass that grows from 2 to 4 feet tall.  It is a clumping grass. Little Bluestem once dominated our tall and short grass prairies from Canada to Mexico. Each stem produces a loose, terminal seed head that is usually purplish. The stems are naked at the top. Get expert help from The Morton Arboretum Plant Clinic. Some native grass species: Little bluestem. use escape to move to top level menu parent. • Kleberg bluestem has hairy stem joints (nodes) and more leaf material than does KR bluestem. You can search, browse, and learn more about the plants in our living collections by visiting our BRAHMS website. In central and western Nebraska it grows in bunches and is sometimes called "bunch grass." Adaptation. It is a prolific self-seeder and can become invasive with little bluestem in lawns a major competitor to traditional turf grass. Native: Introduced: Both: Absent/Unreported: Native, No County Data: ... little bluestem Schizachyrium scoparium var. 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