Andropogon gerardii Vitman - Big Bluestem


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Andropogon gerardii - (image 1 of 5)



Family: Poaceae


Found in moist and dry prairies.


Most consistent associate is Sorghastrum nutans


Quebec west to Saskatchewan, south to FL and AZ.


Perennial grass to 12' high. Racemes 5-10cm long, digitate, 2 to 10 per peduncle, most commonly 4. Awns of fertile spikelets 8-20mm long, twisted below the middle. Hair of joints and rachises white to merely sordid.


Flowers early July to late September

Wetland indicator: Facultative -

One of the dominant grasses of tall grass prairies. Also called "turkeyfoot" in reference to the shape of the seed heads. Turns an attractive purple-brown late in the summer. Very pretty when the wind blows in waves through a large stand of big bluestem.


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.
The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY


Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.




Michael Hough 2004