Little Bluestem Facts
Little Bluestem drawing by Iralee Barnard
- Its common name is Little Bluestem.
- Its scientific name is Schizachyrium scoparium.
- It is a member of the grass family (Poaceae).
- Has been reported from every county in Kansas,
- Is found in a variety of locations (prairies, dry hills, open woods) and in a variety of soil types (deep, shallow, fine textured, rocky soils),
- Is a mid-grass that reaches 2 to 5 feet at maturity,
- Is a warm-season grass that emerges in early April and flowers July-September, followed by seed development,
- Is a bunch grass that propagates by seeds, tillers, and short underground rootstocks, and
- Has thin leaf blades, 2 to 12 inches long.
- New basal shoots are greenish-blue to purplish, and flat.
- Flowers tiny, bright (may be confused with seeds) on spike-like flower stalks.
- Seeds have a fuzzy white pappus that stands out on the curved spikes.
- Stems turn copper-colored after frost.
- Roots extend 5 to 8 feet below ground.
- Green plants provide nutritious forage for grazing animals.
- Hay is used as winter feed for cattle.
- An acre of Little Bluestem can produce 3/4 to 2 tons of forage per acre.
- It is used in landscape plantings because of its beauty and ability to withstand drought conditions.