State Grass > Facts

Little Bluestem Facts

little bluestem drawing

Little Bluestem drawing by Iralee Barnard

Names

  • Its common name is Little Bluestem.
  • Its scientific name is Schizachyrium scoparium.
  • It is a member of the grass family (Poaceae).

Little Bluestem...

  • 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.

Other facts:

  • 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.
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