Andropogon gerardii (Big Bluestem)
Big bluestem Description:
Andropogon gerardii, commonly known as big bluestem, is a warm-season, perennial grass native to the tallgrass prairies of North America. It is a clump-forming grass that typically grows between 4 and 7 feet tall, although in some cases it can grow as tall as 10 feet.
The grass has characteristic blue-green leaves with a distinctive reddish-purple base, and its stem is also reddish-purple in color. It produces flowers in late summer, which are purplish in color and form into distinctive three-parted seed heads.
Big bluestem is a highly adaptable grass that can grow in a range of soil types and moisture levels, although it prefers well-drained soils with moderate moisture. It is an important component of grassland ecosystems, providing habitat and food for a variety of wildlife species, as well as being an excellent forage grass for livestock.
In addition to its ecological importance, Andropogon gerardii is also used in landscaping and restoration projects, as it is a drought-tolerant, low-maintenance grass with ornamental value. It has also been studied for its potential as a biofuel crop due to its high biomass production and nutrient content.
Big bluestem is native to most of the continental United States with the exception of the far Western States including California, Oregon, and Washington.
Standard Plant Information:
Plant height: 4' - 7'
Fruiting time: July - August
Preferred habitat: Does well in part shade to full sun in average to dry soil. Often found plains, prairies, and open woods.