En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - August 06, 2008

From: Marble Falls, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: What is Andropogon saccharoides?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am reading Roy Bedichek "Adventure with a Texas Naturalist" I came across a reference to sage grass (Andropogan saccharoides)p. 23. I searched the data base and didn't any infromation about it. Does it have a different name now or can you tell me anything about it. His reference makes me think of little & big blue stem. Have a great day and please reply to my work email. Thanks and hang in there with the heat.

ANSWER:

I believe what Mr. Bedichek was referring to is Bothriochloa laguroides ssp. torreyana (silver beardgrass).

There have been several taxonomic revisions since he published his excellent book, however.

Hitchcock in Manual of Grasses in the United States (1971), v.2, p. 768, lists the common name of Andropogon saccharoides as Silver Beardgrass, and says that it occurs in:

"Prairies and rocky slopes, especially in limestone areas, Missouri to Colorado, and Alabama to Arizona; Mexico and West Indies to Brazil. Our plants, which have been differentiated as A. torreyanus Steud., are more freely branching then the typical form of the West Indies."

[Note: Hitchcock's Manual of Grasses in the United States was originally published in 1935. The reference above is to the Dover edition which was first published in 1971 and is "an unabridged republication of the second revised edition, as published by the United States Government Printing Office in 1950 as U. S. Department of Agriculture Miscellaneous Publication No. 200."]

Gould in The Grasses of Texas, pp. 592-593, lists Andropogon saccharoides under its currently accepted synonym, Bothriochloa saccharoides, but then lists two varieties—B. saccharoides var. torreyana (Silver Bluestem) with distribution throughout Texas and B. saccharoides var. longipaniculata (Longspike Silver Bluestem) with distribution in eastern Texas, especially along the coast.

Bothriochloa saccharoides (Silver Bluestem), without any suffixes, appears to be the one native to the West Indies (and Puerto Rico) referred to by Hitchcock.

The currently accepted synonym for B. saccharoides var. torreyana (Silver Bluestem) is Bothriochloa laguroides ssp. torreyana.

You've got to love those botanical taxonomists! 


Bothriochloa laguroides ssp. torreyana

Bothriochloa laguroides ssp. torreyana

Bothriochloa laguroides ssp. torreyana

Bothriochloa laguroides ssp. torreyana

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Why are there no low-mow lawn grasses composed of only native fescues?
September 09, 2014 - Dear SP, Most blends of ecograss I see are a combination of non-native and native fescues (and sometimes buffalo grass, blue grama, etc.). Why are there (apparently) none that are composed entirely of...
view the full question and answer

Re-landscaping neglected garden in Franklin CT
April 03, 2011 - I am starting from scratch in a yard that has no planting beds or, for that matter, plants at all. House was vacant for quite some time, grass was three feet tall when we moved in. I would like to p...
view the full question and answer

Mowable sedge for Zone 5, New York
December 07, 2007 - My wife (who is from Austin!) and I have a house in New York, warmish Zone 5. We are seeking a grass-like groundcover for lawn areas ranging from full to partial shade. We have a well-drained hill n...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover under live oaks
June 18, 2012 - I have some areas under Live Oak trees (maybe 200 sq. ft.)that remain bare, in spite of trying Habiturf. Soil is dry, poor and shallow. Can you suggest a living ground cover that would not require m...
view the full question and answer

Controlling sedge in vegetable garden in Mississippi
August 03, 2008 - I have a veg. garden surrounded by Purple Sedge. The nut grass has been contained/eliminated by replacing all dirt 1' down. Now the surrounding sedge is beginning to creep inward infesting the gard...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center