Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Plants That Thrive Under Trees in Texas
April 06, 2011 - I have a flower bed with dense shade (under a mature maple tree and a large mature bottle brush) located on the Galveston/Harris county line just off of Clear Lake. The bed has sprinklers and drains w...
view the full question and answer

Grasses for a prairie in southeast Texas
September 30, 2013 - We have a small place (about 100 acres) in Colorado County, Texas, on the Colorado River north of the town of Weimar. We are gradually clearing (bulldozing) the woods of cedars. One particular spot ...
view the full question and answer

Native Grass Lawn For Georgia
January 20, 2015 - Grass in Atlanta when I was little (I am 50 years old and have lived in Atlanta most of my life) was of a fescue variety. Bermuda grasses were considered "rich person's grass" when I was young. M...
view the full question and answer

Replacement for non-native maiden grasses from Fredericksburg TX
May 25, 2013 - I am trying to replace some maiden grasses that died during the drought. I want an evergreen grass or something soft looking to replace them. I want something that is native and 5 to 6 feet tall to ...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing ground cover for creekside
May 18, 2014 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants. I live in Austin Texas and am looking for an aggressively spreading ground cover or grass to plant along a small creek on the back of my property in order to help with soil er...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.