En Español

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

Native grasses for Boy Scout project in the Georgetown-Washington DC area
May 29, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am in the process of preparing an extensive native grass planting at Thompson's Boat House in Georgetown, Washington DC for a Boy Scouts of America Eagle Project. It is m...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for horse and cattle forage in Hockley, Texas
April 03, 2011 - I would like to know the best type of native hay to seed on 10 acres in Hockley, Tx. The hay will be used for forage for horses and a milk cow. We would like to go completely organic and not use any ...
view the full question and answer

Water eroding corner in Austin
October 25, 2011 - I live close to the Wildflower Center. My yard slopes - as do my neighbors' yards to one corner in my yard. The result is constant moisture in one corner. The rest of the yard is caliche, rocks (m...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for field in Fairfield, TX
August 21, 2008 - We are clearing youpon, briars and small trees from 13 acres of woods near Fairfield, Texas. We want to plant native grass(s) that can tolerate shade and part shade, but also tolerate mowing(shredder...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower meadow for birds
September 19, 2008 - I put in a wildflower feed plot for the song birds 3 years ago. We prepared the bed by first using Round Up to kill all the grass then lightly tilled to scratch the surface and planted the wildflower ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center