En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - What is <i>Andropogon saccharoides</i>?

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

What is a lawn broom from Cibolo TX
February 15, 2013 - Concerning gulf muhly grass you mention using a lawn broom to get rid of the dead stalks. What is a lawn broom? What does it look like? Where can I purchase one?
view the full question and answer

Erosion control from Lakeland FL
November 03, 2012 - What native Ground cover is best for erosion control on slope of lake-front? Prefer not too invasive for this northern facing area behind a seawall and near large Oak tree.
view the full question and answer

Plants for steep clay bank in Summerfield OH
April 07, 2012 - Hello, We have a steep 15-20 foot high bank behind our house here in southern Ohio. Probably 50 ft.long. What could we plant for beauty and erosion control. It is nasty clay soil with lots of shale an...
view the full question and answer

Removing St. Augustine for natives in Grapevine TX
September 29, 2012 - We have St Augustine in our yard and we hate it. It guzzles water, we have to cut it often, and it's thick and hard to work with. Anyway, we want to replace it with a combination of some kind of g...
view the full question and answer

Native sedges for Texas
March 07, 2007 - What can you tell me about Texas Blue Sedge? What its true name and culture requirements?
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center