Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Andropogon glomeratus

Bushy bluestem, Brushy bluestem

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Andropogon glomeratus (Bushy bluestem)
Marcus, Joseph A.
Flowers in sessile spikelets are aggregated toward the upper part of the 2-5 ft. stems and are striking in fall and winter when the fine hairs of the bold, feathery racemes catch the sunlight. The sheaths surrounding the racemes take on a salmon-orange color in fall.

Found in moist or semi-moist soils in full sun, Bushy Bluestems fluffy flower heads resemble chunks of silvery cotton candy, catching the light and glowing above blue-green summer foliage and coppery winter foliage. It can be a luxurious addition to your fall flower display and is ideal for wetland gardens. In the wild, it grows in sunny, low-lying grasslands and roadside ditches.

Image Gallery:

41 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Linear
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Inflorescence: Spikelet
Fruit Type: Caryopsis
Size Notes: 2 to 5 tall.
Leaf: Green or blue-green. Copper in winter.
Autumn Foliage: yes
Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Brown
Bloom Time: Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov


USA: AL , AZ , AR , CA , DE , FL , GA , IL , KY , LA , MD , MS , NV , NJ , NM , NY , NC , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , UT , VA , WV , DC
Native Distribution: Florida to eastern half of Texas; north to New England; also Kentucky, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, California, south through Mexico to Central America and the West Indies.
Native Habitat: Frequent in low, moist areas in full sun, particularly grassland swales and roadside ditches.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Wet , Moist
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Clay, Loam, Sand; Moist, moderately disturbed, relatively sterile soils. Poor drainage all right, even preferred. Tolerates salinity.
Conditions Comments: Full sun and moisture essential


Use Ornamental: Good as a handsome bunchgrass for moist, low-lying areas, with year-round color
Use Wildlife: Seeds eaten by granivorous birds and small mammals. Provides nesting material for birds. Provides good cover for small animals. Winter food for prairie chickens, field sparrows, juncos, and other song birds. Occasionally browsed by deer, bison, and Pronghorn Antelope.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Larval Host: Skippers, Satyrs
Deer Resistant: High

Last Update: 2014-06-25