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Sorghastrum nutans (L.) Nash
Indiangrass, Yellow indian grass
Synonyms: S. avenaceum
USDA Symbol: SONU2
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Yellow indian grass is a tall, bunching sod-former, 3-8 ft. in height, with broad blue-green blades and a large, plume-like, soft, golden-brown seed head. This showy perennialís fall color is deep orange to purple.
This is a beautiful grass with a somewhat metallic golden sheen to its flowering parts. It is an important associate in the tallgrass prairies and is relished by livestock. It appears to be favored by occasional flooding and repeated burning and sometimes forms nearly pure stands in the lowlands. Warm-season grass with rich gold-and-purple sprays of flowers and seeds in the fall. (Ontario Native Plants 2002)
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Aug , Sep , Oct
Bloom Notes: The awns are red/rust color.
AL , AR , AZ , CO , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , UT , VA , VT , WI , WV , WY Canada: MB
, SK Native Distribution:
Que. & ME to Man., s. to FL & AZ; also Mex. Native Habitat:
Prairies; open woods; fields; dry slopes. Frequent in north central Texas, Edwards Plateau, and Plains Country. Sand, loam, clay, limestone; seasonal poor drainage okay. USDA Native Status: L48(N), CAN(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Drought Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Moist, rich soils. Calcareous, Sandy Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Limestone-based
Conditions Comments: Along with little bluestem, big bluestem and switchgrass, Indian grass is an important species in the tallgrass prairie. The bright yellow flowers contrast attractively with the blue-gray foliage. The grass stays low most of the year and then gets tall before blooming in early autumn. Like little bluestem, Indian grass is best planted en masse or in a wildflower meadow.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Grows in clumps, Accent
Use Wildlife: Seeds-Small mammals, Seeds-granivorous birds, Nesting material
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Larval Host: Pepper-and-Salt Skipper butterfly.
Deer Resistant: High
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds
Description: Propagate by sowing unstratified seed in fall or stratified seed in spring. Sow 1/4 deep. Division of older plants is difficult because of a dense, tangled root system.
Seed Collection: Collect seed in fall.
Seed Treatment: Seeds require dry stratification.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Indian grass tolerates imperfectly drained soil. It is a good accent plant, however it needs tall companions to remain upright.
Mr. Smarty Plants says
When to plant grasses on Long Island, NY
December 06, 2009
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants;
Are there any grass seeds that I can plant NOW, early December, on Long Island, NY? The planting environment is on and near a sandy bluff on a bayshore, where it can be windy ...
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Plants to control hillside erosion in Vermont
May 23, 2008
Hi, I am trying to do an eagle project that involves putting vegetation onto a hill to prevent erosion. I live in Vermont. What kinds of plants would hold together a hillside and could be planted in ...
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Using Native Plants Database to determine flowering time in Austin
April 07, 2006
How can I access your data base to learn what plants are flowering in Austin during the months of October and early November?
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From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
- Austin, TXNative Plant Center at Westchester Community College, The
- Valhalla, NYDelaware Nature Society
- Hockessin, DEPatsy Glenn Refuge
- Wimberley, TXNueces River Authority
- Uvalde, TXTexas Parks and Wildlife Department
- Austin, TXNPSOT - Fredericksburg Chapter
- Fredericksburg, TXNorth American Native Plant Society
- Etobicoke, ONTexas Master Naturalists - Lost Pines Chapter
- Bastrop, TXNPSOT - Austin Chapter
- Austin, TXNative Seed Network
- Corvallis, ORNPSOT - Williamson County Chapter
- Georgetown, TX, TX
Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 0668
Collected May 21, 1991 in Bexar County by Harry CliffeNPSOT 0981
Collected Nov 4, 1994 in Bexar County by Mike Fox
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-630B
Collected 2007-11-20 in Blanco County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower CenterLBJWC-176
Collected 2007-10-28 in Bell County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
* Available Online from Wildflower Center Store
Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America
(2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides)
(1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Bibref 996 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South
(1994) Wasowski, Sally and Andy Wasowski
Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes
(2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants
(2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region
(2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife
(1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender* The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
From the ArchiveWildflower Newsletter 1985 VOL. 2, NO.4
- Message From Helen Hayes, Head for the Hill Country, Spring Tours at the Center,...Wildflower Newsletter 1986 VOL. 3, NO.3
- Fall Planting Tips, Growth Provides Enthusiasm, 1985 Financial Facts, Gathering ...Wildflower Newsletter 1988 VOL. 5, NO.2
- Researching Wildflower Seed Quality, Wildflower Center Receives $500 -000 Gift, ...Wildflower Newsletter 1996 VOL. 13, NO.6
- Winter Wonderland, Origins of the Christmas Tree, Development Director\\\'s Repo...
Recommended Species Lists
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Record Modified: 2012-12-07
Research By: TWC Staff, LAS