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Harper, Bonnie L.
Sporobolus heterolepis (A. Gray) A. Gray
Poaceae (Grass Family)
USDA Symbol: sphe
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
Prairie dropseed is a fine-textured, distinctive bunchgrass with leaves that curve gracefully outward forming large, round tufts. Delicate seedheads appear above the tuft in midsummer, rising 2 ft. high. Fall color is tan-bronze. Prairie dropseed is a perennial.
Snow does not flatten the plant, so it is visible even in winter.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Pink , Yellow , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug
, WY Canada: ON
, QC Native Distribution:
Que. to Sask., locally s. to NC, KY,
& CO; also reported from MT Native Habitat:
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Dry, sandy soils.
Conditions Comments: Slow growing and slow to establish.
A clump forming warm season grass.
Foliage turns golden with orange hues in fall, fading to light bronze in winter.
Flowers have pink and brown tints, but are perhaps most noted for their unique fragrance.
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
PropagationDescription: Propagate by sowing unstratified seed in fall or stratified seed in spring. Sow 1/4 deep. Seeds prefer cool weather to germinate. Dropseed takes about three seasons to develop specimen size. Division of older plants is difficult because of a dense, t
Seed Collection: Collect in Oct.
Seed Treatment: Dry stratification
Commercially Avail: yes
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Native plants to stabilize a steep bank in Pennsylvania
April 23, 2008
I would like to use native plantings to stabilize a steep bank of a septic leach field in eastern Pennsylvania. My purpose is to control erosion and to eliminate the need for mowing. What would you r...
view the full question and answer
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
Record Last Modified: 2012-12-09
Research By: TWC Staff