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Andropogon glomeratus (Bushy bluestem)
Marcus, Joseph A.

Andropogon glomeratus

Andropogon glomeratus (Walter) Britton, Sterns & Poggenb.

Bushy Bluestem, Brushy Bluestem

Poaceae (Grass Family)


USDA Symbol: ANGL2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), HI (I), PR (N), VI (I)

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 Bluestem's 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.


From the Image Gallery

51 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

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

Bloom Information

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


USA: AL , AR , AZ , CA , DC , DE , FL , GA , IL , KY , LA , MD , MS , NC , NJ , NM , NV , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , UT , VA , WV
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: Moist , Wet
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

Value to Beneficial Insects

Provides Nesting Materials/Structure for Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Propagation Material: Root Division , Seeds
Description: Propagate by seed or division. As with other bunchgrasses, divisions should be made during winter dormancy. Can become root-bound fast, so don't wait too long to put it in the ground if you've started it in pots.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Perhaps best for large-scale gardens and landscapes, as it seeds out heavily and may fall over once it reaches maximum height.

Find Seed or Plants

Order seed of this species from Native American Seed and help support the Wildflower Center.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Native plants to stop pond bank erosion
June 04, 2008
I recently purchased a home with a small pond in which a nearby stream daylights. The former owner placed large field stone around the pond and the small stream; however, the area around the pond and...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for seasonal poor drainage
May 16, 2006
I have an area in my front yard that has a drainage ditch running through it. When it rains, that area stays very wet. What kind of plants available for sale will work in this situation?
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.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Pineywoods Native Plant Center - Nacogdoches, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Nueces River Authority - Uvalde, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
Texas Master Naturalists - Lost Pines Chapter - Bastrop, TX
Natural Biodiversity - Johnstown, PA
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
Jacob's Well Natural Area - Wimberley, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0559 Collected Oct 3, 1993 in Comal County by Mary Beth White
NPSOT 0549B Collected Oct 7, 1987 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
NPSOT 0549A Collected Oct 7, 1987 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe

3 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-626 Collected 2003-10-31 in Mason County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
LBJWC-183 Collected 2007-10-29 in Travis County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

2 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank


Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Andropogon glomeratus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Andropogon glomeratus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Andropogon glomeratus


Record Modified: 2014-06-25
Research By: TWC Staff, MWJ

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