Andropogon ternarius Michx.
Splitbeard Bluestem, Split Bluestem
Poaceae (Grass Family)
USDA Symbol: ANTE2
This is a 1 1/2 ft. bunchgrass which can reach 4 ft. in height. Ribbon-like leaves are often purplish and the silvery-white seed tufts are borne in yellow bracts along the stem. Mature plants are 6-12 in. in diameter. Split-beard bluestem is a perennial.
Frequently found growing with Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) in southeastern areas with well-drained sandy or gravelly soil, Splitbeard Bluestem is notable primarily for its silvery white seed tufts, which catch the light and look particularly attractive with the sun behind them.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Fruit Type: Achene , Caryopsis
Size Notes: 1.5 to 4 feet high
Fruit: silvery white
Size Class: 3-6 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Brown
Bloom Time: Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , DC , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MD , MO , MS , NC , NJ , OK , SC , TN , TX , VA
Native Distribution: Delaware and New Jersey south to the Gulf states
Native Habitat: Plains, prairies, meadows, savannas, open woodlands, verges, often in sandy soil
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Well-drained sand or sandy loam
BenefitUse Ornamental: An attractive bunchgrass that can be used as a garden accent or in a wildflower meadow or prairie.
Use Wildlife: Seeds-granivorous birds, Seeds-Small mammals, Nesting material, Graze
Deer Resistant: No
Value to Beneficial InsectsProvides Nesting Materials/Structure for Native Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
PropagationPropagation Material: Root Division , Seeds
Description: Seed and root division during winter dormancy
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Stems may be cut back in winter, after the grass has gone to seed.
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-1000 Collected 2006-11-28 in Harrison County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
BibliographyBibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
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
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Research LiteratureReslit 46 - Changes in understory vegetation and soil characteristics following silvicultural activities in a southeastern mixed pine forest (2007) J. K. Archer, D. L. Miller and G. W. Tanner
Reslit 1430 - Vegetation of frequently burned old-growth longleaf pine (Pinus palustris mill.) savannas on choccolocco mountain, Alabama, USA (2003) J. M. Varner, J. S. Kush and R. S. Meldahl
Reslit 1485 - Effects of individual bunchgrasses on potential C and N mineralization of longleaf pine savanna soils (2004) J. B. West and L. A. Donovan
This information was provided by the Florida WIldflower Foundation.
Search More Titles in Research Literature
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Andropogon ternarius in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Andropogon ternarius in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Andropogon ternarius
MetadataRecord Modified: 2021-12-02
Research By: TWC Staff