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Andropogon virginicus (Broomsedge)
Fannon, Carolyn

Andropogon virginicus

Andropogon virginicus L.

Broomsedge, Broomsedge Bluestem, Yellowsedge Bluestem, Whiskey Grass, Popotillo Pajon

Poaceae (Grass Family)


USDA Symbol: ANVI2

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

The seeds of Broom-sedge are evenly distributed along the 2-6 ft. stems and are striking in fall and winter when the fine hairs of the expanded racemes catch the sunlight. The clump-forming, perennial grass turns a tawny brown in fall.

Unlike its relatives, Big and Little Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii and Schizachyrium scoparium), Broom-sedge can be an invader on disturbed lands, where it helps to control erosion. It is the primary native meadow grass in the northeast, where it should form the linchpin of any prairie restoration.


From the Image Gallery

7 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 Venation: Parallel
Fruit Type: Caryopsis
Size Notes: Up to about 6 feet tall, sometimes taller.
Leaf: Green
Autumn Foliage: yes

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow , Purple , Brown
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov


USA: AL , AR , CA , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , HI , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , MI , MO , MS , NC , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , WV
Canada: ON
Native Distribution: FL to TX, n. to MA, OH, ON, s. IL, s.e. IA, & KS, south through the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America to western South America
Native Habitat: Dry fields; thin woods; upper shores of ponds

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Dry, sandy soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam
Conditions Comments: Unlike its relatives, big and little bluestem, broom sedge can be an invader on disturbed lands.


Use Ornamental: Attractive. Grows in clumps
Use Wildlife: Cover, nesting material, seed food for birds. Graze for deer.
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Deer Resistant: No

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.

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Zabulon Skipper
(Poanes zabulon)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA


Propagation Material: Root Division
Description: Propagate by seed or division.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

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

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

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 ...
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:

Pineywoods Native Plant Center - Nacogdoches, TX
Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Stengl Biological Research Station - Smithville, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
Natural Biodiversity - Johnstown, PA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 997 - Requiem for a Lawnmower: Gardening in a Warmer, Drier World, 2nd Edition (2004) Wasowski, Sally and Andy Wasowski
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Research Literature

Reslit 535 - Selective broomsedge (Andropogon virginicus L.) control in permanent pastures (1988) J. L. Griffin, V. H. Watson and W. F. Strachan
Reslit 249 - Ecotypic differentiation in Andropogon virginicus (Gramineae) (1975) R. H. Chapman and S. B. Jones
Reslit 198 - Systematics of the Andropogon virginicus complex (Gramineae) (1983) C. S. Campbell
Reslit 199 - Phylogenetic Reconstructions and Two New Varieties in the Andropogon virginicus Complex (Poaceae: Andropogoneae) (1986) C. S. Campbell
Reslit 172 - Long-term effects of dormant-season prescribed fire on plant community diversity, structure and productivity in a longleaf pine wiregrass ecosystem (1997) D. G. Brockway and C. E. Lewis
Reslit 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 507 - Evidence for the Absence of Ecotypic Development in Andropogon virginicus (L.) on Metalliferous Mine Wastes (1982) D. J. Gibson and P. G. Risser
Reslit 422 - Wild plants, Andropogon virginicus L. and Miscanthus sinensis Anders, are tolerant to multiple stresses including aluminum, heavy metals and oxidative stresses (2008) B. Ezaki, E. Nagao, Y. Yamamoto, S. Nakashima and ...
Reslit 399 - Dominant species identity regulates invasibility of old-field plant communities (2006) S. M. Emery and K. L. Gross
Reslit 320 - Role of species identity in plant invasions: experimental test using Imperata cylindrica (2009) P. Daneshgar and S. Jose

This information was provided by the Florida WIldflower Foundation.
Search More Titles in Research Literature

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2022-11-18
Research By: TWC Staff

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