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Sporobolus cryptandrus (Sand dropseed)
Smith, R.W.

Sporobolus cryptandrus

Sporobolus cryptandrus (Torr.) A. Gray

Sand Dropseed

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Synonym(s): Agrostis cryptandra, Sporobolus cryptandrus ssp. fuscicola, Sporobolus cryptandrus var. fuscicola, Sporobolus cryptandrus var. occidentalis


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Sand dropseed is a 1-3 ft., perennial bunchgrass, usually in rather small clumps. The large, terminal, open seedheads have long, spreading or sometimes reflexed branches.


From the Image Gallery

3 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Fruit Type: Caryopsis
Size Notes: To about 3 feet in height.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

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


USA: AR , AZ , CA , CO , CT , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , MT , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NV , NY , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , UT , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV , WY
Canada: MB , ON
Native Distribution: Coastal New England; Que. to WA, s. to NC, LA, n. Mex. & e. of the Cascades to s. CA
Native Habitat: Roadsides, Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannas

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Sandy soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Desturbed
Conditions Comments: Sand dropseed adapts to most soils but thrives on sandy sites. It is considered an invader on Midwest rangeland where grazing animals prefer it less than other grasses. It establishes easily and is widely used for controlling erosion on a variety of sites.

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.


Description: Sow seed.
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.

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:

Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
North American Native Plant Society - Etobicoke, ON
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2012-10-25
Research By: TWC Staff

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