LITTLE BLUESTEM
File Size: 133 KB
 
Schizachyrium scoparium   (Michx. ) Nash
[=Andropogon scoparius Michx.]
Riley County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: 2-4 feet
Family: Poaceae - Grass Family
Flowering Period:   July, August, September
Culms: Erect, solid, branching above, slightly flattened, bluish green to purplish, waxy.
Blades: Folded or sometimes rolled backward, 2 to 12 inches long, less than 1/4 inch wide, glabrous to hairy, somewhat rough above near bases; tips tapered to sharp points.
Sheaths: Shorter than internodes, usually glabrous, keeled.
Ligules: Fringed membranes.
Inflorescences: Racemes, spike-like, numerous, on slender stalks, 1 to 2.5 inches long, zigzag when mature.
Spikelets: In pairs, 1 sessile, fertile, 1 stalked, staminate or sterile; rachis and spikelet stalks hairy; upper lemma awn of sessile spikelet to 3/5 inch long, bent and twisted.
Habitat: Prairies, dry hills, and open woods.
Distribution: Throughout Kansas.
Forage Value: It provides very nutritious grazing prior to maturity.
Comments: Tufted. Little bluestem is one of the most abundant grasses in Kansas, and it has significant economic importance in the Flint Hills region. Its roots, which grow 5-8 feet long, enable it to resist moderate drought conditions. The plant turns a red or bronze-orange cast after frost.

Little bluestem inflorescence
69 KB
Riley County, Kansas
Little bluestem inflorescence
65 KB
Riley County, Kansas
Little bluestem spikelets
79 KB
Riley County, Kansas
Little bluestem
163 KB
Ottawa County, Kansas
Little bluestem anthers
88 KB
Riley County, Kansas
Little bluestem in the fall
159 KB
Riley County, Kansas
Little bluestem
171 KB
Pratt County, Kansas
Little bluestem
193 KB
Pratt County, Kansas