This native perennial grass is 2-3' tall and tufted at the base. The culms are tan or reddish brown, hairless, and terete; the base of each culm is erect, rather than decumbent across the ground. Alternate leaves are produced primarily along the lower half of each culm. The leaf blades are up to 10" long and ¼" across, light green or light blue, hairless or slightly pubescent, and curling outward. The leaf sheaths are light green or light blue, hairless or slightly pubescent, and finely ribbed. Each culm terminates in several ascending racemes of spikelets. Each raceme is about 1½–3" long and it has a peduncle (or flowering stalk) of variable length underneath. Several pairs of spikelets occur on opposite sides of the raceme's rachis (central stem); this rachis is covered with long white hairs and it tends to zigzag between the spikelets as they become mature. For each pair, there is a fertile spikelet that is sessile and a sterile spikelet on a slender pedicel. The fertile spikelet is about ¼" (6 mm.) in length (excluding any awns); it consists of a pair of outer glumes and a pair of inner lemmas. The narrow glumes are light green to tan and hairless or slightly hairy. The fertile lemma is tan to reddish brown and it has a slender white awn about 1/3" (10 mm.) at its apex; this awn can be straight to strongly curved. The sterile spikelet is about one-half the length of the fertile spikelet and it also has a slender white awn. The florets have anthers that are brown or reddish brown and plumose stigmas that are pale purple. The blooming period occurs from late summer into the fall. Each fertile spikelet produces a single elongated grain. The root system is fibrous and rhizomatous. Tight bunches of culms and leaves are produced from the short rhizomes. The culms and leaves become various shades of tan, brown, or wine-red during the fall and winter.
"The preference is full sun and mesic to dry conditions. Different kinds of soil are tolerated, including those that contain clay-loam, gravel, or sand. Less fertile soil is preferred because of the reduced competition from taller vegetation. Because of its C4 metabolism, Little Bluestem develops primarily during the warm weather of summer and early fall, and it has excellent drought resistance.
(PLS) Also known as Schizachyrium scoparium. Little Blue Stem is a warm season, native perennial grass which grows 2-3' tall and tufted at the base. The culms are tan or reddish brown, hairless, and terete; the base of each culm is erect, rather than decumbent across the ground. Alternate leaves are produced primarily along the lower half of each culm.
Growth Habit: Graminoid
Edible Uses: Unknown
Medicinal Uses: Unknown
Herbal Uses: Unknown
|Sun Exposure||Savanna, Prairie|
|Soil Moisture||Mesic, Dry Mesic, Dry|
|Bloom Time||Summer, Fall
July, August, September
|Max. Height||3 Feet|
|Seeds Per Ounce||15,000|