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Splitbeard Bluestem

Andropogon ternarius

Other common name(s):

Split Bluestem

Family:

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Plant Ecoregion Distribution Map

Cross Timbers, East Central Texas Plains, Gulf Coast Prairies and Marshes, Texas Blackland Prairies, Western Gulf Coastal Plain
Carbonate Cross Timbers, Eastern Cross Timbers, Grand Prairie, Western Cross Timbers
Bastrop Lost Pines, Floodplains and Low Terraces2, Northern Post Oak Savanna, Northern Prairie Outliers, San Antonio Prairie, Southern Post Oak Savanna
Floodplains and Low Terraces4, Laguna Madre Barrier Island and Coastal Marshes, Lower Rio Grande Alluvial Floodplain, Mid-Coast Barrier Islands and Coastal Marshes, Northern Humid Gulf Coastal Prairies, Southern Subhumid Gulf Coastal Prairies, Texas-Louisiana Coastal Marshes
Floodplains and Low Terraces1, Northern Blackland Prairie, Southern Blackland Prairie
Flatwoods, Floodplains and Low Terraces3, Pleistocene Fluvial Terraces, Red River Bottomlands, Southern Tertiary Uplands, Tertiary Uplands

Plant Characteristics

Growth Form

Grass & Sedge

Height

1.5
to
4
ft.

Spread

0.5
to
1
ft.

Leaf Retention

Deciduous

Lifespan

Perennial

Habitat and Care Requirements

Soil Type(s)

Sand, Loam, Well Drained

Light Requirement

Sun, Part Shade

Water Requirement

Low

Native Habitat

Grassland, Woodland

Bloom and Attraction

Bloom Color

Brown

Bloom Season

Summer, Fall

Seasonal Interest

Seeds, Forage, Pollen, Nesting Material

Wildlife Benefit

Birds, Small Mammals, Deer, Bees

Maintenance

In the wild it occurs on sandy soils of savannah and borders of woodlands. The showy seed tufts provide a nice accent for gardens or in wildscapes. Dormant in winter. Propagation: Root division, Seed.

Comments

Warm season bunchgrass. Leaf and stem purplish-reddish green. Showy white seed tufts. Provides nesting material for birds. Small mammals and birds eat the seed. Attracts native bees.

References

1) Griffith, Bryce, Omernick & Rodgers (2007). Ecoregions of Texas. 2) https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=ANTE2. 3) https://portal.torcherbaria.org/portal/taxa/index.php?taxon=Andropogon+ternarius&formsubmit=Search+Terms. 4) http://bonap.net/TDC/Image/Map?taxonType=Species&taxonId=17696&locationType=County&mapType=Normal, 5) Wasowski and Wasowski, Native Texas Plants Landscaping Region by Region, 1991, pg. 126, 127. 6) https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=40455#null, 7) Hatch, Umphres, Ardoin, 2015, Field Guide to Common Texas Grasses, pg 52.
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