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Little Bluestem

Schizachyrium scoparium

Other common name(s):

Popotillo Azul

Family:

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Plant Ecoregion Distribution Map

Central Great Plains, Chihuahuan Deserts, Cross Timbers, East Central Texas Plains, Edwards Plateau, Gulf Coast Prairies and Marshes, High Plains, Southern Texas Plains, Southwestern Tablelands, Texas Blackland Prairies, Western Gulf Coastal Plain
Broken Red Plains, Limestone Plains, Red Prairie
Chihuahuan Basins and Playas, Chihuahuan Desert Grasslands, Chihuahuan Montane Woodlands, Low Mountains and Bajadas, Stockton Plateau
Carbonate Cross Timbers, Eastern Cross Timbers, Grand Prairie, Limestone Cut Plain, Western Cross Timbers
Bastrop Lost Pines, Floodplains and Low Terraces2, Northern Post Oak Savanna, Northern Prairie Outliers, San Antonio Prairie, Southern Post Oak Savanna
Balcones Canyonlands, Edwards Plateau Woodland, Llano Uplift, Semiarid Edwards Plateau
Coastal Sand Plain, Floodplains and Low Terraces4, Laguna Madre Barrier Island and Coastal Marshes, Lower Rio Grande Alluvial Floodplain, Lower Rio Grande Valley, Mid-Coast Barrier Islands and Coastal Marshes, Northern Humid Gulf Coastal Prairies, Southern Subhumid Gulf Coastal Prairies, Texas-Louisiana Coastal Marshes
Arid Llano Estacado, Canadian/Cimarron High Plains, Llano Estacado, Rolling Sand Plains, Shinnery Sands
Northern Nueces Alluvial Plains, Rio Grande Floodplain and Terraces, Semiarid Edwards Bajada, Texas-Tamaulipan Thornscrub
Canadian/Cimarron Breaks, Caprock Canyons Badlands Breaks, Flat Tablelands and Valleys, Semiarid Canadian Breaks
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

2
to
4
ft.

Spread

1.5
to
2
ft.

Leaf Retention

Deciduous

Lifespan

Perennial

Habitat and Care Requirements

Soil Type(s)

Sand, Loam, Clay, Limestone, Well Drained, Moist, Dry

Light Requirement

Sun, Part Shade

Water Requirement

Low, Medium

Native Habitat

Grassland, Woodland

Bloom and Attraction

Bloom Color

White, Green, Brown

Bloom Season

Winter, Fall

Seasonal Interest

Seeds, Forage, Larval Host

Wildlife Benefit

Browsers, Butterflies, Birds, Small Mammals

Maintenance

Perfect for mass plantings. It readily reseeds so little bluestem needs lots of space. Little bluestem is tolerant of a wide range of soils but will not tolerate wetlands or sub-irrigated sites. Propagation: Seed, Root division.

Comments

Very ornamental bunchgrass. Stems turn radiant mahogany, with silver seed heads in the fall all through winter. In the wild it is a codominant of tall grass prairies and openings in woods. Provides cover for wildlife. Larval Host: many species of Skippers.
Previous Scientific Name(s): Synonym/s: Andropogon scoparius

References

1) Griffith, Bryce, Omernick & Rodgers (2007). Ecoregions of Texas. 2) Wasowski and Wasowski, Native Texas Plants Landscaping Region by Region, 1991, pg. 132. 3) https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=SCSC. 4) https://portal.torcherbaria.org/portal/taxa/index.php?taxon=Schizachyrium+scoparium&formsubmit=Search+Terms. 5) http://bonap.net/TDC/Image/Map?taxonType=Species&taxonId=18975&locationType=County&mapType=Normal, 6) https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=42076#null, 7) Native and Adapted Landscape Plants, City of Austin and Texas A&M, 2014., 8) Hatch, Umphres, Ardoin, 2015, Field Guide to Common Texas Grasses, pg 246., 9) https://seedsource.com/little-bluestem/