Big bluestem

Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)

Big bluestem is a tall, native, warm-season grass (meaning its peak growing rate is during the summer) that thrives in the sandy well-drained soils of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve. It can reach six to eight feet in height and is common in both the pitch pine-scrub oak barrens and the successional northern sandplain grassland communities.  


Habitat: Big bluestem was once a dominant plant of the tall grass prairie. It thrives in well-drained soils and tolerates conditions with low fertility.


Cool facts:

  • Big bluestem is also called "turkey foot", a name that describes the shape of its seed head.

  • This prairie grass was once a staple in the diet of bison.

  • Big bluestem is a host plant for the dusted skipper and the Delaware skipper butterflies.


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