Andropogon gerardii

Common names: Big bluestem Barbon de gerard
Synonyms: Andropogon provincialis unknownAndropogon furcatus unknown
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 25. Treatment on page 653.
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Plants often forming large clumps, rhizomes, if present, with internodes shorter than 2 cm. Culms 1-3 m, often glaucous. Sheaths glabrous or pilose; ligules 0.4-2.5 mm; blades 5-50 cm long, (2)5-10 mm wide, usually pilose adaxially, at least near the collar. Inflorescence units usually only terminal; peduncles with 2-6(10) rames; rames 5-11 cm, exserted at maturity, usually purplish, sometimes yellowish; internodes sparsely to densely pubescent, hairs 2.2-4.2 mm, usually white, rarely yellowish. Sessile spikelets 5-11 mm, scabrous; awns 8-25 mm; anthers 3, 2.5-4.5 mm. Pedicellate spikelets 3.5-12 mm, usually well-developed and staminate. 2n = 20, 40, 60 (usually), 70, 80.


Conn., N.J., N.Y., Wis., Del., D.C, Man., Ont., Que., Sask., W.Va., Colo., Fla., Wyo., N.H., N.Mex., Tex., La., Tenn., N.C., S.C., Pa., Va., Mass., Maine, R.I., Vt., Kans., N.Dak., Nebr., Okla., Ala., Ark., Ill., Ga., Ind., Iowa, Ariz., Md., Ohio, Utah, Mo., Minn., Mich., Mont., Miss., Ky., S.Dak.


Andropogon gerardii grows in prairies, meadows, and generally dry soils. It is a widespread species, extending from southern Canada to Mexico, and was once dominant over much of its range. It is frequently planted for erosion control, restoration, or as an ornamental; the records from Washington and central Montana reflect such plantings. It hybridizes with A. ballii, the two sometimes being treated as conspecific subspecies.



Lower Taxa

No lower taxa listed.