Sorghastrum nutans

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"Indiangrass" redirects here. It may also refer to members of the genus Sorghastrum..
Sorghastrum nutans
Sorghastrum nutans Tennessee.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Sorghastrum
Species: S. nutans
Binomial name
Sorghastrum nutans
(L.) Nash

Andropogon avenaceus Michx.
Andropogon nutans L.
Andropogon nutans var. avenaceus (Michx.) Hack.
Chrysopogon avenaceus (Michx.) Benth.
Sorghastrum avenaceum (Michx.) Nash[1]

Sorghastrum nutans, commonly known as either Indiangrass or yellow Indiangrass,[2] is a North American prairie grass found in the central and eastern United States and Canada, especially in the Great Plains and tallgrass prairies.


Sorghastrum nutans
Yellow Indiangrass

Sorghastrum nutans is a perennial bunchgrass, prominent in the tallgrass prairie ecoregion, along with big bluestem (Andropogon gerardi), little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum).

It is adapted in the United States from the southern border to Canada and from the eastern seaboard to Montana, Wyoming and Utah.[3]

It is the official state grass of both Oklahoma and South Carolina.


Yellow Indiangrass is native to prairie habitats. Its blooming period is in late spring. It is intolerant to shade. It is also common in areas of longleaf pine. The grass grows 3 feet (0.91 m) to 7 feet (2.1 m) tall, and is distinguished by a "rifle-sight" ligule where the leaf blade attaches to the leaf sheath. The leaf is about 3 feet (0.91 m) long. The seed head contains about 175,000 seeds per pound.[3]

It regrows with renewed vitality after fires, so controlled burns are used, replacing extirpated large herbivores (i.e. bison), for habitat renewal.

See also[edit]

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service lists the following uses for Indiangrass:

  • Erosion control
  • Livestock
  • Pollinators
  • Restoration
  • Wildlife[3]


  1. ^ "Taxon: Sorghastrum nutans (L.) Nash". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2003-05-23. Retrieved 2011-03-03. 
  2. ^ "Sorghastrum nutans". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 2011-03-03. 
  3. ^ a b c "Indiangrass." Plant Fact Sheet.2011. Accessed July 26, 2015

External links[edit]

Media related to Sorghastrum nutans at Wikimedia Commons