Broom Sedge
Andropogon virginicus
- Linnaeus
Poaceae (Grass) Family

 

 Broom Sedge is a native herbaceous perennial in the Grass family (Poaceae). It can be found throughout Alabama. Broom Sedge occurs in pine forests, in prairies, in disturbed woodlands, in glades, in old fields and pastures, and on roadsides. It is a warm season bunch grass. Broom Sedge is a perennial from a hardened base with fibrous roots. Each clump produces 1 to many erect stems up to 4 feet in height.

Leaves are basal and cauline. The cauline leaves are alternate; linear, pubescent near the collar or glabrous, and not glaucous. The sheath is pubescent with spreading hairs.

The flowers are produced in pairs of racemes partially enclosed in a bract. The bract is only slight inflated. Spikelets occur in pairs along the raceme. The lower spikelet is sessile and fertile and the upper or pedicelled spikelet is vestigial or represented by a small awn. There is a tuft of long white hairs at the base of the sessile spikelet. The awn of the sessile spikelets is straight.

The fruit is a grain.

Broom Sedge is one of the most common and noticeable native grasses. The plant often colonizes disturbed habitats and is a major component of many native grasslands. It is especially noticeable during the winter months when the erect stems and foliage become an orange-brown color. Broom Sedge is available as seed form some nurseries that sell native grasses. It prefers a well-draining soil in full sun. Broom Sedge can be used as a “filler” in prairies and wildflower plantings, and as a backdrop to beds of wildflowers. The dried stalks of Broom Sedge were gathered and made into brooms by the early settlers. Several forms of Broom Sedge have been variously recognized as varieties or species.

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