Poaceae (Grass) Family
Andropogon glomeratus is a perennial grass that grows in narrow upright clumps. In late summer and autumn, the plants are topped with dense silvery panicles that mature into creamy fluffy plumes. Foliage and flowers turn a coppery orange color that lasts into the winter. This grass thrives in sunny sites usually where moist or wet soil persist. While generally considered to be a wetland species, it does often occur in non-wetland areas. Its preferred habitat is disturbed sites, wet meadows, fields, on pond shores, in ditches, wet depressions and at the edges of flatwoods.
The leaf blades are an attractive blue green, which accounts for the "bluestem" name. Each leaf is less than 1/2 inch wide and flat. The foot system is dense and fibrous.
Silvery panicles with pink highlights crown the clump in late summer and early fall. The flowers are club shaped but have texture somewhat like a silky feather duster. Within a few weeks the inflorescence morphs into a creamy billowing cloud with seeds interspersed throughout. The cloud-like seed clusters are excellent light catchers in the landscape and are particularly striking when illuminated by the late afternoon sun.
The name, Andropogon, is derived from the Greek, "Andro" means "man" and "pogon" means "beard." The species "glomerus" means "ball of yarn" referring to the globular mass of flowers or seeds.
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