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Useful Temperate Plants

Andropogon gerardii

Vitman

Poaceae


There is disagreement over the taxonomic treatment of Andropogon gerardii Vitman and Andropogon hallii Hack. They have been recognized either as distinct species or as varieties within a single species. Artificial hybridization experiments have shown that thee two taxa are completely interfertile, with offspring showing intermediate morphological characteristics. They do, however, show clear ecological differences - Andropogon gerardii is widely distributed in North America on moist prairie sites, while Andropogon hallii is restricted to drier, sandy soils in the Great Plains. Where their ranges overlap, however, they freely interbreed. In the Nebraska Sandhills, Andropogon gerardii occurs only in low meadows, while Andropogon hallii is restricted to upland sand dunes. Hybrids are found in narrow zones 5 -10 metres wide at the dune-meadow interface[
1050
Title
Fire Effects Information System
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.feis-crs.org/feis/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line information site with comprehensive information on over 1,100 species of plant. Mainly developed to supply information on the effects of fire on plants and animals, it also contains a wealth of other information on the plants
].

+ Synonyms

Andropogon chrysocomus Nash

Andropogon furcatus Muhl. ex Willd.

Andropogon hallii grandiflorus Scribn.

Andropogon hondurensis (R.W.Pohl) Wipff

Andropogon provincialis Lam.

Andropogon tennesseensis (Scribn.) Scribn.

Leptopogon furcatus (Muhl. ex Willd.) Roberty

Sorghum provinciale Kuntze

Common Name: Big Bluestem

Andropogon gerardii
Flowering plant in native habitat
Photograph by: Matt Lavin
Creative Commons License
Andropogon gerardii Andropogon gerardii Andropogon gerardii Andropogon gerardii

General Information

Andropogon gerardii is a perennial grass forming a tight clump of culms from a rhizomatous rootstock. These culms can be as little as 80cm tall in drier soils but up to 250cm in moister conditions[
352
Title
KemperCentreForHomeGardeningPlantFinder
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic cultivation details, plant uses, habitat etc for several thousand species of plants, mainly from the temperate zone.
,
1050
Title
Fire Effects Information System
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.feis-crs.org/feis/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line information site with comprehensive information on over 1,100 species of plant. Mainly developed to supply information on the effects of fire on plants and animals, it also contains a wealth of other information on the plants
].
The plant was traditionally used as a medicine, though is little used nowadays. It is grown in soil stabilization projects and also as an ornamental grass, where it is valued for its attractive foliage which changes colour seasonally; its good architectural height; and its interesting flower/seed heads[
352
Title
KemperCentreForHomeGardeningPlantFinder
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic cultivation details, plant uses, habitat etc for several thousand species of plants, mainly from the temperate zone.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
236
Title
Manual of the Grasses of the United States
Publication
 
Author
Hitchcock. A. S.
Publisher
Dover Publications. New York.
Year
1971
ISBN
0-486-22717-0
Description
A nice and comprehensive flora, though a bit dated. Good line drawings of each plant, plus a brief idea of the habitat and a few notes on plant uses. Not for the casual reader.

Range

N. America - Saskatchewan to Quebec, south to Utah, Mexico and Florida; C. America - Mexico to Costa Rica

Habitat

Dry soils, prairies, open ground and open woods[
222
Title
A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America.
Publication
 
Author
Foster. S. & Duke. J. A.
Publisher
Houghton Mifflin Co.
Year
1990
ISBN
0395467225
Description
A concise book dealing with almost 500 species. A line drawing of each plant is included plus colour photographs of about 100 species. Very good as a field guide, it only gives brief details about the plants medicinal properties.
,
236
Title
Manual of the Grasses of the United States
Publication
 
Author
Hitchcock. A. S.
Publisher
Dover Publications. New York.
Year
1971
ISBN
0-486-22717-0
Description
A nice and comprehensive flora, though a bit dated. Good line drawings of each plant, plus a brief idea of the habitat and a few notes on plant uses. Not for the casual reader.
]. Characteristic of climax grasslands throughout the tallgrass prairie region; it once blanketed the region, often comprising 70 - 90% of the vegetation[
1050
Title
Fire Effects Information System
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.feis-crs.org/feis/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line information site with comprehensive information on over 1,100 species of plant. Mainly developed to supply information on the effects of fire on plants and animals, it also contains a wealth of other information on the plants
]

Properties

Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitPerennial
Height2.00 m
PollinatorsWind
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Andropogon gerardii has a wide native range, growing from the prairies of southern Canada to higher elevations in the tropical regions of MesoAmerica. In the temperate zone it is found in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 10 - 20°c, but can tolerate 3 - 28°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -15°c, but young growth can be severely damaged at -5°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 700 - 1,200mm, but tolerates 350 - 2,800mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Requires a light porous sandy soil in full sun[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun[
352
Title
KemperCentreForHomeGardeningPlantFinder
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic cultivation details, plant uses, habitat etc for several thousand species of plants, mainly from the temperate zone.
]. The plant is tolerant of a wide range of soils and growing conditions[
352
Title
KemperCentreForHomeGardeningPlantFinder
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic cultivation details, plant uses, habitat etc for several thousand species of plants, mainly from the temperate zone.
]. It puts out lots of growth in moist, fertile soils, but is less apt to topple in dryish, infertile soils[
352
Title
KemperCentreForHomeGardeningPlantFinder
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic cultivation details, plant uses, habitat etc for several thousand species of plants, mainly from the temperate zone.
]. It prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 6.5, but tolerates 4.5 - 7.6[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Established plants are very drought tolerant[
352
Title
KemperCentreForHomeGardeningPlantFinder
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic cultivation details, plant uses, habitat etc for several thousand species of plants, mainly from the temperate zone.
].
The plant freely self-seeds in optimum growing conditions[
352
Title
KemperCentreForHomeGardeningPlantFinder
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic cultivation details, plant uses, habitat etc for several thousand species of plants, mainly from the temperate zone.
].
It develops an extensive root system and is somewhat slow to establish, but, once established, is easy to maintain[
352
Title
KemperCentreForHomeGardeningPlantFinder
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic cultivation details, plant uses, habitat etc for several thousand species of plants, mainly from the temperate zone.
].
A very ornamental plant, it forms large clumps, spreading by short stolons[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Various cultivars have been developed, many of these especially for use in rehabilitating prairie land with native grass species[
1050
Title
Fire Effects Information System
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.feis-crs.org/feis/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line information site with comprehensive information on over 1,100 species of plant. Mainly developed to supply information on the effects of fire on plants and animals, it also contains a wealth of other information on the plants
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

The plant is analgesic, carminative and diuretic[
222
Title
A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America.
Publication
 
Author
Foster. S. & Duke. J. A.
Publisher
Houghton Mifflin Co.
Year
1990
ISBN
0395467225
Description
A concise book dealing with almost 500 species. A line drawing of each plant is included plus colour photographs of about 100 species. Very good as a field guide, it only gives brief details about the plants medicinal properties.
].

A decoction of the roots is used in the treatment of stomach-aches and flatulence[
222
Title
A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America.
Publication
 
Author
Foster. S. & Duke. J. A.
Publisher
Houghton Mifflin Co.
Year
1990
ISBN
0395467225
Description
A concise book dealing with almost 500 species. A line drawing of each plant is included plus colour photographs of about 100 species. Very good as a field guide, it only gives brief details about the plants medicinal properties.
,
257
Title
Native American Ethnobotany
Publication
 
Author
Moerman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-88192-453-9
Description
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
].

A tea made from the leaves is used as a wash to relieve fevers and general debility[
222
Title
A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America.
Publication
 
Author
Foster. S. & Duke. J. A.
Publisher
Houghton Mifflin Co.
Year
1990
ISBN
0395467225
Description
A concise book dealing with almost 500 species. A line drawing of each plant is included plus colour photographs of about 100 species. Very good as a field guide, it only gives brief details about the plants medicinal properties.
,
257
Title
Native American Ethnobotany
Publication
 
Author
Moerman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-88192-453-9
Description
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

The plant has an extensive root system which makes it useful for soil stabilization[
352
Title
KemperCentreForHomeGardeningPlantFinder
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic cultivation details, plant uses, habitat etc for several thousand species of plants, mainly from the temperate zone.
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed - surface sow in early spring in a greenhouse. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on for the first winter in a cold greenhouse. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Division in spring.
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2021-01-21. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Andropogon+gerardii>

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