Anatherum virginicum Spreng.
Andropogon capillipes Nash
Andropogon curtisianus Steud.
Andropogon dealbatus (C.Mohr ex Hack.) Weakley & LeBlond
Andropogon dissitiflorus Michx.
Andropogon eriophorus Scheele
Andropogon glaucescens Schltdl. ex Hack.
Andropogon glaucus Muhl.
Andropogon louisianae Steud.
Andropogon macrourus viridis Vasey
Andropogon pauciflorus Salzm. ex Steud.
Andropogon tetrastachyus Elliott
Andropogon vaginatus Elliott
Cinna lateralis Walter
Cymbopogon glaucus Schult.
Dimeiostemon tetrastachys Raf.
Dimeiostemon vaginatus Raf.
Holcus virginicus Steud.
Sorghum virginicum (L.) Kuntze
Common Name: Broomsedge Bluestem
Growing plant, prior to flowering
Photograph by: Harry Rose
Andropogon virginicus is a hebaceous, perennial grass forming a tight clump of culms 50 - 120cm tall from a rhizomatous rootstock[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and dye. It can be used to reclaim mine-spoil sites.
The plant has become an invasive weed in many regions, including Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii[
]. It was inadvertantly introduced to the Hawain Islands in 1932 and has spread widely there. It is considered to be one of the most threatening of exotic species, invading native habitats and altering the fire and hydrology regimes[
]. It invades forest and other native vegetation, along tracks - nearly pure stands can persist as a result of competition and allelopathy[
]. It is spread by seeds that are transported by wind and also by catching in clothing or in the fur of animals[
N. America - Iowa to Massachusetts, south to Mexico, Texas and Florida; C. America - south to Paama; Caribbeam; S. America - Venezuela
Open ground, old fields, open woods, sterile hills and sandy soils[
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Requires a light porous sandy soil in full sun[
]. Plants are often found in very acid soils in the wild[
]. They grow well on low-fertility soils, especially those on eroded, 'worn-out' fields[
The plant usually starts flowering in its second or third year of growth from seed[
At the end of the growing season, nearly all green material on the plant dies, leaving a large accumulation of standing dead material which is easily set on fire[
The plant sometimes forms continuous cover in boggy, open mesic or dry habitats. It releases highly persistent allelopathic substances which inhibit competition. The dead material provides an excellent fuel for fires, whilst the plant itself is stimulated by the fire, it thus increases its coverage of the area dramatically with each fire. In areas where it occurs, both fire intensities and acreage burnt have increased[
A decoction of the roots is used in the treatment of backaches[
A tea made from the leaves is used in the treatment of diarrhoea[
Applied externally, it is used as a wash for frostbite, sores, itching, piles and poison ivy rash[
The plant is a common invader of abandoned coal strip mines and quarries, and frequently becomes the dominant ground cover[
]. It can be used in soil restoration projects, though should only be used within its native range because of its propensity to become an invasive weed[
Plants are often seen as an indicator of poor soils[
A yellow dye is obtained from the stems[
]. Onion skins are sometimes added when making the dye[
Seed - surface sow in early spring in a greenhouse. A period of cold stratification improves germination times and rates[
]. 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.