Sorghastrum nutans – Indian grass

SCIENTIFIC NAME:  Sorghastrum nutans – The genus Sorghastrum is derived from the word sorghum and astrum means “an imitation of” (sorghum).  Nutans means nodding. There are three species of SorghastrumS. nutans, S. elliotti, and S. secundum.

FLOWER:  The inflorescence is a narrow plume of greatly branching yellow flower clusters. Each spikelet is fringed with white hairs giving a silver and gold appearance. The whole plume is in the range of 5-12 inches long. 

BLOOMING PERIOD:  August, September, October.

SIZE:  Three to seven feet.

BEHAVIOR:  The plant spreads by seed and rhizomes in favorable conditions. The root reaches 6 feet deep.

SITE REQUIREMENTS: It obtains best growth in full sun and moist to mesic moisture conditions. It thrives in a variety of soils from rich loam to poor soil, acid to alkaline conditions, from sandy to clay.

 NATURAL RANGE:  It is found in the central and eastern United States and lower Canada, especially in the Great Plains and in tallgrass prairies. 

SPECIAL FEATURES:  It’s a good forage plant. It attracts butterflies and other pollinators. Due to its deep roots it’s a good soil stabilizer.

SUGGESTED CARE:  Minimal care. Responds well to burning.

COMPANION PLANTS:  Big and Little blue stem, switchgrass.