Species Name:  Andropogon gerardii

Common Name: Big Bluestem

Zone: 3 to 8

Light: Full Sun

Soil Moisture: Dry to Medium to Moist

Soil Types: Sand, Loam, Clay

Fertility: Medium to Rich

pH: 5 to 7.5

Bloom Time: August to October

Habit: The key component of the tall grass prairie. Big bluestem is the most widely distributed of all the prairie grasses. It grows 5 to 8 ft tall and grows in most soils from dry sand to wet clay. Big bluestem is a warm season perennial bunch grass with a deep rhizomatous root system that makes it extremely drought tolerant and adaptable to very poor soils.  Big bluestems stiff upright foliage provides important nesting sites and cover for birds during spring and summer.  The course woody stems persist throughout the fall and winter providing critical overwintering cover for birds and animals.  It also provides physical support for associated forbs (wildflowers) that grow between the Big bluestem clumps. The three part seed heads resemble a turkey foot and the seed is eaten by numerous ground foraging birds and

big bluestem seed head
Seed head resembles a turkey foot.

big bluestem
Redish bronze fall color


big Bluestem prairie
Big bluestem prairie