This tall prairie grass is attractive, particularly while the florets are blooming. It remains erect throughout the summer and even during the winter. Another dominant prairie grass, Andropogon gerardii (Big Bluestem), is more likely to lean in the direction of the prevailing winds, and its culms topple over during the winter to smother surrounding vegetation. Indian Grass is easy to identify because of its height and distinctive golden-colored inflorescence. It is distantly related to Sorghum spp. (Sorghums) of the Old World, including the introduced Sorghum halepense (Johnson Grass). However, the spikelets of Sorghums occur in pairs (one sessile, the other pedicellate). Indian Grass and other Sorghastrum spp. have pairs of sessile spikelets and empty pedicels; these pedicels lack spikelets. Other Sorghastrum spp., which occur primarily in the southeastern states, have spikelets with awns at least ¾" long. In contrast, Indian Grass has awns that are less than ¾" long.
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