Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
General: Grass Family (Poaceae). Sand bluestem is a native, perennial, warm season bunch grass. Plants are glaucous; culms robust, often growing in large tufts, with prominent rhizomes reaching 4 to 8 inches in length and conspicuous hairy pedicels, rachis joints and seed heads. In the best growing conditions it can reach 7 feet in height. It has a J-shaped stem base, and the culms are solid, and grooved on one side. The leaf blades have margins with none to few hairs, have prominent midribs, strongly ridged on the upper surface but not below. The leaf collar is often hirsute. Most leaves are found near the base.
Distribution: Sand bluestem occurs predominantly west of the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and from Canada to Mexico. For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.
Habitat: Sand bluestem is found on sandy, loamy sand or sandy loam soils. It is found as part of a climax plant complex under good grazing or native hay meadow management. It is not generally found where annual precipitation is less than 14 inches, greater than 30 inches or on soils with a high clay component.