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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This perennial grass is 3-7' tall. It typically consists of a dense tuft of flowering culms and their deciduous leaves. The culms are terete, glabrous, pale green or pale yellow, and unbranched. Alternate leaves occur primarily along the lower one-half of each culm. The leaf blades are up to 2' long and 6 mm. across; they are pale green to dark green, flat, and hairless (rarely short-pubescent). The leaf blades are ascending to widely spreading, and often arched. The leaf sheaths are pale to medium green, open, and hairless (rarely short-pubescent). The nodes of the culms are slightly swollen, dark-colored, and covered with short fine hairs (at least when they are young). The ligules are white-membranous. Each fertile culm terminates in a narrow panicle of spikelets. Each panicle is 4-14" long and ellipsoid to lanceoloid in outline, becoming broader with age. The panicle has a rachis with several ascending branches; the latter are up to 4" long. The rachis and branches are yellowish tan to golden brown, mostly glabrous, and terete. Small tufts of hair may occur where the branches diverge from the rachis. The branches divide into branchlets that terminate in clusters of 2-3 spikelets. In each cluster, the sessile spikelet is fertile, while the remaining 1-2 pedicellate spikelets are either sterile or fertile. Sterile spikelets have hairy pedicels that are 5-8 mm. long; these pedicels are empty, lacking either glumes or lemmas at their apices. Fertile spikelets, whether they are sessile or pedicellate, are 5-8 mm. long (excluding their awns) and lanceoloid in shape; they are typically golden brown during the blooming period. Each fertile spikelet consists of a pair of glumes, a sterile lemma, an awned fertile lemma, and a perfect floret. The glumes are the same length as the spikelet; they are lanceolate, convex along their outer surfaces, longitudinally veined, and somewhat shiny. One glume is covered with silky white hairs, particularly along the lower length of its length, while the other glume is mostly hairless. The sterile and fertile lemmas are 3-6 mm. long, lanceolate, membranous, and enclosed by the glumes. The fertile lemma has a long awn at its tip that is often bent, gently curved, or twisted; this awn is about 12-20 mm. (½–¾") in length. Each perfect floret has 3 yellow stamens, 2 white plumose stigmas, and an ovary; the stamens are rather large (3-5 mm. long) and showy. The blooming period occurs from late summer to early autumn, lasting about 1-2 weeks for a colony of plants. The florets are cross-pollinated by the wind. At this time, the panicle branches spread outward slightly, while later they become more appressed and ascending. At maturity, the spikelets disarticulate below the glumes, falling to the ground in their entirety. The narrow grains are about 2-2.5 mm. in length. The root system is fibrous and short-rhizomatous. Cultivation
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Description

Sorghastrum nutans ( L). Nash, indiangrass, is a native, perennial, warm-season grass, and a major component of the tall grass vegetation which once dominated the prairies of the central and eastern United States. Indiangrass grows 3 to 5 feet tall. Even as a young plant, it can be distinguished from other native grass species by the “rifle-sight” ligule at the point where the leaf attaches to the stem. The leaf blade also narrows at the point of attachment. The seed head is a single, narrow, plume-like panicle of a golden brown color. The seed is light and fluffy with small awns attached. There are about 175,000 seeds per pound.

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USDA NRCS Plant Materials Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Indian Grass can be found in every county of Illinois (see Distribution Map), where it is native. This was one of the dominant grasses of the prairies that covered much of Illinois during historical times. Habitats include typical savannas and sandy savannas, black soil prairies, clay prairies, sand prairies, gravel prairies, dolomite prairies, hill prairies, cemetery prairies, barrens with scrubby vegetation, limestone glades, grassy fens, fallow fields, roadsides, and areas along railroads (particularly where prairie remnants occur). Indian Grass is often used in tallgrass prairie restorations. Faunal Associations
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

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Global Range: Occurs from Quebec to Manitoba and North Dakota, south to eastern Colorado, southern Utah, central Mexico, and Florida.

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Indiangrass is found from Quebec and Maine west to central Saskatchewan,
south to Arizona and northern Mexico, and east to Florida. It is found
in all but 5 of the lower 48 states [50].
  • 50. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]

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Regional Distribution in the Western United States

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This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

7 Lower Basin and Range
10 Wyoming Basin
12 Colorado Plateau
13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont
14 Great Plains
15 Black Hills Uplift
16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands

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Occurrence in North America

AL AZ AR CO CT DE FL GA IL IN
IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS
MO MT NE NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH
OK PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA
WV WI WY LB NB NF NS ON PQ SK
MEXICO

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Distribution and adaptation

Indiangrass is adapted to the Northeast west to Texas and North Dakota. It grows best in deep, well-drained floodplain soils. However, it is highly tolerant of poorly to excessively well-drained soils, acid to alkaline conditions, and textures ranging from sand to clay.

For a current distribution map, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Website.

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USDA NRCS Plant Materials Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the term: warm-season

Indiangrass is a perennial, native, warm-season grass with short, scaley
rhizomes. Plants grow upright and robust, from 3.3 to 6.6 feet (1 to 2
m). Inflorescences are a striking yellow or golden color, with hairy,
grayish branches [69].
  • 69. Stubbendieck, J.; Nichols, James T.; Roberts, Kelly K. 1985. Nebraska range and pasture grasses (including grass-like plants). E.C. 85-170. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska, Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service. 75 p. [2269]

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Physical Description

Perennials, Terrestrial, not aquatic, Rhizomes present, Rhizome short and compact, stems close, Rhizome elongate, creeping, stems distant, Stems nodes swollen or brittle, Stems erect or ascending, Stems caespitose, tufted, or clustered, Stems terete, round in cross section, or polygonal, Stem nodes b earded or hairy, Stem internodes hollow, Stems with inflorescence less than 1 m tall, Stems with inflorescence 1-2 m tall, Stems with inflorescence 2-6 m tall, Stems, culms, or scapes exceeding basal leaves, Leaves mostly cauline, Leaves conspicuously 2-ranked, distichous, Leaves sheathing at base, Leaf sheath mostly open, or loose, Leaf sheath smooth, glabrous, Leaf sheath hairy, hispid or prickly, Leaf sheath and blade differentiated, Leaf blades linear, Leaf blade auriculate, Leaf blades 2-10 mm wide, Leaf blades mostly flat, Leaf blade margins folded, involute, or conduplicate, Leaf blades mostly glabrous, Ligule present, Ligule an unfringed eciliate membrane, Inflorescence terminal, Inflorescence a contracted panicle, narrowly paniculate, branches appressed or ascending, Inflorescence a dense slender spike-like panicle or raceme, branches contracted, Inflorescence solitary, with 1 spike, fascicle, glomerule, head, or cluster per stem or culm, Inflorescence a panicle with narrowly racemose or spicate branches, Inflorescence branches more than 10 to numerous, Inflorescence branches 1-sided, Flowers bisexual, Spikelets pedicellate, Spikelets sessile or subsessile, Spikelets dorsally compressed or terete, Spikelet less than 3 mm wide, Spikelets with 1 fertile floret, Spikelets with 2 florets, Spikelets paired at rachis nodes, Spikelets 3 per node, Spikelets all alike and fertille, Spikelets in paired units, 1 sessile, 1 pedicellate, Pedicellate spikelet rudimentary or absent, usually sterile, Spikelets bisexual, Spikelets disarticulating below the glumes, Spikelets falling with parts of disarticulating rachis or pedicel, Glumes present, empty bracts, Glumes 2 clearly present, Glumes equal or subequal, Glumes equal to or longer than adjacent lemma, Glume equal to or longer than spikelet, Glume surface hairy, villous or pilose, Glumes 8-15 nerved, Lemmas thin, chartaceous, hyaline, cartilaginous, or membranous, Lemma 1 nerved, Lemma glabrous, Lemma apex dentate, 2-fid, Lemma distinctly awned, more than 2-3 mm, Lemma with 1 awn, Lemma awn 1-2 cm long, Lemma awn from sinus of bifid apex, Lemma awn once geniculate, bent once, Lemma margins thin, lying flat, Lemma straight, Palea membranous, hyaline, Palea shorter than lemma, Stamens 3, Styles 2-fid, deeply 2-branched, Stigmas 2, Fruit - caryopsis.
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Dr. David Bogler

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Type Information

Possible type for Sorghum nutans subsp. linnaeanum Hack.
Catalog Number: US 3151756
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): A. W. Chapman
Locality: Florida, United States, North America
  • Possible type: Hackel, E. 1883. Fl. Bras. 2 (3): 276.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Type fragment for Andropogon albescens E. Fourn.
Catalog Number: US 76439
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): F. M. G. Gouin
Year Collected: 1867
Locality: Veracruz, Mexico, North America
  • Type fragment: Fournier, E. P. 1886. Mexic. Pl. 2: 56.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Holotype for Sorghastrum flexuosum Swallen
Catalog Number: US 2252125
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): R. Reitz & R. M. Klein
Year Collected: 1957
Locality: Faz. Ernesto Scheide, Campo Alegre., Santa Catarina, Brazil, South America
Elevation (m): 900 to 900
  • Holotype: Swallen, J. R. 1966. Phytologia. 14: 97.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Type fragment for Andropogon confertus Trin. ex E. Fourn.
Catalog Number: US 76457
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): J. L. Berlandier
Locality: Texas Oriental., Texas, United States, North America
  • Type fragment: Fournier, E. P. 1886. Mexic. Pl. 2: 55.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Type fragment for Andropogon nutans L.
Catalog Number: US 76596
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): P. Kalm
Locality: United States, North America
  • Type fragment: Linnaeus, C. 1753. Sp. Pl. 1045.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Type fragment for Stipa stricta Lam.
Catalog Number: US 866057A
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): D. Fraser
Locality: South Carolina, United States, North America
  • Type fragment: Lamarck, J. B. A. 1791. Tabl. Encycl. 1: 158.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Type fragment for Andropogon ciliatus Elliott
Catalog Number: US 76456
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): ex herb. Elliott
Locality: Dry pine barrens on Point Royal., Beaufort, South Carolina, United States, North America
  • Type fragment: Elliott, S. 1816. Sketch Bot. S. Carolina and Georgia. 1: 144.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Type fragment for Andropogon avenaceum Michx.
Catalog Number: US 76444
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): Collector unknown
Locality: Illinois, United States, North America
  • Type fragment: Michaux, A. 1803. Fl. Bor.-Amer. 1: 58.
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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Indian Grass can be found in every county of Illinois (see Distribution Map), where it is native. This was one of the dominant grasses of the prairies that covered much of Illinois during historical times. Habitats include typical savannas and sandy savannas, black soil prairies, clay prairies, sand prairies, gravel prairies, dolomite prairies, hill prairies, cemetery prairies, barrens with scrubby vegetation, limestone glades, grassy fens, fallow fields, roadsides, and areas along railroads (particularly where prairie remnants occur). Indian Grass is often used in tallgrass prairie restorations. Faunal Associations
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Habitat characteristics

Indiangrass grows in prairies, bottomlands, open woods, and meadows. In
Nebraska it is common on subirrigated and overflow range sites. It
thrives on deep, moist soils varying from heavy clays to coarse sands
[75]. It is moderately tolerant of salt and acid, and may be common on
mildly saline, subirrigated sites [69,75]. It has been found on soils
with a pH as low as 4.5 [75]. Indiangrass tolerates brief or periodic
flooding, water tables in the second foot of soil, and imperfect
drainage [75]. Soils which support Indiangrass include sandy- and
medium-textured soils [41], limestone breaks [7], and silty clay loams
[34]. It was found on claypan range sites in Kansas, but abudance was
low [7].

Common associates include big bluestem, little bluestem (Schizachyrium
scoparium), and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) [34,69].
  • 7. Anderson, Kling L.; Smith, Ed F.; Owensby, Clenton E. 1970. Burning bluestem range. Journal of Range Management. 23: 81-92. [323]
  • 34. Gillen, Robert L.; McCollum, F. Ted; Hodges, Mark E.; [and others]
  • 41. Herzman, Carl W.; Everson, A. C.; Mickey, Myron H.; [and others]
  • 69. Stubbendieck, J.; Nichols, James T.; Roberts, Kelly K. 1985. Nebraska range and pasture grasses (including grass-like plants). E.C. 85-170. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska, Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service. 75 p. [2269]
  • 75. Wasser, Clinton H. 1982. Ecology and culture of selected species useful in revegetating disturbed lands in the West. FWS/OBS-82/56. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Biological Services, Western Energy and Land Use Team. 347 p. Available from NTIS, Springfield, VA 22161; PB-83-167023. [2458]

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Habitat: Plant Associations

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This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

K016 Eastern ponderosa forest
K017 Black Hills pine forest
K037 Mountain mahogany - oak scrub
K051 Wheatgrass - bluegrass
K056 Wheatgrass - needlegrass shrubsteppe
K062 Mesquite - live oak savanna
K063 Foothills prairie
K064 Grama - needlegrass - wheatgrass
K065 Grama - buffalograss
K066 Wheatgrass - needlegrass
K067 Wheatgrass - bluestem - needlegrass
K069 Bluestem - grama prairie
K070 Sandsage - bluestem prairie
K074 Bluestem prairie
K075 Nebraska sandhills prairie
K076 Blackland prairie
K081 Oak savanna
K082 Mosaic of K074 and K100
K084 Cross Timbers
K086 Juniper - oak savanna
K087 Mesquite - oak savanna
K098 Northern floodplain forest
K111 Oak - hickory - pine forest
K112 Southern mixed forest

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Habitat: Ecosystem

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This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

More info for the term: shrub

FRES12 Longleaf - slash pine
FRES14 Oak - pine
FRES15 Oak - hickory
FRES17 Elm - ash - cottonwood
FRES21 Ponderosa pine
FRES29 Sagebrush
FRES32 Texas savanna
FRES34 Chaparral - mountain shrub
FRES36 Mountain grasslands
FRES38 Plains grasslands
FRES39 Prairie

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Habitat: Cover Types

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This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

39 Black ash - American elm - red maple
40 Post oak - blackjack oak
42 Bur oak
66 Ashe juniper - redberry (Pinchot) juniper
68 Mesquite
70 Longleaf pine
71 Longleaf pine - scrub oak
72 Southern scrub oak
76 Shortleaf pine - oak
83 Longleaf pine - slash pine
94 Sycamore - sweetgum - American elm
237 Interior ponderosa pine
241 Western live oak

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Key Plant Community Associations

In the northern parts of the tallgrass prairie, Indiangrass is not as
plentiful as big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii var. gerardii). In
southern areas, it may comprise over 90 percent of a stand [13].
Indiangrass occurs as a dominant or subdominant in the following
classifications:

Remnant grassland vegetation and ecological affinities of the upper
coastal prairie of Texas [18]
Composition, classification and species response patterns of remnant
tallgrass prairies in Texas [19]
Classification of native vegetation at the Woodworth Station, North
Dakota [52]
  • 13. Brown, Lauren. 1985. The Audobon Society nature guides: Grasslands. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 606 p. [4561]
  • 18. Gunson, John R. 1992. Historical and present management of wolves in Alberta. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 20(3): 330-339. [5681]
  • 19. Diamond, David D.; Smeins, Fred E. 1985. Composition, classification and species response patterns of remnant tallgrass prairies in Texas. American Midland Naturalist. 113(2): 294-307. [3421]
  • 52. Meyer, Marvis I. 1985. Classification of native vegetation at the Woodworth Station, North Dakota. Prairie Naturalist. 17(3): 167-175. [5432]

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Dispersal

Establishment

Indiangrass and other warm-season grasses require a soil temperature above 50°F for satisfactory germination. Dormant seedings have not been successful. The optimum time to plant is from early May to late June.

The seed is light and has small awns attached. Debearding the seed removes the awns to produce a free-flowing product. The planting site should be free of perennial or noxious weeds. A moist, firm seedbed is essential. Firming the soil with a roller packer before seeding helps to ensure that the seed is placed at the recommended seeding depth of ½ to ¾ inch.

If seed is drilled for solid stands, use 6 to 8 pounds per acre rate PLS (pure live seed). For broadcast seedings, the rate should be between 12 and 15 pounds per acre. Seeding depth is ¼ inch. If seed is broadcast or hydroseeded, it is important to “incorporate” the seed by tracking with a heavy machine to improve the seed to soil contact. Indiangrass has strong seedling vigor, but stands are slow to develop where competition from broadleaf weeds and cool-season grasses are heavy. New seedings into fine-textured soils where weeds are persistent may require no-till establishment to minimize the amount of exposed weed seeds. The cool-season grasses must be controlled with a contact herbicide before seeding. Also, indiangrass shows tolerance to most broadleaf herbicides. It is important to follow label instructions for application amounts and grazing requirements.

The most common cause of failure of warm-season grasses is a loose seedbed. Conventionally-tilled seedbeds should be packed before and especially after seeding. The seedbed should be firm enough to show only a light imprint when stepped on. When using a no-till drill, be sure the coulter furrows are closed to avoid seed exposure and drying. This can be accomplished by cultipacking after the drilling operation.

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Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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General Ecology

Fire Management Considerations

More info for the term: density

Water availability for plant uptake may be initially higher in burned
tallgrass prairie, especially early in the growing season. The
through-fall volume of precipitation is 1.3 times higher in burned than
in unburned prairie [34]. However, exposed mineral surfaces lose
moisture rapidly and are soon drier than unburned areas.

Late spring burning with headfires is an appropriate management strategy
in tallgrass prairies when the primary land use is cattle grazing [10].
The average daily gain of cattle increased on tallgrass prairie burned
in early to mid-April in Oklahoma [70] and in the Flint Hills of Kansas
[80]. The Oklahoma range was in good to excellent condition prior to
burning and post-burn precipitation was high. Further research will be
necessary to determine impacts of burning on poor to fair range or
during dry years [70].

Annual spring burning maximizes Indiangrass production and flowering
[1,17,25]. Six years without burning allowed big bluestem to increase
and replace Indiangrass [42]. Indiangrass stem density decreased
following 3 years without burning on deep soil [21]. A marked reduction
in both living shoot and flowering stalk production may occur following
only a single year with no burning [36].
  • 1. Abrams, Marc D. 1988. Effects of burning regime on buried seed banks and canopy coverage in a Kansas tallgrass prairie. Southwestern Naturalist. 33(1): 65-70. [4415]
  • 10. Bidwell, Terrence G.; Engle, David M.; Claypool, P. Larry. 1990. Effects of spring headfires and backfires on tallgrass prairie. Journal of Range Management. 43(3): 209-212. [11141]
  • 17. Daubenmire, R. 1968. Ecology of fire in grasslands. In: Cragg, J. B., ed. Advances in ecological research: Vol. 5. New York: Academic Press: 209-266. [739]
  • 21. Dokken, Dee Ann; Hulbert, Lloyd C. 1978. Effect of standing dead plants on stem density in bluestem prairie. In: Glenn-Lewin, David C.; Landers, Roger Q., Jr., eds. Proceedings, 5th Midwest prairie conference; 1976 August 22-24; Ames, IA. Ames, IA: Iowa State University: 78-81. [3348]
  • 25. Ehrenreich, John H.; Aikman, John M. 1963. An ecological study of the effect on certain management practices on native prairie in Iowa. Ecological Monographs. 33(2): 113-130. [9]
  • 34. Gillen, Robert L.; McCollum, F. Ted; Hodges, Mark E.; [and others]
  • 36. Hadley, E. B.; Kieckhefer, B. J. 1963. Productivity of two prairie grasses in relation to fire frequency. Ecology. 44(2): 389-395. [5433]
  • 42. Hulbert, Lloyd C.; Wilson, Jerry K. 1983. Fire interval effects on flowering of grasses in Kansas bluestem prairie. In: Kucera, Clair L., ed. Proceedings of the seventh North American prairie conference; 1980 August 4-6; Springfield, MO. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri: 255-257. [3226]
  • 70. Svejcar, Tony J. 1989. Animal performance and diet quality as influenced by burning on tall grass prairie. Journal of Range Management. 42(1): 11-15. [6099]
  • 80. Woolfolk, John S.; Smith, Ed F.; Schalles, Robert R; [and others]

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Broad-scale Impacts of Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: frequency, headfire

There was an increase in the number and height of flowering stalks on
Iowa prairie burned following snow-melt. The area had been completely
protected for 9 years prior to burning. Burns were conducted 1 of 3
years, 2 of 3 years and annually, with the greatest flowering occuring
on the annually burned area and the least on unburned areas [25]. A
significant increase in living shoot and flowering stalk production and
more rapid rate of phenological development occurred following spring
burns in Illinois. Burns were conducted in February, March and April of
3 different years [36]. Indiangrass frequency increased significantly
following annual April and May burns using a strip headfire [78].
  • 25. Ehrenreich, John H.; Aikman, John M. 1963. An ecological study of the effect on certain management practices on native prairie in Iowa. Ecological Monographs. 33(2): 113-130. [9]
  • 36. Hadley, E. B.; Kieckhefer, B. J. 1963. Productivity of two prairie grasses in relation to fire frequency. Ecology. 44(2): 389-395. [5433]
  • 78. White, Alan S. 1983. The effects of thirteen years of annual prescribed burning on a Quercus ellipsoidalis community in Minnesota. Ecology. 64(5): 1081-1085. [3518]

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Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: cover, density, fire intensity, fuel, rhizome, tiller

Indiangrass density and apparent vigor [17,22], number of flowering
culms [9,38,45], and percent canopy and basal cover [5,57] increase with
late spring burning conducted prior to green-up. Burning during other
seasons may increase flowering stems [38] or decrease percent
composition of Indiangrass [72]. The greatest increase in canopy cover,
density, production, and flowering occurs following annual burns
[2,25,44,45]. Seeds are generally absent in burned soils, and most
reproduction following fire is vegetative [2]. Fire intensity affects
short-term rhizome reproduction. Late summer fires (September 5th) were
conducted with both high-intensity and low-intensity fuels. Little or
no damage occurred on the low-intensity fuel area, but tiller densities
were reduced on the high-intensity fuel area. However, tiller density
returned to normal by the following August [26].

This Research Project Summary: Herbaceous responses to seasonal burning in
experimental tallgrass prairie plots

provides information on postfire response of Indiangrass in experimental
prairie plots that was not available when this species review was originally
written.
  • 2. Abrams, Marc D.; Hulbert, Lloyd C. 1987. Effect of topographic position and fire on species composition in tallgrass prairie in northeast Kansas. American Midland Naturalist. 117(2): 442-445. [291]
  • 5. Aldous, A. E. 1934. Effect of burning on Kansas bluestem pastures. Tech. Bull. 38. Manhattan, KS: Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science, Agricultural Experiment Station. 65 p. [5999]
  • 9. Annala, Anne E.; Kapustka, Lawrence A. 1982. The microbial and vegetational response to fire in the Lynx Prairie Preserve, Adams County, Ohio. Prairie Naturalist. 14(4): 101-112. [2922]
  • 17. Daubenmire, R. 1968. Ecology of fire in grasslands. In: Cragg, J. B., ed. Advances in ecological research: Vol. 5. New York: Academic Press: 209-266. [739]
  • 22. Dubis, Douglas; Strait, Rebecca A.; Jackson, Marion T.; Whitaker, John O., Jr. 1988. Floristics and effects of burning on vegetation and small mammal populations at Little Bluestem Prairie Nature Preserve. Natural Areas Journal. 8(4): 267-276. [6775]
  • 25. Ehrenreich, John H.; Aikman, John M. 1963. An ecological study of the effect on certain management practices on native prairie in Iowa. Ecological Monographs. 33(2): 113-130. [9]
  • 26. Ewing, A. L.; Engle, D. M. 1988. Effects of late summer fire on tallgrass prairie microclimate and community composition. American Midland Naturalist. 120(1): 212-223. [5322]
  • 38. Henderson, Richard A.; Lovell, David L.; Howell, Evelyn A. 1983. The flowering responses of 7 grasses to seasonal timing of prescribed burning in remnant Wisconsin prairie. In: Brewer, Richard, ed. Proceedings, 8th North American prairie conference; 1982 August 1-4; Kalamazoo, MI. Kalamazoo, MI: Western Michigan University, Department of Biology: 7-10. [3114]
  • 44. Knapp, Alan K.; Hulbert, Lloyd C. 1986. Production, density and height of flower stalks of 3 grasses in annually burned and unburned e. Kansas tallgrass prairie: a four year record. Southwestern Naturalist. 31(2): 235-241. [1361]
  • 45. Kucera, C. L.; Ehrenreich, John H. 1962. Some effects of annual burning on central Missouri prairie. Ecology. 43(2): 334-336. [1382]
  • 57. Owensby, Clenton E.; Smith, Ed F. 1979. Fertilizing and burning Flint Hills bluestem. Journal of Range Management. 32(4): 254-258. [1808]
  • 72. Towne, Gene; Owensby, Clenton. 1984. Long-term effects of annual burning at different dates in ungrazed Kansas tallgrass prairie. Journal of Range Management. 37(5): 392-397. [2357]

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Immediate Effect of Fire

Indiangrass is top-killed by fire.

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Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the term: rhizome

Rhizomatous herb, rhizome in soil

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Fire Ecology

More info for the term: cover

The maintenance of the tallgrass prairie before European settlement was
largely due to the occurrence of fire. In the absence of fire, invasion
by woody species is common [12]. Without periodic fires Indiangrass
declines in terms of reproductive effort and relative cover [32].

Indiangrass survives fire by sprouting from on-site surviving rhizomes.
  • 32. Gibson, David J.; Hulbert, Lloyd C. 1987. Effects of fire, topography and year-to-year climatic variation on species composition in tallgrass prairie. Vegetatio. 72: 175-185. [3866]
  • 12. Bragg, Thomas B.; Hulbert, Lloyd C. 1976. Woody plant invasion of unburned Kansas bluestem prairie. Journal of Range Management. 29(1): 19-24. [10383]

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: climax

Facultative Seral Species

Indiangrass dominates climax tallgrass or true prairies along with big
bluestem, little bluestem, and switchgrass [4,64]. It may occur as
isolated plants but usually grows in distinct bunches where moisture
conditions are favorable [4]. It forms 90 percent of the vegetation
where local stands occur in ravines, but only 5 to 20 percent where best
developed in drier areas. Indiangrass is moderately shade tolerant,
often occurring only in brushy thickets in the South where herbivores
are unable to graze it [75]. Indiangrass readily invades disturbed
areas with bare soil [13,76].
  • 4. Albertson, F. W. 1937. Ecology of mixed prairie in west central Kansas. Ecological Monographs. 7: 483-547. [5057]
  • 13. Brown, Lauren. 1985. The Audobon Society nature guides: Grasslands. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 606 p. [4561]
  • 64. Rosiere, R. E.; Engle. D. M.; Cadle, J. M. 1989. Revegetation of tripoli quarries in the Ozark Highlands of Oklahoma. Landscape and Urban Planning. 17: 175-188. [9820]
  • 75. Wasser, Clinton H. 1982. Ecology and culture of selected species useful in revegetating disturbed lands in the West. FWS/OBS-82/56. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Biological Services, Western Energy and Land Use Team. 347 p. Available from NTIS, Springfield, VA 22161; PB-83-167023. [2458]
  • 76. Apfelbaum, Stephen I.; Sams, Charles E. 1987. Ecology and control of reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea L.). Natural Areas Journal. 7(2): 69-74. [5725]

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the term: competition

Sexual: Indiangrass seeds germinate readily unless they are buried
deeper than 0.5 inch (1.25 cm). The vigorous seedlings endure a wider
range of drought conditions than most lowland grasses [76]. Cold
stratification is a requirement for germination [75].

Vegetative: Indiangrass produces short rhizomes, which are often very
abundant and may extend to depths of 6 feet (1.8 m). Tillering is
limited or reduced by severe competition [76].
  • 75. Wasser, Clinton H. 1982. Ecology and culture of selected species useful in revegetating disturbed lands in the West. FWS/OBS-82/56. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Biological Services, Western Energy and Land Use Team. 347 p. Available from NTIS, Springfield, VA 22161; PB-83-167023. [2458]
  • 76. Apfelbaum, Stephen I.; Sams, Charles E. 1987. Ecology and control of reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea L.). Natural Areas Journal. 7(2): 69-74. [5725]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: geophyte

Geophyte

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Life Form

More info for the term: graminoid

Graminoid

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

Indiangrass starts growth in midspring from short rhizomes. In Oklahoma
growth began on April 6th [60]. It matures from September to November
[69]. Across its range, flowering occurs latest in the southeast and
earliest in the northwest. Flowering patterns may be somewhat genetic.
Flowering dates of plants transplanted in Nebraska from several regions
were similar to those of the plants where they originated [51].
Flowering dates for different regions have been reported as follows:

Area Flowering Date Authority

Texas September to November Gould 1937
Oklahoma September 1 to 19 Rice 1950, Bogle 1989
Kansas mid-September Albertson
Missouri August Rabinowitz & others 1989
eastern Nebraska August Steiger 1930
North Dakota mid-July to mid-August Manske 1980
  • 51. McMillan, C. 1959. The role of ecotypic variation in the distribution of the central grassland of North America. Ecological Monographs. 29: 285-308. [5523]
  • 60. Rice, E. 1950. Growth and floral development of five species of range grasses in central Oklahoma. Botanical Gazette. 3: 361-377. [5580]
  • 69. Stubbendieck, J.; Nichols, James T.; Roberts, Kelly K. 1985. Nebraska range and pasture grasses (including grass-like plants). E.C. 85-170. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska, Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service. 75 p. [2269]

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Sorghastrum nutans

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Sorghastrum nutans

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 8
Species With Barcodes: 1
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

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Status

Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status (e.g. threatened or endangered species, state noxious status, and wetland indicator values).

Public Domain

USDA NRCS Plant Materials Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Threats

Pests and potential problems

There are no known serious pests of indiangrass.

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USDA NRCS Plant Materials Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Management

Management considerations

More info for the term: cool-season

Indiangrass is intolerant of repeated close grazing and is a decreaser
on all range sites [40,69]. It may decrease during drought, but
recovers immediately when precipitaion returns to normal [33]. It may
be incorporated with cool-season grasses in farm management plans, since
maximim production occurs while cool-season grasses are dormant [30].

Cutting Indiangrass at the hay stage caused a decrease in plant density
in Wisconsin. Cutting at monthly intervals during the summer caused
little or no decrease in plant densities [62].

Several cultivars of Indiangrass are available, each meeting
requirements for specific sites and uses [14,28,37,43,56,71]. Woehler
[79] discusses the use of herbicides to control annual weed competition
in new plantings.
  • 62. Robocker, W. C.; Miller, Bonita J. 1955. Effects of clipping, burning and competition on establishment and survival of some native grasses in Wisconsin. Journal of Range Management. 8: 117-120. [3886]
  • 14. Brown, Richard R. 1984. Two new forage plants for the Midwest region east of the Great Plains. Abstracts--the 37th annual meeting of the Society for Range Management; 1984 February 12-17; Rapid City, SD. Denver, CO: Society for Range Management; 1984: 196. Abstract. [548]
  • 28. Toth, Barbara L. 1991. Factors affecting conifer regeneration and community structure after a wildfire in western Montana. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University. 124 p. Thesis. [14425]
  • 30. Gates, G. A. 1982. Warm-season grasses for livestock and wildlife. Missouri Conservation. 43(1): 8-13. [5813]
  • 33. Gillen, Robert L.; McCollum, F. Ted; Hodges, Mark E.; [and others]
  • 37. Hassell, Wendall G. 1982. New plant materials for reclamation. In: Aldon, Earl F.; Oaks, Wendall R., eds. Reclamation of mined lands in the Southwest: a symposium: Proceedings; 1982 October 20-22; Albuquerque, NM. Albuquerque, NM: Soil Conservation Society of America, New Mexico Chapter: 108-112. [1104]
  • 40. Herbel, Carlton H.; Anderson, Kling L. 1959. Response of true prairie vegetation on major Flint Hills range sites to grazing treatment. Ecological Monographs. 29(2): 171-186. [19]
  • 43. Jacobson, Erling T.; Tober, Dwight A.; Haas, Russell J.; Darris, Dale C. 1986. The performance of selected cultivars of warm season grasses in the northern prairie and plains states. In: Clambey, Gary K.; Pemble, Richard H., eds. The prairie: past, present and future: Proceedings, 9th North American prairie conference; 1984 July 29 - August 1; Moorhead, MN. Fargo, ND: Tri-College University Center for Environmental Studies: 215-221. [3577]
  • 56. Olson, Wendell W. 1986. Phenology of selected varieties of warm season native grasses. In: Clambey, Gary K.; Pemble, Richard H., eds. The prairie: past, present and future: Proceedings of the ninth North American prairie conference; 1984 July 29 - August 1; Moorhead, MN. Fargo, ND: Tri-College University Center for Environmental Studies: 222-226. [3578]
  • 69. Stubbendieck, J.; Nichols, James T.; Roberts, Kelly K. 1985. Nebraska range and pasture grasses (including grass-like plants). E.C. 85-170. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska, Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service. 75 p. [2269]
  • 71. Couey, Faye M. 1946. Antelope foods in southeastern Montana. Journal of Wildlife Management. 10: 367. [4236]
  • 79. Woehler, Eugene E. 1981. A review of herbicide use in establishing native prairie grasses. In: Stuckey, Ronald L.; Reese, Karen J., eds. The Prairie Peninsula--in the "shadow" of Transeau: Proceedings, 6th North American prairie conference; 1978 August 12-17; Columbus, OH. Ohio Biological Survey Biological Notes. No. 15. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University, College of Biological Sciences: 263. Abstract. [3439]

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Cultivars, improved and selected materials (and area of origin)

‘Holt’ (NE), ‘Llano’ (NM), ‘Lometa’ (TX), ‘Osage’ (KS and OK), ‘Oto’ (NE and KS), ‘Rumsey’ (IL), ‘Tomahawk’ (ND and SD); Cheyenne (informal release, OK); source identified releases from northern, central, and southern Iowa, and northern and western Missouri.

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USDA NRCS Plant Materials Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Control

Please contact your local agricultural extension specialist or county weed specialist to learn what works best in your area and how to use it safely. Always read label and safety instructions for each control method. Trade names and control measures appear in this document only to provide specific information. USDA, NRCS does not guarantee or warranty the products and control methods named, and other products may be equally effective.

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USDA NRCS Plant Materials Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Fertilization to moderate levels of phosphorus and potassium are recommended for establishment. Nitrogen applications are not recommended until the grass is established and well above the competing weeds. Fertilizer may be applied late in the first summer of establishment at a rate of 20 to 40 pounds per acre of phosphorus and potassium or in the early summer of the second year at 40 to 80 pounds per acre rate. In future years fertilize as needed to enhance vigor and production of forage. For critical area seedings, no additional fertilization is necessary.

If well-established stands of indiangrass are properly managed and maintained, they should not require replanting. Poor stands can be rejuvenated by using proper management practices, such as controlled grazing, the application of recommended rates of herbicides and fertilizer, and prescribed burning, where permitted, before the beginning of spring growth. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium fertilizer should be applied according to soil tests.

In rotational grazing systems, remove no more than ½ the above ground growth (no shorter than 8 to 12 inches). With care, the stand will last indefinitely. Forage quality will remain high until the seed head emerges. Grazing should begin from mid to late June when grasses reach 12 to 16 inches in height. Overgrazing can damage the stand and should be stopped when the plants are grazed to within 6 inches of the ground. If regrowth of more than 12 inches takes place, the plants can be regrazed to 6 to 12 inches. Leaving this much stubble before frost allows the plants to store carbohydrates and ensures the production of vigorous plant growth in the spring.

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USDA NRCS Plant Materials Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Weediness

This plant may become weedy or invasive in some regions or habitats and may displace desirable vegetation if not properly managed. Please consult with your local NRCS Field Office, Cooperative Extension Service office, or state natural resource or agriculture department regarding its status and use. Weed information is also available from the PLANTS Web site at plants.usda.gov.

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USDA NRCS Plant Materials Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

More info for the terms: cover, reclamation

Indiangrass has been used for several revegetation projects. It is
recommened for range seeding on overgrazed range sites throughout
Nebraska [69]. Roadside revegetation projects in Iowa included
Indiangrass [24]. Establishing Indiangrass on cultivated soils in the
glaciated prairie pothole region in the north-central United States
creates wildlife habitat [23]. Revegetating mined areas (surface coal
mines) was unsuccessful in east central Texas [66] and Kentucky [47].
Though Indiangrass established, the cover was insufficient for soil
stabalization.

Prairie grasses (primarily big bluestem and Indiangrass) have had mixed
results for strip-mine reclamation in Illinois. The establishment of
satisfactory stands required 10 to 15 years of growth and high seeding
rates [8]. On 30-year-old strip-mine spoils, Indiangrass produced well
with both spring and fall plantings [63]. Another study had fair
success, but suggested early-spring planting be used in areas where
summer moisture stress may be a problem [65].

Direct seeding with a grass drill is the most effective planting method
[24]. Awns and hairlike appendages found on the seeds limit their
ability to flow through the drill. Cleaning with a debearder and
fanning mill significantly increases seed quality and flowability [39].
Planting depth, rate and time, and seed cleaning and quality are
described generally by Wasser [75] and specifically for New Mexico by
Allison [6]. The seeding rate is 10 pure live seed (PLS) pounds per
acre (11-12 kg/ ha) [23]. Transplanting seedlings works successfully
in areas where using a drill is not feasible [54,74]. Broadcast seeding
and hydroseeding have been tried with mixed results [16,24].
  • 6. Allison, Chris. 1988. Seeding New Mexico rangeland. Circular 525. Las Cruces, NM: New Mexico State University, College of Agriculture and Home Economics, Cooperative Extension Service. 15 p. [11830]
  • 8. Anderson, Roger C.; Birkenholz, Dale E. 1983. Growth and establishment of prairie grasses and domestic forage on strip-mine soils. In: Kucera, Clair L., ed. Proceedings, 7th North American prairie conference; 1980 August 4-6; Springfield, MO. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri: 183-188. [3219]
  • 16. Conover, Denis G.; Geiger, Donald R. 1989. Establishment of a prairie on a borrow-pit at the Bergamo-Mt. St. John Nature Preserve in Greene County, Ohio. Ohio Journal of Science. 89(3): 42-44. [9744]
  • 23. Duebbert, Harold F.; Jacobson, Erling T.; Higgins, Kenneth F.; Podoll, Erling B. 1981. Establishment of seeded grasslands for wildlife habitat in the praire pothole region. Special Scientific Report-Wildlife No. 234. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. 21 p. [5740]
  • 24. Ehley, Alan M. 1990. Program encourages use of prairie species on roadsides. Restoration & Management Notes. 8(2): 101-102. [14156]
  • 39. Henry, Jimmy. 1984. Seed cleaning technique means wider use for warm season grasses. Soil and Water Conservation News. 5(1): 10-11. [4176]
  • 47. Kuenstler, William F.; Henry, Donald S.; Sanders, Samuel A. 1981. Warm-season grass establishment on mine spoil in Kentucky. In: Stuckey, Ronald L.; Reese, Karen J., eds. The Prairie Peninsula--in the "shadow" of Transeau: Proceedings, 6th North American prairie conference; 1978 August 12-17; Columbus, OH. Ohio Biological Survey Biological Notes No. 15. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University, College of Biological Sciences: 202-205. [3407]
  • 54. Nuzzo, Victoria. 1978. Propagation and planting of prairie forbs and grasses in southern Wisconsin. In: Glenn-Lewin, David C.; Landers, Roger Q., Jr., eds. Proceedings, 5th Midwest prairie conference; 1976 August 22-24; Ames, IA. Ames, IA: Iowa State University: 182-189. [3379]
  • 63. Rodgers, Cassandra S.; Anderson, Roger C. 1989. Establishment of grasses on sewage sludge-amended strip mine spoils. In: Bragg, Thomas B.; Stubbendieck, James, eds. Prairie pioneers: ecology, history and culture: Proceedings, 11th North American prairie conference; 1988 August 7-11; Lincoln, NE. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska: 103-107. [14027]
  • 65. Schramm, Peter; Kalvin, Richard L. 1978. The use of prairie in strip mine reclamation. In: Glenn-Lewin, David C.; Landers, Roger Q., Jr., eds. Proceedings, 5th Midwest prairie conference; 1976 August 22-24; Ames, IA. Ames, IA: Iowa State University: 151-153. [3369]
  • 66. Skousen, J. G.; Call, C. A. 1987. Grass and forb species for revegetation of mixed soil-lignite overburden in east central Texas. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 42(6): 438-442. [10012]
  • 69. Stubbendieck, J.; Nichols, James T.; Roberts, Kelly K. 1985. Nebraska range and pasture grasses (including grass-like plants). E.C. 85-170. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska, Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service. 75 p. [2269]
  • 74. Vocelka, Sandra. 1970. A comparison of two transplanting techniques in prairie restoration. In: Schramm, Peter, ed. Proceedings of a symposium on prairie and prairie restoration; 1968 September 14-15; Galesburg, IL. Special Publication No. 3. Galesburg, IL: Knox College, Biological Field Station: 49-50. [2784]
  • 75. Wasser, Clinton H. 1982. Ecology and culture of selected species useful in revegetating disturbed lands in the West. FWS/OBS-82/56. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Biological Services, Western Energy and Land Use Team. 347 p. Available from NTIS, Springfield, VA 22161; PB-83-167023. [2458]

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Cover Value

More info for the term: cover

Indiangrass provides excellent nesting and security cover for pheasants,
northern bobwhite, mourning doves, prairie chickens, and several
songbirds [31,55,61].
  • 31. George, Ronnie R. 1978. Native prairie grass pastures as nesting habitat for bobwhite quail and ring-necked pheasant. In: Glenn-Lewin, David C.; Landers, Roger Q., Jr., eds. Proceedings, 5th Midwest prairie conference; 1976 August 22-24; Ames, IA. Ames, IA: Iowa State University: 104-106. [3357]
  • 55. Ohlenbuseh, Paul D.; Hodges, Elizabeth P.; Pope, Susan. 1983. Range grasses of Kansas. Manhattan, KS: Kansas State University, Cooperative Extension Service. 23 p. [5316]
  • 61. Robel, Robert J.; Briggs, James N.; Cebula, Jerome J.; [and others]

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

Livestock and wildlife eat Indiangrass throughout the summer, but it
does not cure well and is generally considered only fair forage for fall
and winter grazing [69]. Numerous songbirds and small mammals eat the
seeds [55].
  • 55. Ohlenbuseh, Paul D.; Hodges, Elizabeth P.; Pope, Susan. 1983. Range grasses of Kansas. Manhattan, KS: Kansas State University, Cooperative Extension Service. 23 p. [5316]
  • 69. Stubbendieck, J.; Nichols, James T.; Roberts, Kelly K. 1985. Nebraska range and pasture grasses (including grass-like plants). E.C. 85-170. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska, Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service. 75 p. [2269]

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Nutritional Value

Indiangrass provides a good source of protein and vitamin A throughout
the summer when leaves are green. Digestibility and crude protein
decrease as plants mature [11,31,70]. Spring burning (April 1-15)
increased digestibilty of crude fiber, dry matter, and ether extract
[67].
  • 11. Bogle, Laurie A.; Engle, David M.; McCollum, F. Ted. 1989. Nutritive value of range plants in the Cross Timbers. Report P-908. Stillwater, OK: Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station. 29 p. [9293]
  • 31. George, Ronnie R. 1978. Native prairie grass pastures as nesting habitat for bobwhite quail and ring-necked pheasant. In: Glenn-Lewin, David C.; Landers, Roger Q., Jr., eds. Proceedings, 5th Midwest prairie conference; 1976 August 22-24; Ames, IA. Ames, IA: Iowa State University: 104-106. [3357]
  • 67. Smith, E. F.; Young, V. A.; Anderson, K. L.; [and others]
  • 70. Svejcar, Tony J. 1989. Animal performance and diet quality as influenced by burning on tall grass prairie. Journal of Range Management. 42(1): 11-15. [6099]

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Palatability

Indiangrass is highly palatable to livestock and wildlife in the summer
but only fairly palatable after maturity [53].
  • 53. Newell, L. C.; Moline, W. J. 1978. Forage quality evaluations of twelve grasses in relation to season for grazing. Res. Bull. 283. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska, Agricultural Experiment Station. 43 p. [5741]

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Uses

Erosion control: Indiangrass can be used on critical-area seeding, for roadside cover, and on areas subject to wind erosion.

Livestock: Indiangrass can be used singly or in mixtures for livestock forage on rangeland, pastureland, and hayland.

Wildlife: Indiangrass is excellent for wildlife habitat and food for deer.

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Wikipedia

Sorghastrum nutans

"Indiangrass" redirects here. It may also refer to members of the genus Sorghastrum..

Sorghastrum nutans, commonly known as Yellow Indiangrass,[2] is a North American prairie grass found in the central and eastern United States and Canada, especially in the Great Plains and tallgrass prairies.

Description[edit]

Sorghastrum nutans
Yellow Indiangrass

Sorghastrum nutans is a perennial bunchgrass, prominent in the tallgrass prairie ecoregion, along with big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum).

It is the official state grass of both Oklahoma and South Carolina.

Ecology[edit]

Yellow Indiangrass is native to prairie habitats. Its blooming period is in late spring. It is intolerant to shade.

It regrows with renewed vitality after fires, so controlled burns are used, replacing extirpated large herbivores (i.e.: bison), for habitat renewal.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Taxon: Sorghastrum nutans (L.) Nash". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2003-05-23. Retrieved 2011-03-03. 
  2. ^ "Sorghastrum nutans". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 2011-03-03. 
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Common Names

Indiangrass
Indian grass
indiangrass
indian grass

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The currently accepted scientific name for Indiangrass is Sorghastrum
nutans (L.) Nash [50]. There are no recognized subspecies, varieties,
or forms.
  • 50. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]

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Synonyms

Sorghastrum avenaceum (Michx.) Nash

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