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This is the forgotten grass of the tallgrass prairie. While Tall Dropseed is not one of the dominant grasses of this ecosystem, it is about as common as the better-known Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis). Even though they belong to the same genus, Tall Dropseed doesn't closely resemble the latter species, which has a long-stalked spreading inflorescence. In contrast, Tall Dropseed has a narrow terminal inflorescence that is only partially exserted from the uppermost sheath during the period of bloom. Other species in this genus with partially exserted inflorescences are either small annual species (e.g., Sporobolus vaginiflorus and Sporobolus neglectus), or the lemmas of their spikelets are finely hairy (e.g., Sporobolus clandestinus). Tall Dropseed should be used in prairie restorations more often than it is. Another scientific name of this grass is Sporobolus asper.


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

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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