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Splitbeard bluestem
Andropogon ternarius
Poaceae


General Landscape Uses:

Primarily recommended for natural landscapes and habitat restorations. Also provides a good base for wildflower gardens.

Ecological Restoration Notes:

A relatively common understory grass in pinelands nearly throughout South Florida.
Availability:
Grown by enthusiasts.
Description:
Medium to large herbaceous grass.
Dimensions:
Typically 2-4 feet in height; to 6 feet when in flower. A clumping grass about as broad as tall except when flowering.
Growth Rate:
Moderate.
Range:
Eastern and central United States south to the Monroe County Keys. In the Monroe County Keys, disjunct from Miami-Dade County to the pine rocklands of Big Pine Key where last collected in 1965.
Habitats:
Pinelands, scrub and prairies.
Soils:
Moist to dry, well-drained sandy or limestone soils, without humus.
Nutritional Requirements:
Low; it grows in nutrient poor soils.
Salt Water Tolerance:
Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.
Salt Wind Tolerance:
Moderate; grows near salt water, but is protected from direct salt spray by other vegetation.
Drought Tolerance:
High; does not require any supplemental water once established.
Light Requirements:
Full sun.
Flower Color:
Brown inflorescence.
Flower Characteristics:
Semi-showy inflorescence.
Flowering Season:
Summer-fall.
Fruit:
Inconspicuous caryopsis.
Wildlife and Ecology:
Possible larval host plant for Delaware skipper (Anatrytone logan), Georgia satyr (Neonympha areolata), neamathla skipper (Nastra neamathla), swarthy skipper (Nastra lherminier) and twin-spot skipper (Oligoria maculata) butterflies.
Horticultural Notes:
Can be grown from seed and division.
Comments:
Attractive bluish-red leaves. Usually best cut back after flowering. Does not spread as aggresively as other Andropogon species.


 


Keith A. Bradley
Keith A. Bradley
Shirley Denton
George D. Gann