Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Indian Grass

Sorghastrum nutans ( Yellow Indian Grass )
Also called Chrysopogon nutans and is native to central North America ( from eastern Montana to southern Manitoba to Michigan's Upper Peninsula to Tobermory, Ontario to southeast Quebec & Maine; south to Arizona to northern Florida ). This native tall grass prairie-grass once covered hundreds of square miles of the Missouri River bottomlands. It is also found on sand dunes in the Great Lakes. It has always been rare in the Windsor/Essex County, Ontario region but occurred pre 1900 locally on open sand at Point Pelee as well as across Lake Erie on the Ohio shore. A moderate growing, stiff, open and upright perennial grass, with mid-green to blue-green foliage clumps reaching up to 5 x 3.5 feet. This grass looks great planted in masses.
The individual leaf blades are up to 20 x 0.5 inches. The foliage turns orange, red or purple after the first fall frost, remaining orangish during the winter.
The showy golden plumes, up to 7 rarely 12 feet, borne late summer. The individual plumes are up to 12 inches in length.
The seed heads are attractive during fall and winter.
Hardy zones 3 to 8 ( possibly 2 for northern North Dakota seed source ) in full sun on just about any fertile, well drained soil. Tolerant of drought and heavy clay soil. Cut back hard during late winter. Propagation is from division done during early spring or seed being sown at 0.25 inches deep. Deer resistant and not prone to pests or disease.

* photos taken on Sep 14 2013 in Columbia, MD

* photo of unknown internet source

* Robert H. Mohlenbrock @ USDA SCS. 1991. Southern wetland flora

* photo taken by Jennifer Anderson @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

* photo taken @ U.S. Botanical Garden, Wash., DC on Aug 25 2014

* photos taken on Sep 20 2015 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Aug 13 2016 in Reisterstown, MD

* photo taken on Sep 18 2016 @ Patuxent Research Refuge, Laurel, MD

* photo taken on Sep 25 2016 near Reisterstown, MD


'Indian Steel'
Vase-shaped, reaching up to 6 x 3 feet, with silvery-blue foliage, which turns to coppery-orange during autumn.
The flower plumes are golden-yellow.
Hardy zones 4 to 8.

'Llano' ( Llano Indian Grass )
Vigorous and large, reaching up to 6 feet in height.
The blue foliage is complimented with showy, bronze seedheads during autumn.

'Rumsey'
Upright in habit, reaching up to 8 feet. It originated from seed collected from a native stand in Iowa and was released by the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for use over much of the central Midwest. It is great planted as a hay or forage crop.
The blue-green foliage turns to golden-yellow during autumn.
Hardy zones 5 to 7.

* Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS.

'Sioux Blues'
Stiff upright habit, reaching up to 7 x 3.5 feet with bright blue foliage and attractive flower heads.
Hardy zones 3 to 9.

* photo taken on Aug 20 2011 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

* photos taken on Aug 13 2016 in Reisterstown, MD


'Tomahawk'
Upright in habit, reaching up to 8 ( rarely over 6 ) feet. This exceptionally hardy cultivar was developed by It was by the USDA-NRCS Plant Materials Center in Bismarck, North Dakota
Hardy zones 3 to 9.

* Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS.

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