Scientific Name: Sorghastrum nutans

Common Name: Indiangrass

Habit: Indiangrass is a warm-season rhizomatous grass that will reach 3 to 7 ft in height.

Leaves: Leaves are flat and narrow at the base, growing 10-24 inches long. The leaves are dull-green to yellow-green and both upper and lower surfaces are usually smooth. The ligule (2-6 mm) is quite prominent and notched at the tip making it resemble the rear sight on a rifle. Leaf sheaths are without hair except young plants may have fine white hairs.

Identifying Characteristics: The easiest way to identify Indiangrass is its prominent ligule that resembles a rifle sight.

Flower Seed Head: It blooms from late summer to early fall, producing branched clusters of spikelets. It produces bright, yellow flowers. The seed head is golden-to-yellow, tight panicle 6-12 inches, usually formed in August.

Seed Fruit: Seeds are light orange in color, hairy and have 1/2 inch awns.

Where Found: Habitats include prairies, cemeteries, landscapes, roadsides, and railroads. It grows best in full to partial sun and well drained soil. It is also very drought tolerant and can grow in a wide range of soil types. It is native to the U.S. and is well adapted to the Northeast and west to Texas. Indiangrass is recommended for use as an accent plant landscapes. It also is used for prairie restoration, erosion control projects, and forage.

  • Life cycle: perennial

  • Plant type: Grass

  • Auricle: present

  • Plant family: Poaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: rolled in bud

  • Hair surface: no hairs

  • Ligule: membrane

  • Length: more than 3 mm

  • Seed head: branched spike

  • Width: more than 15 mm

  • Grass stem: round