Common Name: Big Bluestem, Turkeyfoot
Scientific Name: Andropogon gerardii
You are welcome to visit the
Native Plant of the Week
at 4020 Dunston Avenue.
The featured plant will be in the front yard
and will be marked.
General Description: Clump-forming perennial that reaches 6-10 feet in height. Grass blades have a bluish tint and seeds/flowers form on short “spikelets”. There are often three spikelets at the tip of the stalk which resemble a turkey’s foot; a feature which earned big bluestem one of its other common names.
Habitat: Big bluestem is the dominant grass of the Midwestern tallgrass prairies and grows best in moist soil with full sun. However, it ranges over much of the eastern U.S. and tolerates drought and partial shade quite well. This makes big bluestem a flexible player in a native Virginia landscape.
Additional information: Big bluestem provides excellent cover for wildlife and the nutritious seeds are eaten by many birds. It is also a larval host for several species of butterflies. The foliage of big bluestem turns an attractive russet color in the Fall and the seed stalks are a great addition to flower arrangements.