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Plant Profile  
FYUSE 3d Image

Common Name: Indiangrass

Species Name: Sorghastrum nutans

Plant Type: Grasses & Grass-like

Family Name: Poaceae, Grass Family

Tribe: Andropogoneae, Bluestem Tribe





Plant Facts  
Origin Native
Duration Perennial
Season Warm
Distribution in the U.S. Eastern two-thirds of the continent and southward into central Mexico
Distribution in Oklahoma Throughout the state



ID Characteristics

  • Field Identification Characteristics


    • Blue-green foliage
    • “Rabbit ears” or “gun sight” upright auricles at base of blade
    • Hairy nodes


    • Large, hairy seed head; coppery or chestnut colored
    • Spikelets with awns
  • Leaf and Stem Characteristics
    • Plant Height: 90-200 centimeters
    • Ligule Type: Ciliate membrane
    • Sheath: Glabrous
    • Leaves: Basal and cauline
  • Floral Characteristics
    • Inflorescence Type: Panicle
    • Florets Per Spikelet: 1
    • Glumes: Equal



Soil Type Moist sand, loam and clay
Habitat Tallgrass prairie, clearings, glades and open woods
Successional Stage Mid to late



Wildlife Used by livestock throughout the summer. Does not cure well, considered only fair forage for fall and winter grazing. Highly palatable in the summer but only fairly palatable after maturity. Provides a good source of protein and vitamin A throughout the summer when leaves are green. Digestibility and crude protein decrease as plants mature. Spring burning (April 1-15) increased digestibility. Intolerant of repeated close grazing; decreaser on all range sites. May decrease during drought, but recovers rapidly when precipitation returns to normal. Cutting Indiangrass at the hay stage has showed a decrease in plant density, but cutting at monthly intervals during the summer caused little or no decrease.
Grazing Highly palatable; good source of protein and Vitamin A for wildlife in the summer when plants are actively growing. Fair forage in fall and winter once the plant matures. Excellent protective and nesting cover for pheasants, northern bobwhite, mourning doves, prairie chickens, and several songbirds.


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