- Latin Name-Sorghastrum Nutans Hardy Zone- 2-9 Mature Height-5ft Sun Or Shade- Full Sun
Indian Grass- Sorghastrum Nutans L. Nash
Indian Grass is a tall bunching, perennial grass, that grows the hardiest in zones 4-9, (from the northeast coast-west to Texas, and north to North Dakota). It thrives best in deep, well-drained floodplains that have alkaline and acid-rich soils, (with a PH of 5.0-7.8). Yet it is tolerant of soils from poorly to excessively well drained,( sandy to clay-rich soil). Indian Grass requires full sun, (at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day). It grows to an upwards height of 6.5’ tall, and has a minimum root depth of 24”. The grass is easily distinguishable from other grasses by its “rifle-sight” ligule at the point the leaf attaches to the stem. The leaf blades are narrow and come to the point of attachment. Seed heads grow in a single and narrow plume of golden brown color. The seeds are light and fluffy with small attached crowns. Soil temperatures need to be at least 50*F for seed germination. There are approximately 175,000 seeds to each pound. Indian Grass blooms from August through October in the Northern U.S. and from September through October in the Southern U.S. There are multiple uses for Indian Grass. It is grown for erosion control, for livestock to survive in, and for animals to forage.
This species is a North American parade grass that grows mostly in Eastern and Central United States as well as Canada, more so in the tallgrass parries and the Great Plains. The soils in the areas that favor it are calcareous, sandy loamy soils, clay loam, medium loam and any limestone-based soil. The grass grows in the warm season in recurring tufts. The plant can be differentiated from other grasses as the leaf appears as a rifle-sight ligule at the point it joins the leaf sheath and has a large, spiral-like, spineless and golden brown head. Being a pure leaf, its leaf arrangement is alternate and venation parallel. With a fibrous root, it does well in both moist and dry soils but is mostly favored by the shades although it is highly drought resistant. Just around the end of summer (August to September) is when this plant mushrooms in branched panicles of spikelet each having a perfect floret, yellow stamens, and two stigmas. The flowers are pollinated by wind, and upon maturity, seeds fall to the ground. The species is adapted to grow in the United States and more so to the fires and flood conditions that seem to rejuvenate its growth. From that, burns are used for the renewal of the habitat. Sorghastrum nutans is the official grass of the states of South Carolina and Oklahoma. As per the USDA Natural Conservation Service, the grass can be used to control soil erosion, to feed livestock, as a pollinator, for a restoration of vegetation and as wildlife. For the cultures living in North America, the grass can also be used for ornamental reasons.