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Sporobolus heterolepis

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Plant types and subtypes: Grasses, Prairie Grasses, Ornamental Grasses

Light Requirements: sun

Water Use: low

Soil Moisture: dry, moist

Soil Description: average, clay, sand, gravel/rock

Height: 2'-3'

Bloom Time: June, July, August, September, October

Bloom Color: pink, brown

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 3, 4, 5, 6

Additional Tags: attracts birds, clumping, drought tolerant, edible, fall interest, fragrant flowers, mounding, naturalizing, ornamental foliage, rock garden plant, winter interest

Sporobolus heterolepis (prairie dropseed)
  • Sporobolus heterolepis (prairie dropseed)
  • Sporobolus heterolepis (prairie dropseed)
  • Sporobolus heterolepis (prairie dropseed)

Pricing & Availability

Description

Sporobolus heterolepis

Also known as:

prairie dropseed

,

northern dropseed

Scientific Synonyms:

Description

Sporobolus heterolepis is one of the most spectacular of all prairie grasses. It is fine textured and grows into fountain-like well rounded mounds. The foliage turns attractive golden hues in fall, and the rigid blades maintain their form throughout winter, seemingly unaffected by the weight of snow. Perhaps its most unusual characteristic, amongst grasses, is its fragrant flowers with an aroma reminiscent of coriander.

Cultivation

Prairie dropseed is easy to grow, low maintenance, and very rewarding. Adapted to a wide range of well drained soils, including thin and rocky, it will also tolerate heavy clay. Best grown in soil with average moisture, mature clumps are quite drought resistant. It should be planted in full sun. Slow to establish, it is not an aggressive species. It can be used as a noninvasive ground cover, foundation plant, rock garden specimen, or planted en masse to form a border. Cut back previous year's foliage in late winter or early spring, before the plant breaks from dormancy. Zones 3-6

Propagation

Germination rates are medium to low. Best propagated by division.

Additional Notes

The seeds are palatable and nutritious. They are a good food source for many species of birds. Native American plains tribes would grind the seeds to make flower.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AR, CO, CT, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, NM, NY, OH, OK, PA, SD, VA, WI, WY

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Endangered: CT, KY, MD, NC, PA
  • Threatened: NY, OH

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Liliopsida Monocotyledons
Subclass Commelinidae
Order Cyperales
Family Poaceae Grass family
Genus Sporobolus dropseed
Species Sporobolus heterolepis prairie dropseed