Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Hairy Bluestem - Andropogon hirsutior   (Hackel) Weakley & LeBlond
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Section 5 » Family Poaceae
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Author(Hackel) Weakley & LeBlond
DistributionSandhills and Coastal Plain, barely into the edge of the Piedmont.

Coastal Plain, eastern MD to central FL and southeastern LA.
AbundancePerhaps frequent in the Sandhills and southern Coastal Plain, and uncommon (likely) in the northern and central Coastal Plain. The NCNHP's State Rank of S5 is too liberal/generous; S3S4 is more accurate.
HabitatMoist to wet pine savannas and flatwoods, blackwater streamhead ecotones, pitcher-plant seepages, moist clearings in Longleaf Pine stands, margins of peaty pocosins, margins of beaver ponds.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting September-October.
IdentificationHairy Bluestem is tall and robust, mostly 4-5.5 feet. It is much like Chalky Bluestem (A. cretaceus), and has a similarly elongate inflorescence, but Hairy Bluestem lacks any glaucous (pale green or blue-green) tint to the stems and leaves. The leaf blades are usually pubescent, but not always, whereas the leaves of Chalky Bluestem are smooth.
Taxonomic CommentsIn older texts it was lumped within A. glomeratus, and before that it and many others were included within A. virginicus (broad sense). This is a fairly recent split from A. glomeratus.

While the genus Andropogon is quite easy to recognize in the field, ID of species is not so easy and there are no shortcuts. Readers are strongly advised to read the introductory paragraphs in Weakley (2018) and to use his key. Once one has successfully keyed out several species, or compared collections with verified specimens, one can learn to recognize them in the field.
Other Common Name(s)Savanna Bushy Bluestem
State RankS5 [S3S4]
Global RankG5T5 [G5]
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpFACW link
USACE-empFACW link
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B.A. SorrieFayetteville, boggy margin of Bonnie Doone Lake, Oct 2012. CumberlandPhoto_natural

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