Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Broomsedge - Andropogon virginicus   L.
Members of Poaceae:
Members of Andropogon with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Order Cyperales » Family Poaceae
DistributionThroughout the state; uncommon on the Outer Banks.

MA to MI and KS, south to FL and TX; West Indies; Central America.
AbundanceCommon to abundant; one of the more numerous native grasses in the state.
HabitatAbandoned fields, formerly farmed soils, mechanically disturbed soils within forests, powerlines, roadsides, fire-suppressed pinelands.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting September-October. Plants from the previous growing season turn straw-color over the winter and remain well into the following spring and early summer.
IdentificationThis is our commonest bluestem and most often seen, due to its preference for disturbed soils; it is the dominant vegetation in much of the state, especially in the Piedmont, several years after field abandonment. Stems generally grow 2-4 feet tall. The inside surface of each stem sheath and inflorescence sheath is a bright cinnamon color.
Taxonomic CommentsIn older texts, a number of taxa were lumped within a very broadly defined A. virginicus; many have been split off as species in this website, generally following the lead of Weakley (2018). Two others are treated as varieties of virginicus: var. decipiens (which see) and "var. 1" (which awaits a formal name).

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)Broomsedge Bluestem, Yellowstem Bluestem
State RankS5
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpFAC link
USACE-empFACU link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
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B.A. SorrieSame place, January 2022. ScotlandPhoto_natural
B.A. SorrieSandhills Game Land, disturbed roadside, plans beginning to flower, Sept 2021, ScotlandPhoto_natural
Eric UngbergCarolina Beach SP, Nov 2021, natural depression pond. New HanoverPhoto_natural
B.A. SorriePender County, 1995, Holly Shelter Game Land. PenderPhoto_natural
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