Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Yellow Indiangrass - Sorghastrum nutans   (L.) Nash
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Section 5 » Order Cyperales » Family Poaceae
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Author(L.) Nash
DistributionThroughout the state, except scarce in the northeastern corner and absent from the Outer Banks.

Que. to Man., south to FL, TX, AZ, and Mex.
AbundanceCommon over the Piedmont, Sandhills, and most of the Coastal Plain, except for northeastern corner of the state, where essentially absent. Fairly common in the Mountains, to common locally. Tends to form patches.
HabitatDry to mesic, even xeric, mixed woodlands, forest openings, prairie-like glades, Longleaf Pine-Wiregrass savannas and bean dips, open roadsides, powerlines, railroads. This is one of the major components of Midwestern tallgrass prairies and a conspicuous tall grass of dry wooded borders and powerline clearings in most of the state.
See also Habitat Account for General Successional and Semi-Natural Grasslands
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting late August-November.
IdentificationPlants in NC usually grow 4-8 feet tall, with a terminal, broadly elliptical, erect inflorescence that is very showy when the bright yellow anthers are ripe. The stems and leaves usually are glaucescent.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Often just called Indian-grass, but as S. elliottii is present in most of the state and is also an Indiangrass, S. nutans must have a modifier name, and most references name it as Yellow Indiangrass.
State RankS5
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpFACU link
USACE-empFACU link
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B.A. SorrieSame data. RichmondPhoto_natural
B.A. SorrieSandhills Game Land, Sept 1996.

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