Page author: Don Knoke
Schizachyrium scoparium
broom bluestem, little bluestem

Distribution: Alberta east to Quebec, south through most of the United States east of the rockies; sparingly introduced in the Pacific Northwest.

Habitat: Prairies and foothills.

Flowers: July - August

Origin: Native?

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Threatened in Washington (WANHP)


Tufted perennial, but also with rhizomes, the culms 8-10 dm. tall, solid, grooved above the nodes.


Sheaths open, usually glabrous, strongly keeled; ligules 1-1.5 mm. long, puberulent; blades flat or folded, 2-5 mm. broad, mostly glabrous.


Inflorescence a branched panicle, each branch ending in a single, arching raceme 3-5 cm. long; spikelets in pairs, one sessile and one pedicellate, the pedicellate spikelet 4-5 mm. long, sterile, with an awn 1-4 mm. long; sessile spikelet 2-flowered, 7-9 mm. long, with an awn 10-13 mm. long, the upper flower perfect, the lower an empty lemma; palea much reduced, lacerate.

Accepted Name:
Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Andropogon scoparius Michx. [HC]
Andropogon scoparius J. Presl, misapplied
var. scoparium – broom beardgras, broom bluestem, little bluestem
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Schizachyrium scoparium in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Schizachyrium scoparium checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Schizachyrium scoparium atlas page.

CalPhotos: Schizachyrium scoparium photos.

USDA Plants: Schizachyrium scoparium information.

11 photographs:
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