Monday, November 22, 2010

Correction - Broomsage (Bunchgrass)

Broomsage (Lepidospartum sp.) is a native perennial monocot that grows in aggregate clumps within hayfields and pastures of the watershed.  Although it first appears in summer months as tiny bluish or purplish sprouts, it doesn't become noticeable until mid-autumn as brilliant golden-red stalks.  The grassy clumps range from 2 to 3 feet in height and disperse white, feathery seeds in early autumn.  Little Bluestem seems to be less prevalent in overgrown or secondary growth fields and prefers full sun.

Update - Intially I posted a misidentification of this grass as little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium). Little bluestem is similar to broomsage in appearance but is not as bright golden, as tall and does not grow in aggregate clumps. Also, little bluestem prefers poor limestone soils whereas broomsage prefers open pasture and farm fields. For comparison with little bluestem look at the photos in the Hunter Prairie post.  Bear with me while I learn my grasses!!

Broomsage grows in dense clumps of 50-100 individual stalks.

Large populations are easily recognizable in open hilltop pastures. 
This is one of the few grasses that whitetail deer seem to not bother.  

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