South Dakota Native Plant Research
Andropogon gerardii

Scientific Name

Andropogon gerardii


Download Seed: Spikelet of big bluestem is around 1.5 mm in length. (51 KB)

Download Seedling: Big bluestem two months after germination. (133 KB)

Download Vegetative: Ligule of big bluestem. (73 KB)

Download Fruiting: The turkey foot arrangement of culms. (149 KB)

Family Name


Common Name

Big bluestem

Native American Name



Andropogon gerardii is a(n) perennial non rhizomatous to shortly-rhizomatous, which grows 5 dm to 20 dm in height. This species is commonly found prairie, pastures, roadsides, open priaire, and rocky soil in the nothern latitudes. The leaves are soft-textured, flat (3-9 mm wide). Andropogon gerardii has green rust-red flowers that bloom from July to October.

Horticulture Notes

Seed Collection: Collect seed in late summer (Aug.-Sept.)
Germination: Does not require cold stratification
Vegetative Propagation: Seed
Soils: Grow in a variety of soils, but best on silt and clay
Light: Full sun
Water: Low mesic sites

Andropogon gerardii