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Little Bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium

Little bluestem is a native perennial, clump-forming grass that can be used as an ornamental grass. It is an excellent winter cover species in open spaces, with excellent fall and winter color. It has been used in slope stabilization areas and buffers because its roots hold soil against erosion once established. It has been used successfully in the upper edge of rain water gardens where it is not being inundated, as a buffer or filter.

USDA symbol: SCSC

General Information

Plant TypeGrass
Height3 feet
Light ExposureSun, Part Sun
Soil MoistureDry
Bloom ColorRed, Green, Brown
Little Bluestem (Little Bluestem<div><em class="small">Schizachyrium scoparium</em></div>)
Photo credit: Minnesota Wildflowers (Click to enlarge)


Flooding / Inundation ToleranceLow
General Resilience9
Salt ToleranceMedium
Stress ToleranceDrought Tolerant, Fire Tolerant, General Disturbance

Pollinator Value: High

Bloom MonthsJuly to September
Larval Host ofButterflies, Moths
Specific Pollinators HostedNumerous butterfly species, Trichordestra legitima
Pollinator BenefitStem Nesting

Project Planning

Project TypeErosion Control, Rain Garden, Sandy or Engineered Soils, Upland Buffer
Coefficient of Conservatism5
Herbivore SensitivityHigh
Rate of SpreadSlow
Soil StabilizationShallow
Vegetative ReproductionClonal


CountyAnoka, Becker, Benton, Big Stone, Blue Earth, Brown, Carlton, Cass, Chippewa, Chisago, Clay, Cottonwood, Crow Wing, Dakota, Dodge, Douglas, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Grant, Hennepin, Houston, Isanti, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Kittson, Lac qui Parle, Lake, Lake of the Woods, Le Sueur, Lincoln, Lyon, Mahnomen, Marshall, Martin, McLeod, Meeker, Morrison, Mower, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Norman, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Pennington, Pipestone, Polk, Pope, Ramsey, Red Lake, Redwood, Renville, Rice, Roseau, Scott, Sherburne, Sibley, St. Louis, Stearns, Steele, Stevens, Swift, Todd, Traverse, Wabasha, Washington, Watonwan, Wilkin, Winona, Wright, Yellow Medicine
EcoregionDriftless Area, Lake Agassiz Plain, North Central Hardwood Forests, Northern Glaciated Plains, Northern Lakes and Forests, Northern Minnesota Wetlands, Western Cornbelt Plains
Approximate Eco ProvinceEastern Broadleaf Forest, Laurentian Mixed Forest, Prairie Parkland, Tallgrass Aspen Parklands