March 5, 2021
Broomsedege (Andropogon virginicus), also called broomsedge bluestem, is a warm-season perennial grass that grows on old fields, pastures, and early-successional sites across Virginia.
It grows in bunches 2 to 4 feet high, and develops a golden-orange color in the late fall that can make broomsedge an attractive winter ornamental plant. When mature, this golden color and its multiple racemes of straight-awned seeds can be used to distinguish it from the look-alike little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), which has a reddish color and twisted awns.
Broomsedge thrives in poor soils and disturbed habitats and is therefore used to control erosion and reclaim mining sites, though it can become weedy in some areas.
Benefits to Biodiversity | Broomsedge is a central component of native grasslands in the Eastern Unites States. When left standing in the winter, its bunches provide ground cover for quail, turkeys, and other ground-nesting birds.