Sorghastrum nutans


Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans) is a native herbaceous perennial grass (Poaceae). The plants are rhizomatous, usually bluish in color and are late blooming. One of the few grasses with a distinct pair of auricles on the ends of the sheath. The inflorescence appears to be a contracted, often nodding panicle but technically is made of racemose short rames. Spikelets paired (1 sessile and perfect, the other pedicellate and usually absent), dorsally compressed, 2-floreted (upper floret perfect, lower floret neuter). Fertile lemma scarious, awned; paleas absent; caryopsis elliptical, flattened, red. Closeup picture of auricles by Bette Kauffman, shout out to her. Caterpillars of two butterflies (Pepper and Salt Skipper and Georgia Satyr) are reported to eat Indian grass. Some trace the origin of the common name to the arrowhead-like auricles or the one I think is the feather like yellow inflorescence. Three populations on Allen Acres with one planted and the other two apparently native.