• Andropogon virginicus - Broom Sedge

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    Description: Broom Sedge "has green leaves and stems turning dark red-purple then bright orange in late fall. This plant is not recommended for a formal garden and does not tolerate heavy mulch however, it is long-lived.  It is a vigorous plant that while it provides excellent ground cover it is not grazed by livestock or wildlife but is good used  in managed rural areas." (North Carolina Extension) 


    Habitat: "Savannas, flatwoods, maritime wet grasslands, disturbed pinelands, other wetlands; var. virginicus: old fields, roadbanks, disturbed sites."  (North Carolina Extension) 



    Andropogon Virginicus Botany By Dr. John Hilty




    Cultivation: 

    "The preference is full sun, dry conditions, and a barren soil containing clay, sand, gravel, or rocky material. However, partial sun and more mesic conditions are also tolerated. The dried-out foliage of this grass remains erect and persists throughout the winter into the summer of the following year. This warm-season grass has a C4 metabolism, enabling it to withstand hot dry weather. Most growth and development occurs during the summer and early fall. There is some evidence that the decayed foliage is phytotoxic."


    Faunal Associations:

    "Various insects feed on Broom Sedge. These insects include the leafhoppers Stirellus bicolor and Polyamia caperata, the piglet bugs Bruchomorpha dorsata and Bruchomorpha jocosa, the scale insect Aclerda andropogonis, the thrips Plesiothrips andropogoni and Eurythrips hindsi, the leaf beetles Chaetocnema denticulata and Myochrous denticollis, Sphenophorus destructor (Destructive Billbug), caterpillars of Hesperia metea (Cobweb Skipper), and Dissosteira carolina (Carolina Grasshopper). Because of the persistence of the dried-out foliage throughout the winter and into the summer of the following year, this bunchgrass provides shelter for various insects during the winter. It also provides cover and nesting habitat for the Bobwhite Quail, Greater Prairie Chicken, and other wildlife. Birds eating the seeds of Broom Sedge during the winter include the Slate-Colored Junco, Field Sparrow, and Tree Sparrow. The young foliage of this grass is palatable to cattle, deer, buffalo, and other hoofed mammalian herbivores, although older foliage declines in value as a source of forage."



    (1) The Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) eats the seeds of Broom Sedge during the winter.



    (2) The caterpillars of Cobweb Skipper (Hesperia metea) feed on the foliage of Broom Sedge.




    Works Cited:


    Images: 

    Cover: By Show_ryu - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8379435

    Second Cover: By Forest & Kim Starr, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6155224

    Third Cover: By Forest & Kim Starr, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6117692

    Fourth Cover: By Woodlot at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17850762

    (1) By VJAnderson - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=83611370

    (2) By jrcagle - https://www.inaturalist.org/photos/63203982, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=104586524


    North Carolina Extension plant description: Andropogon Virginicus (Beard Grass, Bluestem, Broomsedge, Broomstraw, Old-Field Broomstraw) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox. https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/andropogon-virginicus/. Accessed 2 Feb. 2022.

    John Hilty botany, cultivation, faunal associations: John Hilty, "Broom Sedge", Illinois Wildflowers, the publisher, Copyright 2004-2019. Accessed 2 February 202