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Liz Makings @
Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Schizachyrium sanguineum - crimson bluestem

Synonyms: Andropogon semiberbis, Rottboellia sanguinea, Schizachyrium semiberbe and more see SEINET

Other Common Names: crimson false bluestem, red autumn grass

Plant Form:Grass

Family: Poaceae

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Herbarium specimen

ASU Vascular Plant Herbarium
Usage Rights: CC BY-NC (Attribution-Non-Commercial)
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Max Licher @
  Grass Description -   Glossary of Grass Terminology

Origin: Native    Season: Warm
Habitat Description: Found on rocky slopes and well drained soils.
Plant Communities: Interior Chaparral, Semidesert Grasslands, Pinyon Juniper Woodland
Elevation: 4000 - 5500 feet

General Description

Desc: A hardy, robust, tufted perennial grass. Although the seed heads are quite inconspicuous, the attractive feature of this grass is the beautiful red color the whole plant turns in autumn and carries on through winter.
Identification notes: Erect perennial; stems 15 to 48 inches long, branched sparingly at upper nodes; seedhead a single branch lined with sessile and stemmed spikelet pairs; sessile spikelet 2-flowered; upper lemmas are cleft for 2/3 of their length.
Grass Type: Perennial bunchgrass  Rhizomes: N  Stolons: N
Large Dense Clump (> 2 feet): N  Bushy (highly branched): N
Height with Seedheads: Greater than 36 inches
Seedhead Structure: Branched - contracted  Seedhead Droops: N
Flowering Period: Jun - Oct

Flower Characteristics

Number of Flowers per Spikelet: Multi-flowered  Spikelets One-sided: N
Awns: Less than 1/4 inch   Three Awns: N  Awns Bent: N

Flower and Seedhead Notes: Seedheads consist of a single branch that protrudes from the uppermost leaf sheath at maturity. Spikelets are grouped in pairs; one spikelet is attached directly to the seedhead and is fertile, the other is attached with a short stalk and is sterile.

Vegetative Characteristics

Blade Hairy: Y  Blade with White Margin: N  Blade Cross Section: Flat  
Blade Notes: Blades are flat, 2-3/4 to 7-3/4 inches long and less than 1/4 inch wide. Leaf blades may be smooth or hairy and have a tuft of long hairs at the leaf bases.
Sheath Hairy: N  Tuft of Hairs Top of Sheath or Collar: Y  Ligules: Membranous
Auricles (Ear-like lobes at base of blades): N
Vegetative Notes: Sheaths are smooth and rounded. The ligule is membranous.

Forage Value: Provides fair to good pasture when young.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 8.0  
Last Updated: Feb 16, 2020  
Content Questions/Comments: Email Jeff Schalau  
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