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Friday, November 13, 2015

Flower Friday: Lopsided Indiangrass is a festival of fall colors.

Photo by Katherine Edison
Lopsided Indiangrass (Sorghastrum secundum) 

Lopsided Indiangrass is a robust and unique perennial bunchgrass. Throughout most of the year, it is rather indistinct. But in late summer, it produces tall, dramatic flower spikes. Each tiny flower is wrapped in bracts that are covered in soft, bronze to brown hairs, and bears a long, twisted, brownish-purple awn and bright yellow anthers. When lit by the sun, the colorful flowerheads flicker and flash. The entire inflorescence occurs on one side of the rachis, hence the common name "lopsided" indiangrass.
Leaf blades are up to 2' long. Leaf sheaths are covered in fine hairs.
 
Lopsided Indiangrass typically blooms in late summer through fall. It occurs naturally in pinelands, sandhills and flatwoods. It is the larval host plant for the Delaware skipper (Anatrytone logan), dusted skipper (Atrytonopsis hianna) and swarthy skipper (Nastra lherminier).

Family: Poaceae (also called Gramineae or true grasses)
Native range: Mostly throughout Florida
Hardiness: Zones 8–11

Soil: Moist to dry, well-drained soils
Exposure: Full sun to minimal shade
Growth habit: 2-3' feet; up to 6' tall when flowering

Propagation: Seed, division 
Garden tips: Lopsided Indiangrass is
primarily recommended for naturalistic landscapes and habitat restorations. It can also be incorporated into a wildflower garden, but should be used in the background where its height (when flowering) won't obscure other wildflowers. It will self-seed slowly and will need to be cut back annually.

Lopsided Indiangrass seeds are available through the Florida Wildflower Cooperative. Plants are often available at nurseries that specialize in native plants.Visit PlantRealFlorida.org to find a native nursery on your area.

 

To see where lopsided Indiangrass occurs naturally, visit florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=2407.

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