Andropogon ternarius - Michx.
Silver Bluestem
Other English Common Names: Splitbeard Bluestem
Other Common Names: splitbeard bluestem
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Andropogon ternarius Michx. (TSN 40455)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.159924
Element Code: PMPOA0C0G0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Grass Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Monocotyledoneae Cyperales Poaceae Andropogon
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Andropogon ternarius
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 15Mar1995
Global Status Last Changed: 04Aug1988
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Widespread in eastern and midwestern United States; common over much of its range.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (SNR), Arkansas (SNR), Delaware (S4), District of Columbia (S1), Florida (SNR), Georgia (S5), Indiana (S3), Kansas (SNR), Kentucky (S4), Louisiana (SNR), Maryland (S4), Mississippi (SNR), Missouri (SNR), New Jersey (SNR), North Carolina (S5), Oklahoma (SNR), South Carolina (SNR), Tennessee (SNR), Texas (SNR), Virginia (S5)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, southern Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and Kansas, south to Florida and Texas.

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

Population Size Comments: Common over much of range.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, southern Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and Kansas, south to Florida and Texas.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, DC, DE, FL, GA, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MO, MS, NC, NJ, OK, SC, TN, TX, VA

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
NJ Cape May (34009)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 Delaware Bay (02040204)+*, Cohansey-Maurice (02040206)+, Great Egg Harbor (02040302)+, Chincoteague (02040303)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: Perennial grass growing in tufts, with silvery-hairy flower and seed clusters.
Technical Description: Culms tufted, erect, 80 to 120 cm tall, the upper half to two-thirds branching, the branches usually long, slender, and erect; leaves often purplish-glaucous, glabrous, or the lower loosely villous, the blades 2 to 4 mm wide; inflorescence elongate, loose, of few to many pairs of silvery to creamy or grayish feathery racemes, usually on long-exserted peduncles from slender inconspicuous spathes, some of the lateral peduncles often short, from dilated spathes, rarely most of them so; racemes 3 to 6 cm long, with mostly less than 12 joints, the rachis not flexuous, the joints shorter than the spikelets, copiously long-villous; sessile spikelets 5 to 7 mm long, glabrous and nerveless between the keels, the awn twisted below, 1.5 to 2 cm long; stamens 3; pedicel long-villous, the spikelet obsolete or nearly so. Variable in the density and length of pubescence on the rachis and pedicels, the less hairy specimens verging toward A. arctatus. A form of penisular Florida, sometimes separated as A. cabanisii, appears as follows: Culms in small tufts, erect, 80 to 150 cm tall, the upper half bearing long slender branches; sheaths villous to nearly glabrous; blades 2 to 3 mm wide; inflorescence loose; racemes 2, pale grayish tawny, with about 15 joints, 4 to 7 mm long, on slender long-exserted peduncles, the spathes narrow, inconspicuous, or a few occasionally dilated; rachis not flexuous or but slightly so, the joints shorter than the spikelets, long-villous; sessile spikelets 6 to 7 mm long, the first glume firm, scabrous and often 2-nerved below, about 12.5 cm long; pedicel long-villous, the spikelet reduced to a slender glume or obsolete. (Hitchcock 1951)
Diagnostic Characteristics: Inflorescence not conspicuously decompound; racemes silky-villous with white or whitish hairs 5-10 mm long (longer than the spikelets); racemes 3-6 cm long, relatively dense, stiff, and straight; peduncles 5 to 15 cm long, long-exserted; rachis joints shorter than the spikelets; pedicellate spikelet shorter than the sessile spikelet, reduced to 1 or 2 glumes, the pedicel flat; sessile spikelets more than 5 mm long, 1 to 1.5 mm wide, the glume concave but not grooved; upper sheaths not inflated, overlapping, nor conspicuous (Gleason & Cronquist 1991, Hitchcock 1951, Radford et al. 1968, Steyermark 1963).
Duration: PERENNIAL
Reproduction Comments: Spikelets in pairs, one sessile and perfect, the other pedicellate and staminate, neuter, or obsolete (Hitchcock 1951). Grasses are generally wind-pollinated. Plumed seeds of the genus are wind-dispersed (Campbell 1983).
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest/Woodland, Grassland/herbaceous, Old field, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood
Habitat Comments: Fields, prairies, old fields, pastures, barrens, open woods, woodland borders, clearings, waste ground, disturbed sites, along railroads; often on dry sandy or rocky soil. (Fernald 1950, Gleason and Cronquist 1991, Great Plains Flora Association 1986, Hitchcock 1951, Hough 1983, Radford et al. 1968, Steyermark 1963). In North and South Carolina also ditches (Radford et al. 1968). In Florida also sandhills and pinelands (Wunderlin 1982). In Missouri, "especially on sandstone and chert exposures" (Steyermark 1963). Var. cabanisii, found only in Florida, in dry pine woods, sandhills, and sand pine scrub (Hitchcock 1951, Wunderlin 1982).
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 15Mar1995
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: M.E. Stover, TNC-HO
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 15Mar1995
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): M.E. STOVER, TNC-HO

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • Campbell, C. S. 1983a. Wind dispersal of some North American species of Andropogon (Gramineae). Rhodora 85:65-72.

  • DAVIS, C.A. AND MARYLAND NATURAL HERITAGE PROGRAM. 1994. PHOTOGRAPHS OF SOME OF THE RARE, THREATENED, AND ENDANGERED SPECIES OBSERVED AT ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE AND REMOTE PROPERTIES. CONTRACT AJXF921706X1, BIOLOGICAL SURVEY. (BINDER WITH 21 PRINTS OF 8 SPECIES.)

  • DAVIS, C.A. AND MARYLAND NATURAL HERITAGE PROGRAM. 1994. RARE, THREATENED, AND ENDANGERED SPECIES AND NATURAL AREA SURVEY OF ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE AND ITS REMOTE PROPERTIES, BRANDYWINE AND DAVIDSONVILLE COMMUNICATION SITES. FINAL REPORT OF FINDINGS AND MANAGEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS. 278 PP WITH MAPS, APPENDICES, ETC.

  • Fernald, M. L. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. 8th edition. Corrected printing (1970). D. Van Nostrand Company, New York. 1632 pp.

  • Gleason, H.A., and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. 910 pp.

  • Great Plains Flora Association (R.L. McGregor, coordinator; T.M. Barkley, ed., R.E. Brooks and E.K. Schofield, associate eds.). 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. 1392 pp.

  • HOWIE, S.L. AND K.C. WATSON. 1995. SPECIES AND NATURAL COMMUNITIES OF CONCERN ON U.S. AIR FORCE LANDS: AN INSTALLATION SPECIFIC HANDBOOK FOR ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE. THE NATURE CONSERVANCY, ARLINGTON, VA. 494 PP.

  • Hitchcock, A.S. 1951. Manual of the grasses of the United States. 2nd edition revised by Agnes Chase. [Reprinted, 1971, in 2 vols., by Dover Publications, Incorporated, New York.]

  • Hough, M.Y. 1983. New Jersey wild plants. Harmony Press, Harmony, NJ. 414 pp.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Radford, A.E., H.E. Ahles, and C.R. Bell. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Univ. North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC. 1183 pp.

  • Steyermark, J.A. 1963. Flora of Missouri. Iowa State Univ. Press, Ames. 1728 pp.

  • Wunderlin, R.P. 1982. Guide to the vascular plants of central Florida. Univ. Presses Florida, Gainesville. 472 pp.

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