One of our most dramatic fall grasses, bushy bluestem (Andropogon glomeratus) thrives across the southern half of Texas. Unlike other species in the bluestem genus, A. glomeratus prefers sunny, moist locations; it often decorates ditches or fills low, damp fields with its unmistakable foliage.
During the growing season, the grass develops in pretty green bunches, sometimes tinged with tones of blue or copper. In autumn, its feathery plumes emerge — sometimes quickly and dramatically — showing why the grass also is known as ‘beardgrass.’ Eventually, it takes on an attractive rusty color that endures throughout the winter.
Like other bluestems, the grass is beneficial to a wide variety of wildlife, giving food, shelter, and nesting material to small mammals, insects, and birds.
Despite its bunched-up appearance and growth habits that sometimes make details hard to discern, its feathery seeds are extraordinarily pretty, especially when seen against a blue sky and still-green foliage.