Sorghastrum elliottii

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Sorghastrum elliottii
Sorghastrum elliottii Gil.jpg
Photo taken by Gil Nelson
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Liliopsida – Monocotyledons
Order: Cyperales
Family: Poaceae ⁄ Gramineae
Genus: Sorghastrum
Species: S. elliottii
Binomial name
Sorghastrum elliottii
(C. Mohr) Nash
SOLI ARGU dist.jpg
Natural range of Sorghastrum elliottii from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common name: Slender Indiangrass

Taxonomic notes


"Coarse perennials from rhizomes or hardened bases. Leaves mostly low cauline; blades usually scaberulous; sheaths usually glabrous, margins scarious; ligules membranous to cartilaginous. Panicle elongate; rachis smooth; branches ascending; peduncles 1-20 mm long. Spikelets in pairs, fertile long-ovoid, 5-8 mm long excluding awns, sessile or subsessile, sterile or absent, with long hirsute pedicel, 3-8 mm long; terminal spikelets in 1-3 jointed racemes subtended by 2 subequal sterile pedicels. Glumes cartilaginous, subequal, 1st usually densely hirsute, 2nd glabrous or ciliate; fertile and sterile lemmas thin, hyaline, subequal, fertile lemma awned; palea absent. Grain reddish, flat, ellipsoid to obovoid, 2.5-3 mm long."[1]

"Tufted perennial; culms 0.4-2 m tall, nodes and internodes glabrous. Blades to 6 dm long and 10 mm wide; ligules truncate, 1-4 mm long. Panicle 0.5-3 dm long, 0.2-1.5 dm broad; rachis purplish, smooth, pedicels hirsute apically. Glumes brownish, 5-8 mm long, 1st glume truncate, 2nd glume acute or cuspidate; lemmas 2.5-4 mm long, awns brownish, twisted, geniculate, usually 2.5-3.5 cm long."[1]




In the Coastal Plain in Florida and Georgia, S. elliottii has been found in sandy loam of an open slash-pine woodland; wooded ridge; upland, open pine-oak woodland; turkey oak/ longleaf pine scrub; scrub oak sand ridge; annually burned upland pine community; edge of limestone opening; open wiregrass flat in low longleaf pineland; burned upland longleaf pine; annually burned savanna; and on the edge of a limestone glade under Juniperus virginiana.[2] It has been found in disturbed habitats such as camping areas, upland mixed woodland clearings, sand between marshy area and highway, sandy loam field track, sandy soils between pine plantation and highway, and woodland trails. Soil types include loamy sand and sandy loam.[2]

Associated species include Pinus echinata, Pinus elliottii, Pinus palustris, Quercus laevis, Quercus ilicifolia, Aristida stricta, and Juniperus virginiana.[2]


It has been observed flowering and fruiting September through November.[2]

Fire ecology

Populations of Sorghastrum elliottii have been known to persist through repeated annual burns.[3][4][5]

Herbivory and toxicology

Sorghastrum elliottii functions as forage for cattle in the late spring and summer; though highly palatable, the species does not hold up well under heavy grazing.[6]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

Cultural use

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 Radford, Albert E., Harry E. Ahles, and C. Ritchie Bell. Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas. 1964, 1968. The University of North Carolina Press. 166. Print.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: Last accessed: July 2015. Collectors: Robert K. Godfrey, Loran C. Anderson, K. Craddock Burks, Richard D. Houk, A. F. Clewell, Ann F. Johnson, Wilson Baker, R. A. Norris, D. C. Hunt, R. Komarek. States and Counties: Florida: Bay, Franklin, Gadsden, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Wakulla. Georgia: Grady, Thomas. Compiled by Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.
  3. Robertson, K.M. Unpublished data collected from Pebble Hill Fire Plots, Pebble Hill Plantation, Thomasville, Georgia.
  4. Glitzenstein, J. S., D. R. Streng, R. E. Masters, K. M. Robertson and S. M. Hermann 2012. Fire-frequency effects on vegetation in north Florida pinelands: Another look at the long-term Stoddard Fire Research Plots at Tall Timbers Research Station. Forest Ecology and Management 264: 197-209.
  5. Platt, W.J., R. Carter, G. Nelson, W. Baker, S. Hermann, J. Kane, L. Anderson, M. Smith, K. Robertson. 2021. Unpublished species list of Wade Tract old-growth longleaf pine savanna, Thomasville, Georgia.
  6. Byrd, Nathan A. (1980). "Forestland Grazing: A Guide For Service Foresters In The South." U.S. Department of Agriculture.