(PLS) Prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis) is a species of perennial prairie grass native to a widespread area of the US (from the Mid-West to the eastern seaboard . Taking up to five years to mature from seed, the adult dropseed can range from 1-4 feet tall. Prairie dropseed is a hearty long-lived one, with plants easily living to be 15 to 20 years old.
Favors moist to drier soils, however, it is drought-resistant but is not found in wetlands. Its long luscious green leaves grow in bunches around a circular base and are no more than 1/8th of an inch wide. The leaves range in color from a rich green hue in summer to a golden rust complexion in the fall.
During the winter months, the texture and color of the dried grass clumps add visual interest to the park’s landscape. In the spring, you can find gardeners trimming back the clumps to prepare for the new growing season.
But it is in the late summer July - Mid September), when the Prairie dropseed is covered with tanish cream-colored panicles, that this grass becomes the horticultural star in many prairie gardens. It is this time of year that the grass emits a curious scent that either delights or disgusts. Some describe the order as havinga the vague scent of fresh popcorn, cilantro, or sunflower seeds. Others smell cleaning supplies, soap or oil.
|Sun Exposure||Prairie, Savanna|
|Soil Moisture||Wet Mesic, Mesic, Dry Mesic, Dry|
|Max Height||3 feet|
|Seeds Per Ounce||16,000|
Edible Uses: Unknown
Medicinal Uses: Unknown
Herbal Uses: Unknown