U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


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Mitchell, Rob, and K.P. Vogel. 2004. Indiangrass. p. 937-953. In L.E. Moser, L. Sollenberger, and B. Burson (ed.). Warm-season (C4) grasses. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Monograph. Madison, WI.


U.S. Government work.


The indiangrasses belong to the genus Sorghastrum. The name Sorghastrum comes from Sorghum and the Latin suffix astrum (a poor imitation of), indicating the resemblance to Sorghum (Gould, 1975). The genus consists of approximately 20 species, primarily in tropical and subtropical Africa and the Americas (Watson and Dallwitz, 1992). Eight species and one subspecies are identified in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN, 2003), with distributional ranges from Canada, the USA, Cuba, Mexico, South America, and tropical Africa. In North America, indiangrass [Sorghastrum nutans (L.) Nash], slender indiangrass [S. elliottii (c. Mohr) Nash], and lopsided indiangrass [S. secundum (Elliott) Nash] are indigenous (Hitchcock, 1971). Indiangrass is the most important and widely distributed of the Sorghastrum species, with slender indiangrass and lopsided indiangrass limited to the southeastern USA (Hitchcock, 1971; Sutherland, 1986; Diggs et aI., 1999). There is some disagreement in the literature concerning the botanical name for indiangrass. Baum (1967) believes that indiangrass should be classified as S. avenaceum (Michx.) Nash, but Gould (1975) and Sutherland (1986) indicate that S. nutans (L.) Nash is correct. Sorghastrum nutans (L.) Nash will be used in this chapter as the correct botanical name, based on the classification of Gould (1975) and Sutherland (1986), and will focus on it because of its prominence and broad distribution.