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Cane Bluestem
Bothriochloa barbinodis
About Cane Bluestem (Bothriochloa barbinodis) Nurseries Show All Photos Bothriochloa barbinodis is a species of grass known by the common name cane bluestem. It is native to the Americas, including most of South and Central America, Mexico, and the southernmost continental United States from California to Florida. It is known elsewhere as an introduced species and sometimes a weed, such as in Hawaii. This is a perennial grass growing in upright clumps 60 to 120 centimeters tall. The straw-colored stems have nodes at intervals which are fringed with fluffy hairs. The leaves are 20 to 30 centimeters long and blue-green when new, drying to a reddish yellow. The flower cluster is a feathery array of spikelet units. Each unit is composed of one hairy, tan, fertile spikelet with a twisted awn up to 3.5 centimeters long twinned with a stalked, sterile spikelet which is much smaller and lacks an awn. The long-haired spikelets are wind-dispersed. In its native range, this grass is useful as a forage for grazing animals and a groundcover for revegetating cleared land. It is very drought resistant. It is considered an indicator of rangeland damage, as it is often one of the first native species to be eliminated when an area is overgrazed. It is grown as an ornamental plant for its showy flower clusters.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
2 - 4 ft (0.6 - 1.2 m)


Growth Rate

Flower Color
Yellow, White, Red

Flowering Season
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Dry slopes


Elevation ?
5' - 4847'

Annual Precip. ?
3.6" - 32.0"

Summer Precip. ?
0.17" - 2.43"

Coldest Month ?
43.6° F - 57.2° F

Hottest Month ?
66.1° F - 84.9° F

Humidity ?
1.09 vpd - 35.74 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerates a variety of soil types but best on calcareous, deep loams, or sandy loams.

Fast, Medium, Slow

Butterflies ?


Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

Water Requirement ?
Very Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: No treatment. Germination may be poor.

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Cane Beardgrass

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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