Turkey foot grass, or Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)

Turkey foot grass, or Big bluestem is part of the Poaceae (Grass) family.  The flowering stalks average 3 to 6 feet tall but occasionally grow up to 9 feet tall.   The flowers are usually in 3 dense, elongate clusters from a common point that resembles a turkey foot. 

This plant grows in moist or dry open places and is a major constitutent of the tall-grass prairie.  It can form extensive turfs and is used as a major forage and hay grass.  Native Americans used the plant to treat digestive problems.



Additional information about this plant may be found at the USDA PLANTS Database:


Dr. Rebecca Dolan with a Big bluestem (Turkey foot grass) on the October nature walk.