Sporobolus heterolepis, called prairie dropseed, is a clump-forming, warm season, Illinois native perennial grass which typically occurs in prairies, glades, open ground and along railroads. This is a prairie grass that is native from Quebec to Saskatchewan south to Colorado, Texas and Connecticut. Fine-textured, hair-like, medium green leaves (to 20” long and 1/16” wide) typically form an arching foliage mound to 15” tall and 18” wide. Foliage turns golden with orange hues in fall, fading to light bronze in winter. Open, branching flower panicles appear on slender stems which rise well above the foliage clump in late summer to 30-36" tall. Flowers have pink and brown tints, but are perhaps most noted for their unique fragrance (hints of coriander). Tiny rounded mature seeds drop to the ground from their hulls in autumn giving rise to the descriptive common name.
Sadly, in many areas of its range Prairie Dropseed populations are in decline. Adding this species to your landscape is a great way to lend a helping hand in the persistence of Prairie Dropseed well into the future along with bringing a different element to your native landscape.