Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Bushy bluestem

with 4 comments

One of the most attractive native grasses in the fall is bushy bluestem, Andropogon glomeratus. The plant thrives in damp or even wet soil, so it’s often seen along the edges of lakes and creeks. In this case, the water in the background was from the Riata Trace Pond in northwest Austin, during the same session on November 8 that brought you a picture of another (and smaller) appealing grass, silver bluestem.

To see the many places where the wet-ground-loving Andropogon glomeratus grows, you can visit the BONAP website (use your browser’s Zoom In command to enlarge the maps).

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 29, 2012 at 6:21 AM

4 Responses

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  1. I like all of the bluestem grasses.Very pretty in the fall.

    petspeopleandlife

    November 29, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    • Like you, I’m fond of the various kinds of bluestem, though I think this is my favorite one.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 29, 2012 at 5:06 PM

  2. And now I’ve identified another species from my visit to Anahuac! There was such a variety of grasses and so many kinds of fluff it was a little overwhelming, but this is one I remember.

    That glomeratus is interesting. I wondered if it was related to the expression “to glom onto”. I found some statements like this “The species epithet glomeratus derives from the Latin “glom(er)(us)” meaning “a ball, a ball of yarn” referring to the clusters of flowers”, but the fact that it’s a bunchgrass suggests its tendency to “glom together”.

    shoreacres

    December 1, 2012 at 6:54 AM

    • I’ll have to go check out Anahuac one of these days; from what you’ve said, it must be wonderful. Bushy bluestem is quite common in Texas and easy to identify in its later stages because of all its fluff, which can look similar and even blend with that of the cattails that I assume you also saw.

      As for the etymology, you’ll recognize the Latin root that’s in glomeratus as being in the word conglomerate as well. Tempting as it is to glom onto glom as a descendant of the same root, the American Heritage Dictionary says that it’s probably from Scots glam, which means ‘to snatch at.’

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 1, 2012 at 9:12 AM


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