Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
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  • Indian Grass

    SCIENTIFIC NAME: Sorghastrum nutans

    COMMON NAME: Indian Grass, Yellow Indian Grass

    BLOOM TIME: Aug, Sept


    • Roots can reach 6 to 9 foot in length, when the plant is only 3 to 7 feet tall.
    • Native Americans dyed and braided stems to use to make baskets & mats, threaded it with beads and quills for ornaments.
    • Dominant grass that covered much of the Illinois prairie.
    • Approx. 175,000 seeds per pound.



    • Several species of grasshoppers feed on the foliage of Indian Grass & grasshoppers are an important food source for many grassland birds.
    • The foliage is also eaten by hoofed mammals, including bison, cattle, & deer.
    • Because of its height and tendency to remain erect, it provides nesting habitat and protective cover for many kinds of birds, including the Ring-necked Pheasant, Greater Prairie Chicken, Northern Bobwhite, Mourning Dove, and Field Sparrow.