Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
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  • Prairie Dropseed

    SCIENTIFIC NAME: Sporobolus heterolepis

    COMMON NAME: Prairie Dropseed, Northern Dropseed

    BLOOM TIME: Aug, Sept, Oct


    • Root depth can be 3 ¼ to 5 ½ foot while the grass height stays about 2 feet tall.
    • Originally used for making flour by Native Americans.
    • One of the true prairie grasses occurring in prairies, glades, & open ground
    • Snow does not flatten the plant, so it is visible even in winter.
    • Smells like popcorn or cilantro in late summer & fall.


    • The seeds are eaten by sparrows and other songbirds from late summer into winter.
    • The foliage is readily eaten by bison, cattle, and horses.
    • Sometimes small rodents dig burrows within the dense tufts of leaves and root mass of this prairie grass.