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Prairie Dropseed

Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis)

Prairie Dropseed
(Sporobolus heterolepis)


  • 2 to 3 feet


  • August to October


  • Native
  • Perennial
  • Grass


  • Full sun

Soil moisture:

  • Dry to medium

Provides food for:

  • Caterpillars (foliage)
  • Songbirds (seeds, caterpillars and other insects)


  • Listed as endangered in Kentucky.
  • Prairie dropseed is what’s called a bunch grass which means it forms clumps instead of a solid mat like the turf grass in your yard.
  • The vegetation remains standing throughout the winter which provides shelter to songbirds and other small wildlife.
  • Bumble bee queens will sometimes nest at the base of the clump.
  • Prairie dropseed is a warm season grass which means that most of its growth occurs during summer and early fall.
  • Deer resistant.
  • Doesn’t mind rocky soils.
  • Flowers have faint cilantro / coriander smell.
  • Very slow growing – can take 4 years to reach blooming size.

Native Range:

USDA range map for Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis)
Map credit: USDA Plants Database