Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Andropogon ternarius


SPECIES: Andropogon ternarius
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Walsh, Roberta A. 1994. Andropogon ternarius. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : ANDTER SYNONYMS : Andropogon ternarius var. glaucescens (Scribn.) Fern. & Grisc. [22] SCS PLANT CODE : ANTE2 ANTEG COMMON NAMES : paintbrush bluestem splitbeard bluestem TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of paintbrush bluestem is Andropogon ternarius Michx. [13,15,16,29]. It is in the family Poaceae. There are no recognized infrataxa. LIFE FORM : Graminoid FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Andropogon ternarius
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Paintbrush bluestem occurs from New Jersey to Florida and west to southeastern Kansas, eastern Oklahoma, and eastern Texas [13,16,19,29]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES12 Longleaf - slash pine FRES13 Loblolly - shortleaf pine FRES14 Oak - pine FRES15 Oak - hickory FRES16 Oak - gum - cypress FRES31 Shinnery FRES39 Prairie STATES : AL AR DE FL GA KS KY LA MD MS MO NJ NC OK SC TN TX VA BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 14 Great Plains KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K071 Shinnery K072 Sea oats prairie K076 Blackland prairie K082 Mosaic of K074 and K100 K083 Cedar glades K084 Cross Timbers K088 Fayette prairie K089 Black Belt K090 Live oak - sea oats K100 Oak - hickory forest K104 Appalachian oak forest K111 Oak - hickory - pine forest K112 Southern mixed forest K113 Southern floodplain forest SAF COVER TYPES : 40 Post oak - blackjack oak 67 Mohrs (shin) oak 70 Longleaf pine 71 Longleaf pine - scrub oak 72 Southern scrub oak 75 Shortleaf pine 79 Virginia pine 80 Loblolly pine - shortleaf pine 81 Loblolly pine 83 Longleaf pine - slash pine 85 Slash pine - hardwood SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Species associated with paintbrush bluestem are listed for the Piedmont region in North Carolina [3,26], Virginia, and South Carolina [26]. On the Coastal Plain of South Carolina associated species are listed for a midsuccessional 35-year-old abandoned field [5] and for pine-dominated flatwoods [12]. Associated species are listed for the Central Basin and Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee [6] and for remnant unbroken prairie in the Grand Prairie region of eastern Arkansas [21]. Species associated with paintbrush bluestem are listed for sandhills in northwestern Florida [17]. Associated species are listed for open grasslands of central Louisiana [7], for a longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) plantation in central Louisiana [33], for pitcher-plant (Sarracenia alata) bogs in western Louisiana [25], and for upland longleaf pine savanna on the West Gulf Coastal Plain in southwestern Louisiana and southeastern Texas [4]. Associates are listed for the Trinity River Floodplain, east Texas [27], for a first-year loblolly pine (P. taeda) plantation in east-central Texas [1], and for sites in north-central Texas [10]. Associates of paintbrush bluestem are listed for naturally revegetated central Oklahoma abandoned cropland [28].


SPECIES: Andropogon ternarius
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Paintbrush bluestem is grazed readily by cattle in the spring shortly after growth starts. If paintbrush bluestem is used as the principal winter forage, cattle should be fed a protein supplement [24]. Paintbrush bluestem on open grassland in central Louisiana contributed large quantities of forage for cattle [7]. Northern bobwhite nesting sites in cultivated field borders and old fields on the upper Coastal Plain of southern Georgia were inventoried in August 1967. Nineteen percent of the nests had been built in paintbrush bluestem bunches [18]. PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : Paintbrush bluestem was collected on north-central Texas ranges. Analysis of young growth showed it to have fair protein content, deficient phosphoric acid content, and good lime content when compared to other range grasses in the area. At maturity it was deficient in protein, very deficient in phosphoric acid, and high in lime content [10]. COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : NO-ENTRY OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Paintbrush bluestem on naturally revegetated abandoned cropland and on depleted ranges in central Oklahoma was reduced in abundance following nitrate and phosphate fertilization, which was applied the first week of April or May 1973. Abundance was measured in December, 1973 [28]. In the Palustris Experimental Forest in central Louisiana, excessive grazing by cattle converted a principally bluestem range (including paintbrush bluestem) under a longleaf pine canopy to forbs; in patch cuts excessive grazing converted the bluestem range to carpetgrass (Axonopus affinis) [33]. In the same forest paintbrush bluestem had a 20-fold increase from 1959 to 1963 under moderate grazing [8].


SPECIES: Andropogon ternarius
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Paintbrush bluestem is a native, warm-season, perennial bunchgrass [13,16,19,24] which forms bunches 2 to 8 inches (5-20 cm) or more in diameter [24]. Culms are 20 to 47 inches (50-120 cm) tall [13,19]. The upper half to two-thirds of the culm is branching [19,24]; the branches are long, slender and erect [19]. The inflorescence has three to six pairs of racemes [13,16,19]. Spikelets are paired: The sessile fertile spikelet is 0.20 to 0.28 inches (5-7 mm) long; the pedicel of the rudimentary spikelet is long-villous [19]. The awn on the fertile lemma is 0.63 to 0.98 inches (16-25 mm) long [16,29]. The fruit is a caryopsis [16]. Paintbrush bluestem roots in sandy, oldfield soil on the Coastal Plain of South Carolina went no deeper than 6 inches (15 cm). They did not extend laterally beyond the aerial portion of the plant [5]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Hemicryptophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Paintbrush bluestem sprouts from perennating buds at the base of the culms. It also reproduces by seed [24]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Paintbrush bluestem occurs in open woods [13,19], woodland borders, prairies, pastures [16], ditches [29], and waste ground [16]. Paintbrush bluestem grows best on well-drained coarse- to medium-textured soils on ridges and knolls [24], but it grows in a wide variety of soils, including some that are poor in nutrients. Paintbrush bluestem on the Coastal Plain of South Carolina grew in the nutrient-poor sandy soil of an old field. Soil nutrients in this field decreased in the 35 years since abandonment [5]. On the South Carolina lower Atlantic Coastal Plain paintbrush bluestem occurred on clayey, strongly acid, poorly drained soils [12]. In the Grand Prairie region of eastern Arkansas, paintbrush bluestem grows on loessal terrace deposits of the Mississippi alluvial plain at elevations of 187 to 220 feet (57-67 m). The silty loam soils where paintbrush bluestem occurs are acid and poorly to moderately drained. Topsoil is 20 to 24 inches (50-60 cm) thick, but strongly leached and only moderately fertile [21]. Paintbrush bluestem in northwest Florida grew in comparatively dry deep sand on sandhills [17]. Paintbrush bluestem in Durham County, North Carolina, grew on sandy loam soil [3]. Paintbrush bluestem in western Louisiana grew in pitcher plant bogs. Elevation was 197 to 276 feet (60-84 m). Soil was fine, slow-draining, permanently damp loam with pH 4.5 to 5.1 [25]. On the West Gulf Coastal Plain of southwestern Louisiana, paintbrush bluestem grew on excessively drained sandy soils of sandhill woodland-barrens as well as on the well-drained sandy soils of longleaf pine savannas. Both soils were nutrient deficient [4]. Paintbrush bluestem in the Palustris Experimental Forest grew in deep, silty loam soils with moderate to slow internal drainage [8]. Paintbrush bluestem in east-central Texas grew on fine sandy loam of good quality [1]. Paintbrush bluestem in central Oklahoma occurred on naturally revegetated abandoned cropland and depleted ranges. Soil was low in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and organic matter [28]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Facultative Seral Species Paintbrush bluestem and broomsedge (Andropogon virginicus) dominate old fields throughout the South, and often persist for many years [21]. Paintbrush bluestem is moderately shade tolerant [24]. Paintbrush bluestem occurred in a midsuccessional South Carolina coastal plain oldfield that had been abandoned for 35 years [5]. Paintbrush bluestem was found in the Piedmont region of the Carolinas on fields abandoned because of soil erosion and deterioration. Where several inches of topsoil remained, the herbaceous plant succession began with annual weeds, passed rapidly through a perennial weed stage, and culminated, usually within 5 years, in a bluestem (Andropogon spp.) community which included paintbrush bluestem. This stage persisted until invading loblolly pine and shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata) developed a closed canopy which shaded out the grasses. If most of the A horizon of the soil was lost, succession remained in the annual weed stage until soil improved enough to support the bluestem community. In these conditions pines sometimes followed annuals directly, and the bluestem stage was excluded [26]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Paintbrush bluestem growth starts about April. Basal leaves remain green until late fall; some leaves at the center of large bunches stay green all winter [24]. Paintbrush bluestem blooms August to October in the Great Plains [16] and September and October in the Carolinas [29]. It blooms in autumn in the West Gulf Coastal Plain of southwestern Louisiana [4]. Paintbrush bluestem clumps in a South Carolina oldfield broomsedge community were measured for several morphological traits. Clumps did not flower until they reached a basal diameter of at least 1.2 inches (3 cm). All clumps with basal diameters of 3.1 or more inches (8 cm) flowered. Height of live stems increased with basal diameter of clumps [14].


SPECIES: Andropogon ternarius
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Paintbrush bluestem has basal culm buds [19] which probably sprout after aerial portions are burned. If thick tufts form [14], they may protect the basal buds from fire damage. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Tussock graminoid Secondary colonizer - off-site seed


SPECIES: Andropogon ternarius
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Paintbrush bluestem culms are probably killed by fire during the growing season. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Paintbrush bluestem withstands periodic controlled burning. Annual burning followed by grazing tends to eliminate it [24]. Where burning increases soil nutrients, paintbrush bluestem may decline because of competition from species that require higher nutrient concentrations [20]. Paintbrush bluestem on naturally revegetated abandoned cropland and depleted ranges in central Oklahoma was subjected to prescribed fire the first week of April, 1973. Frequency was measured in December 1973. Paintbrush bluestem was considered an early successional species; this group of species was most reduced by burning [28]. Northwestern Florida sandhills were cleared of vegetation and plant succession was studied for 4 years. Three plots were burned May 1955, and then chopped with a brush cutter in June and again in September. Slash pine (Pinus elliottii) seedlings were planted on the bare plots in January 1956. Paintbrush bluestem was not present on any plot in July 1956. By July 1957, it occurred on one of three burned plots, in less than 20 percent of the quadrats on that plot and at a density of less than one plant per quadrat. (Quadrats were 1/4 milacre in area). In July 1958, it occurred at low density in two plots. In September 1959, it occurred on only one plot, again at low density [17]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Paintbrush bluestem is a dominant grass in the upland longleaf pine savanna on the West Gulf Coastal Plain of southwestern Louisiana and southeast Texas. With complete fire exclusion this vegetation will progress to a mixed hardwood-loblolly pine forest, an association in which paintbrush bluestem does not occur [4]. Paintbrush bluestem was a component of unbroken, poorly drained terrace prairie in the Grand Prairie region of eastern Askansas. This prairie was annually mowed in early June and burned in late February or early March for 65 years. Paintbrush bluestem and broomsedge together contributed 64 percent of total biomass. Other prairie remnants that have been hayed and burned annually are also dominated by these species. When annual haying ceases, paintbrush bluestem declines in favor of more typical prairie dominants. In a prairie that had not been hayed or burned for 16 years, paintbrush bluestem and broomsedge were absent [21]. On a managed prairie subject to burning only, paintbrush bluestem and broomsedge were almost absent. Widespread dominance of paintbrush bluestem on the terrace prairie remnants is thought to be the result of long-term haying, which lowers soil fertility and gives paintbrush bluestem a competitive advantage [20].


SPECIES: Andropogon ternarius
REFERENCES : 1. Barber, Brad L.; Messina, J. Suzanne; Van Buijtenen, Johannes P.; Wall, Margot M. 1991. Influence of nursery fertilization, site quality, and weed control on first-year performance of outplanted loblolly pine. In: Coleman, Sandra S.; Neary, Daniel G., compilers. Proceedings, 6th biennial southern silvicultural research conference: Vol. 1; 1990 October 30 - November 1; Memphis, TN. Gen. Tech. Rep. SE-70.. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station: 27-37. [17459] 2. Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p. [434] 3. Billings, W. D. 1938. The structure and development of old field shortleaf pine stands and certain associated physical properties of the soil. Ecological Monographs. 8(3): 437-499. [10701] 4. Bridges, Edwin L.; Orzell, Steve L. 1989. Longleaf pine communities of the west Gulf Coastal Plain. Natural Areas Journal. 9(4): 246-263. [10091] 5. Collins, B. S.; Pinder, J. E., III. 1990. Spatial distribution of forbs and grasses in a South Carolina oldfield. Journal of Ecology. 78: 66-76. [22952] 6. Deselm, Hal R.; Murdock, Nora. 1993. Grass-dominated communities. In: Martin, William H.; Boyce, Stephen G.; Echternacht, Arthur C., eds. Biodiversity of the southeastern United States: Upland terrestrial communities. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc: 87-141. [21937] 7. Duvall, V. L. 1962. Burning and grazing increase herbage on slender bluestem range. Journal of Range Management. 15: 14-16. [831] 8. Duvall, V. L.; Linnartz, N. E. 1967. Influences of grazing and fire on vegetation and soil of longleaf pine - bluestem range. Journal of Range Management. 20: 241-247. [7623] 9. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905] 10. Fudge, J. F.; Fraps, G. S. 1945. The chemical composition of grasses of northwestern Texas as related to soils and to requirements for range cattle. Bulletin No. 669. [Place of pulication unknown]: Texas Agricultural Experiment Station. 56 p. [5747] 11. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998] 12. Gilliam, Frank S.; Christensen, Norman L. 1986. Herb-layer response to burning in pine flatwoods of the lower Coastal Plain of South Carolina. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 113(1): 42-45. [4419] 13. Gleason, Henry A.; Cronquist, Arthur. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. 2nd ed. New York: New York Botanical Garden. 910 p. [20329] 14. Golley, Frank B. 1965. Structure and function of an old-field broomsedge community. Ecological Monographs. 35(1): 113-137. [17419] 15. Gould, F. W. 1967. The grass genus Andropogon in the United States. Brittonia. 19: 70-76. [5526] 16. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603] 17. Grelen, Harold E. 1962. Plant succession on cleared sandhills in northwest Florida. American Midland Naturalist. 67(1): 36-44. [12020] 18. Harshbarger, Thomas J.; Simpson, Ronald C. 1970. Late-summer nesting sites of quail in south Georgia. Res. Note SE-131. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station. 4 p. [11963] 19. Hitchcock, A. S. 1951. Manual of the grasses of the United States. Misc. Publ. No. 200. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Administration. 1051 p. [2nd edition revised by Agnes Chase in two volumes. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.]. [1165] 20. Irving, Robert S. 1983. Composition, production and management of eastern Arkansas prairies. In: Kucera, Clair L., ed. Proceedings, 7th North American prairie conference; 1980 August 4-6; Springfield, MO. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri: 281-286. [3229] 21. Irving, Robert S.; Brenholts, Susan; Foti, Thomas. 1980. Composition and net primary production of native prairies in eastern Arkansas. American Midland Naturalist. 103(2): 298-309. [21604] 22. Kartesz, John T.; Kartesz, Rosemarie. 1980. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. Volume II: The biota of North America. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press; in confederation with Anne H. Lindsey and C. Richie Bell, North Carolina Botanical Garden. 500 p. [6954] 23. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384] 24. Leithead, Horace L.; Yarlett, Lewis L.; Shiflet, Thomas N. 1971. 100 native forage grasses in 11 southern states. Agric. Handb. 389. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 216 p. [17551] 25. MacRoberts, B. R.; MacRoberts, M. H. 1988. Floristic composition of two west Louisiana pitcher plant pogs. Phytologia. 65(3): 184-190. [10128] 26. McQuilkin, W. E. 1940. The natural establishment of pine in abandoned fields in the Piedmont Plateau region. Ecology. 21(2): 135-147. [21804] 27. Nixon, Elray S.; Willett, R. Larry. 1974. Vegetative analysis of the floodplain of the Trinity River, Texas. Contract No. DACW6-74-C-0030. Prepared for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District, Fort Worth, Texas. [Place of publication unknown]: [Publisher unknown]. 267 p. On file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. [20420] 28. Powell, J.; Zawl, H. T.; Crockett, J. J.; [and others]. 1979. Central Oklahoma rangeland response to fire, fertilization and grazing by sheep. Bulletin B-744. Stillwater, OK: Oklahoma State University, Agricultural Experiment Station, Division of Agriculture. 25 p. [1911] 29. Radford, Albert E.; Ahles, Harry E.; Bell, C. Ritchie. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press. 1183 p. [7606] 30. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843] 31. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species originating in northern Rocky Mountain forests. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; RWU 4403 files. 7 p. [20090] 32. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1982. National list of scientific plant names. Vol. 1. List of plant names. SCS-TP-159. Washington, DC. 416 p. [11573] 33. Wolters, Gale L. 1981. Timber thinning and prescribed burning as methods to increase herbage on grazed and protected longleaf pine ranges. Journal of Range Management. 34(6): 494-497. [9833]

FEIS Home Page