Coefficient of Conservatism:
Coefficient of Wetness:
Open, mostly sandy or gravelly fields, juniper savannas, prairies, and roadsides; usually in dry settings, but occasionally on moister shores.
An attractive species in late summer through fall, it resembles Schizachyrium scoparium and sometimes grows with it, but can be distinguished superficially by the visibly expanded spathe-like sheath largely enclosing the racemes. Old stems and bracts take on striking coppery tints, and are very persistent and showy on sunny days late into the fall and even until next spring if not flattened by snow.
This species has clearly increased its range in recent times. It was found by the First Survey in Kalamazoo Co. in 1838, and is surely native, presumably on prairies and shores, but pre-1950 collections are known only from SW Michigan (Berrien, Cass, and Kalamazoo Cos., north to Muskegon Co.).