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Lopsided indiangrass is a robust and unique perennial bunchgrass. Throughout most of the year, it is rather indistinct. But in late summer, it produces tall, dramatic flower spikes. Each tiny flower is wrapped in bracts that are covered in soft, bronze to brown hairs, and bears a long, twisted, brownish-purple awn and bright yellow anthers. When lit by the sun, the colorful flowerheads flicker and flash. The entire inflorescence occurs on one side of the rachis, hence the common name “lopsided” indiangrass. Leaf blades are up to 2′ long. Leaf sheaths are covered in fine hairs.
Lopsided indiangrass typically blooms in late summer through fall. It occurs naturally in pinelands, sandhills and flatwoods. It is the larval host plant for the Delaware skipper, dusted skipper and swarthy skipper.
Family: Poaceae (also called Gramineae or true grasses)
Native range: Mostly throughout Florida
To see where natural populations of lopsided indiangrass have been vouchered, visit florida.plantatlas.usf.edu.
Hardiness: Zones 8–11
Soil: Moist to dry, well-drained soils
Exposure: Full sun to minimal shade
Growth habit: 2-3′ feet; up to 6′ tall when flowering
Propagation: Seed, division
Garden tips: Lopsided Indiangrass is primarily recommended for naturalistic landscapes and habitat restorations. It can also be incorporated into a wildflower garden, but should be used in the background where its height (when flowering) won’t obscure other wildflowers. It will self-seed slowly and will need to be cut back annually.
Lopsided Indiangrass seeds are available through the Florida Wildflower Cooperative. Plants are often available at nurseries that specialize in native plants. Visit PlantRealFlorida.org to find a native nursery on your area.