Light green to grey blades are flattened at base. Purple-blue to reddish brown stems. Waits 'til mid-summer to put up seed heads. Somewhat inconspicuous until it sets seed. Stems turn dark copper in the fall. The fluffy seed heads light up when backlit by the sun. Stems remain upright through winter. Tends to form colonies.
240,670 seeds/pound; start from seed or container; transplants fairly well.
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Prairie, abandoned fields, rail road edges, rocky slopes. Likes dryish areas.
Leaves are eaten by a variety of skipper caterpillars. Cover and seeds for sparrow and finch. Excellent forage grass for cattle.