Broom Sedge GrassIn similar locations, though less common in the North, is the Broom Sedge (Andropogon virginicus), which may be distinguished by an examination of the spikes; those of this species being borne in pairs or several together.
In the South this grass is much stouter, and on mountainsides and in lowlands it covers the fields with its rank growth. Aside from its value to the farmer in early summer, Broom Sedge, as its name indicates, finds later a more humble use in the household. Great handfuls of the stout stems are tied together, and when the hairy spikelets are beaten out, and the slender tips cut off, a serviceable, brush-like broom is ready for immediate use on hearth and floor.
Stiff, brown groups of Beard-grass and Broom Sedge remain standing through all the winter months, and are as easily recognized in March as they were in the preceding summer. Brilliant colours are rare when Nature is clothed in the dull brown of faded leaves, but these grasses, beneath their neutral tones, hold a colour more striking than in summer.
On a wintry day strip from the stem one of the dry sheaths. The inner surface glistens with colour varying from pale yellow to copper colour and bright orange-red, while in a closely related species of the South (Johnson Grass, Sorghum halepense) the long sheaths are lined with glowing crimson.