Prairie dropseed

Prairie Dropseed

Scientific Name

Sporobolus heterolepis







Endangered Status


Number of Recorded Individuals at the Zoo


Prairie dropseed

More Information

Physical Description

Prairie dropseed is a fine-textured grass with green leaves that form an arching mound. The plant’s pink and brown flowers emit a unique fragrance and bloom in late summer. This perennial prefers average, dry, well-drained soil in full sun and is useful in native gardens, foundation plantings, and mass plantings. Prairie dropseed benefits many animals, providing seeds for birds in late summer through winter and housing small mammals that dig burrows in its foliage. Two uncommon leafhopper species depend on the plant to complete their life cycle.

Native Range

North America

USDA Hardiness Zone


Average Mature Height

3 feet

Flower Color

Pink and brown

Flowering Months

August– October


Birds and small mammals

Second Saturday Garden Tours

Join fellow nature lovers for a free, guided tour of Lincoln Park Zoo’s diverse plant life and ecosystems. During each tour, a zoo horticulturist will point out interesting species in bloom, answer questions from guests, and discuss the horticulture program’s past, present, and future.

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An Accredited Arboretum

In 2019, Lincoln Park Zoo earned Level II arboretum accreditation in recognition of the Horticulture staff’s ongoing effort to identify, label, and monitor the more than 330 species of trees, shrubs, and woody plants represented across the 49-acre park.