blue·​stem ˈblü-ˌstem How to pronounce bluestem (audio)
: a tall North American grass (Andropogon gerardii synonym A. furcatus) that has smooth bluish leaf sheaths and slender spikes borne in pairs or clusters, is a dominant grass of the originally tallgrass prairies, and is used for hay and forage

called also big bluestem

compare sand bluestem

Examples of bluestem in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web No amount of blue vervain or bushy bluestem on a corporate campus will make even the slightest dent in Amazon’s cumulative carbon footprint — from its growing empire of data and fulfillment centers to the delivery-vehicle miles traveled — however sustainable its headquarters are advertised to be. Audrey Wachs, Curbed, 22 Feb. 2021 Native plants like bluestem grass, bayberry, and beach plum were cultivated to give texture and guide the sight lines. Chloe Schama, Vogue, 2 Mar. 2023 Little bluestem, a widespread prairie grass, grows from Mexico to Canada, and bison can tolerate temperatures ranging from –40 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Julia Rosen, The Atlantic, 25 July 2022 And bluestem and switch grass reach their maximum heights in September. Washington Post, 25 Mar. 2022 Feel the satiny fluff of butterfly weed gone to seed and the silky tufts of shoulder-high bushy bluestem. Chadd Scott, Forbes, 4 Oct. 2021 Perennials with fall foliage changes include switch grass and little bluestem, which can blush plum-purple, burgundy, or golden; the bluestem can get almost pinkish-lavender on its way to finishing warm mocha. Miri Talabac,, 30 Sep. 2021 As instructed, Matt chased after her, running flat-out to where the chest-high bluestem hit a mowed field. Alex Robinson, Outdoor Life, 4 Dec. 2020 Charging into the bluestem, Indiangrass and switchgrass that flourishes where corn and soybeans once grew, the two canines scoured the thick cover for pheasants. Star Tribune, 10 Oct. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bluestem.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1818, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of bluestem was in 1818

Dictionary Entries Near bluestem

Cite this Entry

“Bluestem.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


blue·​stem ˈblü-ˌstem How to pronounce bluestem (audio)
: either of two important grasses of North America with bluish leaf sheaths that are used to feed livestock

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