Broom Sedge Identification

Q: We are building a rural homestead display at Rock Eagle 4-H Center and using broom sedge for thatch and for brooms. Can you give me the scientific name of broom sedge?

A: It’s a grass, not a sedge, but broom sedge’s technical name is Andropogon virginicus. Most Southerners consider it a weed but I suppose it has its practical uses. I found it for sale on the Internet for $4.00 per plant. Many pasture owners in rural Georgia would be millionaires if they could find willing buyers at that price.

Broom sedge stems are too fragile to be used for an outdoor broom but they work tolerably well in old log cabins where you could sweep the dirt through the floorboards. My grandmother used a “bresh broom” made from dogwood twigs to sweep the sand by our back door when I was a kid. My mother remembers that that area was two inches lower than the nearby soil under our house, due to the daily sweepings Bubber performed.

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