EASTERN GAMAGRASS
File Size: 72 KB
 
Tripsacum dactyloides   (L. ) L.
Mitchell County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: 4-8 feet
Family: Poaceae - Grass Family
Flowering Period:   June, July, August, September
Culms: Erect or bent abruptly below, solid, glabrous, slightly flattened and purplish at bases.
Blades: Flat, 12 to 30 inches long, .25 to 1.25 inch wide, glabrous, midrib prominent; margins rough; tips tapered to long points.
Sheaths: Open, shorter than internodes, glabrous or sometimes hairy near ligules.
Ligules: Rings of short hairs.
Inflorescences: Spike-like branches, 1-4, 6 to 10 inches long.
Spikelets: Unisexual; staminate spikelets paired, 1/4 to 1/2 inch long; pairs in 2 rows on 1 side of flattened rachis at terminal ends of branches; pistillate spikelets embedded in lower 1/4 of branches, solitary, pear-shaped, 1/4 to 1/2 inch long, hard, bead-like; awns absent.
Habitat: Moist prairies, fertile bottomland, and stream banks.
Distribution: Principally east 2/3 of Kansas.
Forage Value: It is palatable and very nutritious for livestock. Cattle relish this grass and can eliminate it through overgrazing. Birds and small mammals consume the seeds.
Comments: Tufted from thick rhizomes; monoecious (male and female flowers occur at different locations on the same plant). It grows in clumps 1 to 4 feet in diameter. Eastern gamagrass is related to corn (Zea mays L.).

Eastern gama grass inflorescence
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Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Chase County, Kansas
Eastern gama grass inflorescence
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Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Chase County, Kansas
Eastern gama grass leaf blades
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Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Chase County, Kansas
Eastern gama grass pistillate spikelets
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Russell County, Kansas
Eastern gama grass staminate spikelets and anthers
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Eastern gama grass
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Eastern gama grass
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Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas