BLUE GRAMA
File Size: 89 KB
 
Bouteloua gracilis   (Willd. ex Kunth) Lag. ex  Greenm.
Russell County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: 6 - 20 inches
Family: Poaceae - Grass Family
Flowering Period:   June, July, August
Culms: Erect, slender, solid, glabrous, often bent abruptly below.
Blades: Flat or rolled inward near tips, 1-7 inches long, very narrow, tapering, hairy or rough above, glabrous or slightly rough below.
Sheaths: Shorter than internodes, glabrous or sparsely soft-hairy, particularly on margins near ligule.
Ligules: Short fringe of hairs.
Inflorescences: Panicles; branches 1-3, .5 to 1.5 inch long, often strongly curved; rachis not projecting beyond spikelet-bearing portion of branch.
Spikelets: Numerous, 40-90 per branch, crowded, about 1/5 inch long, on short, minutely pubescent stalks; florets 1 per spikelet, perfect; glumes unequal; lemmas with 1-3 short awns.
Habitat: Found on dry prairies, particularly in sandy or gravelly soils; not found on wet, poorly drained soils.
Distribution: Throughout except southeast corner.
Reproduction: Mat forming. Reproduces primarily via tillers.
Forage Value: Palatable and nutritious for livestock but provides low forage productivity. Blue grama will withstand moderately heavy grazing.
Comments: Blue grama does not tolerate shade. It will survive extreme drought, reviving quickly when suitable conditions return. As blue grama seed heads mature, they bend into an eyebrow-like curve.
 Blue grama is quite similar to hairy grama but can be distinguished by the lack of seed spikes projecting beyond the comb.

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