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Forage Identification: Blue Grama

Department of Plant Sciences

Blue grama  (Bouteloua gracilis (Willd. ex Kunth) Lag. ex Griffiths)

Adaptation:
Warm season perennial native grass. Adapted to a wide variety of soils; occurs more frequently on heavy upland soils. It tolerates drought and alkalinity, but not wet or poorly drained soils. Intolerant of shade and acidic soils.

 

Blue grama

Growth Habitat:
Plants have a prostrate growth habitat. It naturally grows in mixed stands, primarily with buffalograss (Bouteloua dactyloides), needle-and-thread ( Hesperostipa comata), western wheatgrass (Pascopyrum smithii), and green needlegrass (Nassella viridula)in a short grass prairie setting. Produces dense mat of fine fibrous roots.  Seed stalks vary from 8 to 15 inches in length.

Plant Characteristics:
Flowering stems are fine, smooth and erect. Leaf blades are narrow, tapered to a point and mostly basal. Sheaths are smooth and round with long, soft hairs at the collar. The ligule is truncated and has a fringe of hairs. Auricles are absent.

Seed Characteristics:

Important Identifying Characteristics:
Seed heads of Blue grama resemble a human eyebrow. Short, flat, lax leaf that tapers to a sharp point. Leaf light to medium green, sparsely pubescent on upper surface.

Primary Uses:
Pasture and erosion control.


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