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Forage Identification: Crested wheatgrass

Department of Plant Sciences

Crested wheatgrass  (Agropyron cristatum (L.) Gaertn.)

Cool season perennial grass. Adapted to a wide range of soils in areas where rainfall is 8 to 16 inches. Tolerates drought, cold temps and fire; but not prolonged flooding, poor drainage or low salt.


Crested wheatgrass

Growth Habitat:
Bunch growth habitat, but some types produce rhizomes under wetter soil conditions.

Crested wheatgrass

Plant Characteristics:
Leaf blades are flat, with a smooth surface below and slightly rough surface above. Leaves are rolled in whorl. The sheath usually is smooth but occasionally hairy. The ligule is membrane like with irregularly shaped edges. Auricles are slender and clawlike.  Stems grow upright and are smooth. Fibrous root system.

Crested wheatgrass

Seed Characteristics:

Important Identifying Characteristics: 
Spikelets distinctly flatwise to the rachis. Dark green color befor maturity. Minute auricle. Flower clusters within the spike are flattened and closely overlapping.


Primary Uses:
Pasture and hay.

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