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Forage Identification: Western wheatgrass

Department of Plant Sciences

Western wheatgrass  (Agropyron smithii (Rydb.) A. Love)

Adaptation:
Cool season, perennial, native rhizomatous grass. Often called "blue-joint" or "bluestem.".

 

Western wheatgrass

Growth Habitat:
Rhizomatous grass. Grows on a variety of soils and is moderately alkali tolerant. It prefers clay or clay loam soils.

Plant Characteristics:
Stems and leaves are usually blue-green. The leaves are flat when green and rolled when dry. Leaf blades are strongly ribbed and rough on the upper surface. The plant has a spike inflorescence. Glumes and lemmas are occasionally awn tipped.

Seed Characteristics:

Important Identifying Characteristics:
12 - 30 inches in height. Stems and leaves are usually blue green in color. The leaves are flat when green and rolled when dry. Leaf blades are strongly ribbed and rough on the upper surface.

Primary Uses:  
Grazing.


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