Plant Guide > Grasses > Tall Grama Grass

Tall Grama Grass


Bouteloua curtipendula (Michx.) Torr.

The Gramas, or Mesquites, are characteristic grasses of the Southwest, where they are a valued herbage of the ranges, but with the exception of two species that appear to have been introduced into Florida the Tall Grama is the only eastern member of the genus.

Tall Grama can hardly be classed among our common grasses of the Eastern States, yet the dense, leafy tufts are occasionally seen on dry hillsides and plains.

The plant blooms in midsummer and is easily recognized by the spreading or downward-pointing spikes of the long and narrow inflorescence, which for a short time is hung with anthers nearly as brilliant in colour as are the petals of the cardinal-flower.

Tall Grama. Side-oats. Racemed Bouteloua. Bouteloua curtipendula (Michx.) Torr.

Perennial, tufted.

Stem 1-3 ft. tall, erect. Sheaths loose, sparingly downy. Ligule a ring of short hairs. Leaves 3'-12' long, 1 "-2" wide.

Spike 8'-15' long, somewhat 1-sided, composed of 20-60 spreading or downward-pointing spikes 3"-8" long. Spikelets 1-flowered, 3 1/2"-5" long, in 2 rows on one side of the rachis. 4-12 spikelets in each spike. Outer scales roughish, acute, slightly unequal; flowering scales terminating in 3 short, awn-pointed teeth. Rachilla prolonged and bearing an awned rudiment of a second flower. Stamens 3, anthers red.

Dry soil. June to September.

Ontario and Manitoba, south to New Jersey, Kentucky, Texas, and California.