Bouteloua gracilis (Kunth) Lag. ex Griffiths - Blue Grama

Bouteloua gracilis plant

Family - Poaceae

Stems - No info yet.

Bouteloua gracilis nodeNode of stem.

Leaves - No info yet.

Bouteloua gracilis leaf baseLeaf base.

Bouteloua gracilis liguleArrow shows the minute ligule.

Inflorescence - No info yet.

Bouteloua gracilis spike

Flowers - No info yet.

Bouteloua gracilis spikelets

Flowering - July - September.

Habitat - Upland prairies, loess hill prairies, railroads.

Origin - Native to U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

Other info. - This little species is uncommon in Missouri and can only be found in three or four scattered counties. The plant is much more common in the Great Plains habitat to the west. The plant can be identified by its small size and alternating spikes of dense spikelets. The spikelets are sparsely hairy. Another species, B. hirsuta Lag., is very similar but has very hairy spikelets. In the prairies of the Great Plains, these two species can be found growing side-by-side. In Missouri, B. hirsuta is extremely uncommon and can be found in just one county.
All three species of Bouteloua in Missouri are considered some of the best native forage grasses for grazing animals.

Photographs taken at Tall Grass Prairie National Preserve, KS., 9-19-06.


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