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Koeleria macrantha is a species in the Poaceae (Grass) family known by the common name Junegrass. It is native to much of North America, from Alaska to northern Mexico to the eastern United States. In California it is found from the coast to the mountains but is largely absent from the deserts and central valley. It occurs in a large number of habitat types, especially prairie. This is a short, tuft-forming perennial bunchgrass, reaching heights from 20 to 70 centimeters. The leaves are basal and up to about 20 centimeters long. The flower cluster is nearly cylindrical and may taper somewhat toward the tip. It holds shiny tan spikelets which are sometimes tinted with purple, each about half a centimeter long. It is a good forage for many types of grazing animals and is sometimes used in golf course rough.
June Grass is also known as Prairie Junegrass and Koeleria cristata. This native, widely-distributed prairie grass will flower earlier than many other upland prairie grasses. Its plumes of silvery-green seed heads turn tan by mid-summer. The foliage supporting these seeds is also an attractive green-gray color. June Grass actively grows during the spring and fall when soil temperatures are cool and likes full sun and dry, often sandy, soil. Its preference for dry, sunny conditions makes it a popular candidate for green roofs.Prairie junegrass is a native, perennial, cool season tufted bunchgrass found on rangelands, plains and open forestlands. It is usually 0.5- 2 feet tall. This is one of the first grasses to green-up in the early spring. It is found in a wide variety of native plant communities. It is used for reclamation, range improvement, and as an ornamental. Prairie Junegrass is best adaptable to deep, medium to moderately fine soil texture. Mostly found in elevations from 4,000 – 12,000 feet.
Junegrass is a perennial bunchgrass of moderate size. It has narrow leaves (blades) that form a mound 12-18 inches (30-45 cm.) tall and wide. Junegrass doesn’t form a spreading sod; it’s a bunch grass, retaining its clumping form throughout life. It has fibrous roots that reach a depth of 1-3 feet (to about 75 cm). While other native grasses have deeper roots, these are plenty deep to give Junegrass a water-wise edge over typical lawn grasses (which have roots only 6-8 inches deep). The roots also make Junegrass useful for holding soil on slopes. Prairie Junegrass is a cool season grass. In our part of Southern California, it begins growing with the fall/winter rains and becomes entirely dormant in the hot summer/fall months. True to its name, Junegrass blooms in late spring, usually between April and June in our area. The flowering stalk, which rises 12-18 inches above the leaves, begins as a narrow spike and gradually unfolds into a loose plume of flowers (see above). The flowers turn from purple-pink to gold over the course of several weeks. Once the flowers are pollinated (they are wind-pollinated) the flowering stalk ‘closes’ again. (Source: mother-natures-backyard.blogspot.com)