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Grama Grass

Grama Grass

Grama Grass

Just what is a Grama? Can they be grown in any garden? How do they differ from grass in a typical lawn? What are the differences among various types of Gramas?grama grass, (genus Bouteloua), genus of about 50 species of annual or perennial grasses in the family Poaceae. Grama grasses are native mostly to North America, with a few species in Central and South America. The plants are important forage grasses, and several occasionally are grown as ornamentals.Sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula), blue grama (B. gracilis), black grama (B. eriopoda), and hairy grama (B. hirsuta) are some of the most important North American range species. Blue grama is sometimes cultivated for its attractive flower spikes, which can be dried for floral arrangements.

Grama

Blue grama is readily established from seed, but depends more on vegetative reproduction via tillers. Seed production is slow, and depends on soil moisture and temperature. Seeds dispersed by wind only reach a few meters (6 ft); farther distances are reached with insects, birds, and mammals as dispersal agents. Seedling establishment, survival, and growth are greatest when isolated from neighboring adult plants, which effectively exploit water in the seedling's root zone. Successful establishment requires a modest amount of soil moisture during the extension and development of adventitious roots.

This is an important, drought-resistant, short grass in the mixed prairies and throughout the Great Plains and the Southwest. It can be confused with Hairy Grama Grass (B. hirsuta), which is distinguished by a sharp point extending beyond the florets. A somewhat similar but shorter species, Buffalograss (B. dactyloides), is usually less than 6 inches (15 cm) high and is typical of dry, short-grass plains. Blue grama is commonly planted as a turfgrass mixed with Buffalograss. Great also for planting in a wildflower meadow and grows easily from seed. One of the most important forage grasses in native ranges.Former UMN Research Scientist Diane Narem and I determined 13 butterfly larvae feed on blue grama, including, many skippers, Ottoe, Leonards, Uncas, as well as Mead’s wood nymph and the garita skipperling. Grasshoppers and wild turkeys also feed on blue grama; bison love it as well. (Source:blog-yard-garden-news.extension.umn.edu)

 

 

 

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