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Plant - fall
Rimrock Verde Valley
John Kava
Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Hilaria belangeri - curly-mesquite

Synonyms: Andropogon contortus, Hilaria texana, Hilaria cenchroides var. texana

Other Common Names: curleymesquite

Plant Form:Grass

Family: Poaceae

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Blades w/hairs

Rimrock Verde Valley John Kava
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Rimrock Verde Valley John Kava
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Rimrock Verde Valley John Kava
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Seedhead - young

Rimrock Verde Valley John Kava
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Node with hairs

Rimrock Verde Valley John Kava
  Grass Description -   Glossary of Grass Terminology

Origin: Native    Season: Cool and Warm
Habitat Description: Rocky slopes, dry hillsides and sandy plains.
Plant Communities: Desert Scrub, Interior Chaparral, Semidesert Grasslands, Pinyon Juniper Woodland
Elevation: 3000 - 6000 feet

General Description

Desc: A short leaved sodgrass; up to 1 foot tall with seedheads; stolons root at nodes. Light green, when fresh, golden when dry.
Identification notes: Stoloniferous; curly mass of short flat blades; seedhead 4 to 12 inches tall, 4 to 8 groups of 3 spikelets, two outer florets 2-flowered and staminate, center spikelet staminate and pistillate. Seedhead has zigzag pattern when spikelets fall.
Grass Type: Perennial mat or sod-forming  Rhizomes: N  Stolons: Y
Large Dense Clump (> 2 feet): N  Bushy (highly branched): N
Height with Seedheads: Less than 12 inches
Seedhead Structure: Unbranched  Seedhead Droops: N
Flowering Period: Mar - Oct

Flower Characteristics

Number of Flowers per Spikelet: Multi-flowered  Spikelets One-sided: N
Awns: Less than 1/4 inch   Three Awns: N  Awns Bent: N

Flower and Seedhead Notes: Seedheads rarely over 8 inches tall, consist of groups of papery 3-spikelet clusters that fall at maturity, leaving a zigzag stalk. Mid-nerves of the glumes extend into awns.

Vegetative Characteristics

Blade Hairy: Y  Blade with White Margin: N  Blade Cross Section: Flat  
Blade Notes: Flat, very fine, 3 to 5 inches long to 1/16 inch wide, becoming tightly curled as they cure, above surfaces sparsely soft-hairy, hairs nipple-like based, margins sparsely soft-hairy basally, with similar hairs.
Sheath Hairy: N  Tuft of Hairs Top of Sheath or Collar: N  Ligules: Membranous
Auricles (Ear-like lobes at base of blades): N
Vegetative Notes: Stolons are round in cross-section. Hairy nodes. Sheaths marked with slender, longitudinal grooves or lines, appearing striped, smooth without hairs; ligules to 1/16 inch, often torn or irregularly cleft.

Forage Value: Curly-mesquite is grazed all year by horses, cattle, sheep, goats, antelope, and deer.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 8.0  
Last Updated: Dec 13, 2022
Content Questions/Comments: Email Matt Halldorson  
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