Plant Image
Plant - summer
Granite Mtn - Tr 308
Sue Smith
Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Pascopyrum smithii - western wheatgrass

Synonyms: Agropyron molle, Agropyron smithii, Elymus smithii, Elytrigia smithii

Other Common Names: bluestem, bluestem wheatgrass

Plant Form:Grass

Family: Poaceae

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Plant - fall

Granite Mtn - Tr 308 Sue Smith
Plant image
Seedhead - fall

Granite Mtn - Tr 308 Sue Smith
Plant image
Seedhead - summer

Granite Mtn - Tr 308 Sue Smith
  Grass Description -   Glossary of Grass Terminology

Origin: Native    Season: Cool
Habitat Description: Found on dry alkaline flats, slopes and in open ponderosa pine forests.
Plant Communities: Interior Chaparral, Semidesert Grasslands, Pinyon Juniper Woodland, Montane Conifer Forest
Elevation: 3000 - 9000 feet

Similar Species: Leymus triticoides

General Description

Desc: Stiff tall grass, often forming mats via creeping rhizomes. Leaves waxy and bluish-green in color. Seedhead is a tight spike, also bluish-green in color. Greens up in spring and starts to flower in early June.
Identification notes: Erect to 36 inches. Blades mostly basal, prominent veins on upper surface. Auricles < 1/16 inch, ligule membranous. Seedheads unbranched, 2 to 12 spikelets of 5 to 12 florets; upper glume exceeds lower. L. triticoides,, 2 spikelets per node.
Grass Type: Perennial mat or sod-forming  Rhizomes: Y  Stolons: N
Large Dense Clump (> 2 feet): N  Bushy (highly branched): N
Height with Seedheads: 24 to 36 inches
Seedhead Structure: Unbranched  Seedhead Droops: N
Flowering Period: May - Aug

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: Seedhead is a spike 2 to 6 inches long with one fertile spikelet per node, occasionally in sterile pairs at lower nodes. Each spikelet has 5 to 12 florets.

Vegetative Characteristics

Blade Hairy: N  Blade with White Margin: N  Blade Cross Section: Flat or involute  
Blade Notes: Stiff thin blades are 4 to 10 inches long. Upper surface is furrowed with 7 to 14 ridges, blades taper to a slender point and are rough on top and smooth below. Blades are covered with a waxy bluish-green coating.
Sheath Hairy: Y  Tuft of Hairs Top of Sheath or Collar: N  Ligules: Membranous
Auricles (Ear-like lobes at base of blades): Y
Vegetative Notes: Sheaths are smooth to rough; collar is open with short clasping auricles and purplish in color. Ligule is tiny and membranous.

Forage Value: Good for all classes of livestock, fair for wildlife. Cures well, making good dormant season forage.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 8.0  
Last Updated: Nov 21, 2021
Content Questions/Comments: Email Mary Barnes  
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