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Max Licher @
Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Pleuraphis mutica - tobosagrass

Synonyms: Hilaria mutica

Other Common Names: tobosa

Plant Form:Grass

Family: Poaceae

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John Kava
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John Kava
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Max Licher @
  Grass Description -   Glossary of Grass Terminology

Origin: Native    Season: Cool and Warm
Habitat Description: Dry, exposed, sandy or rocky slopes and plains, alluvial flats and swales, most abundant on heavy clay soils in swales that receive runoff water.
Plant Communities: Desert Scrub, Interior Chaparral, Semidesert Grasslands, Pinyon Juniper Woodland
Elevation: 2000 - 6000 feet

Similar Species: Pleuraphis jamesii

General Description

Desc: Coarse perennial bunchgrass to 2 feet tall. Grows from a coarse scaly rootstock. Stems spread out at the base and then curve upward. Seedhead is a spike of 3 clustered spikelets at each node. Grayish when mature.
Identification notes: Perennial, rhizomatous, slender wiry stems to 30 inches tall. Leaves mostly basal. Seedhead short spikes of 8 to 25 clusters of 3 spikelets that drop as a unit, leaving zig-zag seedhead stems. Hilaria jamesii has glumes that narrow toward the top.
Grass Type: Perennial mat or sod-forming  Rhizomes: Y  Stolons: N
Large Dense Clump (> 2 feet): Y  Bushy (highly branched): Y
Height with Seedheads: 12 to 24 inches
Seedhead Structure: Unbranched  Seedhead Droops: N
Flowering Period: Apr - 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: Spikelets sessile (stalkless) in groups of 3 attached to the central axis, groups fall off the axis as one. First glume on each lateral spikelet is fan-shaped.

Vegetative Characteristics

Blade Hairy: Y  Blade with White Margin: N  Blade Cross Section: Flat or involute  
Blade Notes: Blades to 6 inches long , stiff and hairless (occasionally with a few long hairs); mostly roughened with stout projections on both surfaces.
Sheath Hairy: N  Tuft of Hairs Top of Sheath or Collar: Y  Ligules: Membranous and hairy
Auricles (Ear-like lobes at base of blades): N
Vegetative Notes: Sheaths smooth, prominently veined, collar clothed with soft hairs or down on margins. Ligule is short, membranous, tattered with a few very short hairs.

Forage Value: Good to fair for cattle and horses, fair for sheep, poor for wildlife, becomes relatively unpalatable when mature. Due to its coarseness it is lightly utilized.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 8.0  
Last Updated: Feb 16, 2020  
Content Questions/Comments: Email Jeff Schalau  
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