Plant Image
Herbarium specimen
Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Pleuraphis rigida - big galleta

Synonyms: Hilaria rigida

Plant Form:Grass

Family: Poaceae

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Herbarium specimen

ASU Vascular Plant Herbarium
Usage Rights: CC BY-NC (Attribution-Non-Commercial)
Plant image

Liz Makings @
  Grass Description -   Glossary of Grass Terminology

Origin: Native    Season: Cool and Warm
Habitat Description: Found in deserts, grasslands, pinyon juniper and rocky hills.
Plant Communities: Desert Scrub, Interior Chaparral, Semidesert Grasslands, Pinyon Juniper Woodland
Elevation: Below 4000 feet

General Description

Desc: Coarse tufted perennial grass up to 3 feet tall with a hard rhizomatous base. Stems trailing, spreading and branching at the base, becoming erect or ascending. Often appears as tufts or small clumps of stems from the rhizomes.
Identification notes: Rhizomatous perennial with stout woody, wooly stems and rigid seedhead spikes. P. rigida is easily distinguished from other Pleuraphis spp. in the region by its felty-pubescent lower stems and sheaths.
Grass Type: Perennial bunchgrass  Rhizomes: Y  Stolons: N
Large Dense Clump (> 2 feet): N  Bushy (highly branched): Y
Height with Seedheads: 24 to 36 inches
Seedhead Structure: Unbranched  Seedhead Droops: N
Flowering Period: Feb - Sep

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 rigid spike with groups of 3 directly attached awned spikelets. The 3 spikelets fall as a unit and leave a characteristic zig-zag naked seed stalk. Each spikelet has 2 to 4 florets; upper florets are sterile, lower florets are fertile.

Vegetative Characteristics

Blade Hairy: Y  Blade with White Margin: N  Blade Cross Section: Flat or involute  
Blade Notes: Leaf blades are 3/4 to 4 inches long, less than 1/5 inch wide, flat at the base and involute above, with the tip tapering to a rigid point. Leaves are generally sparsely to densely covered with downy hairs, especially near the ligule.
Sheath Hairy: Y  Tuft of Hairs Top of Sheath or Collar: Y  Ligules: Hairy
Auricles (Ear-like lobes at base of blades): N
Vegetative Notes: Sheaths are often covered with downy hairs. Tiny ligules are densely hairy.

Forage Value: Fair to poor; if like other grasses in this genus it is very tough and wiry when mature.

  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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