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Patrick Alexander @http://swbiodiversity.org
Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Sporobolus airoides - alkali sacaton

Synonyms: Agrostis airoides

Plant Form:Grass

Family: Poaceae

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Patrick Alexander @http://swbiodiversity.org
Plant image

Patrick Alexander @http://swbiodiversity.org
  Grass Description -   Glossary of Grass Terminology

Origin: Native    Season: Warm
Habitat Description: Alkaline or saline soils in meadows and valleys, sandy soils of desert foothills or roadsides, and dry gravely slopes.
Plant Communities: Interior Chaparral, Semidesert Grasslands, Pinyon Juniper Woodland
Elevation: 2500 - 6500 feet

General Description

Desc: A robust bunchgrass, often with stems bent outward (decumbent) at the base; forms large, tough clumps; coarse, glossy roots, and culms(stems) which appear to be solid, especially near the base. Reproduction is by seeds and by tillers.
Identification notes: Large, tough clumps 1-1/2 to 3 feet tall, open inflorescences with pedicels(spikelet stems) less than 5mm long, upper glumes at least 2/3 as long as the florets, sheath apices smooth with a few scattered hairs.
Grass Type: Perennial bunchgrass  Rhizomes: N  Stolons: N
Large Dense Clump (> 2 feet): Y  Bushy (highly branched): N
Height with Seedheads: 24 to 36 inches
Seedhead Structure: Branched - open and spreading  Seedhead Droops: N
Flowering Period: Jun - Oct

Flower Characteristics

Number of Flowers per Spikelet: One-flowered  Spikelets One-sided: N
Awns: Absent   Three Awns: N  Awns Bent: N

Flower and Seedhead Notes: Loose and open, with widely spreading branches, half or more of the height of the plant which is 20 to 40 inches tall. Lemms 1-nerved. Appears to be one-flowered, 2nd flower is infertile.

Vegetative Characteristics

Blade Hairy: U  Blade with White Margin: U  Blade Cross Section: Flat or involute  
Blade Notes: Frequently minute salt crystal can be seen with a hands lens. Blades firm and fibrous, less than 1/16 inch wide, tapering to a fine tip, midrib is prominent.
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: Coarse, tough perennial 2 to 3-1/2 feet tall, growing in large, dense clumps, sheath often fringed on the margin.

Forage Value: Fair to good for large grazing animals, poor when dry.

  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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