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

Sporobolus contractus - spike dropseed

Synonyms: Sporobolus cryptandrus var. strictus, Sporobolus strictus

Plant Form:Grass

Family: Poaceae

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Plant - fall

Granite Mtn - Tr 308 John Kava
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Seedhead - mature

Granite Mtn - Tr 308 John Kava
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Granite Mtn - Tr 308 John Kava
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Sheath enclosing seedhead

Granite Mtn - Tr 308 Sue Smith
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Granite Mtn - Tr 308 Sue Smith
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Hairy sheath

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

Origin: Native    Season: Warm
Habitat Description: Dry open sandy or rocky slopes and washes, frequent along roadsides. Found occasionally in desert scrub, desert grasslands, and pinyon-juniper woodlands.
Plant Communities: Desert Scrub, Interior Chaparral, Semidesert Grasslands, Pinyon Juniper Woodland, Disturbed Areas
Elevation: 2500 - 6500 feet

Similar Species: Sporobolus cryptandrus, S. flexuosus

General Description

Desc: Tufted very erect perennial grass, stems 3 to 4 feet tall, small clusters to large clumps.
Identification notes: Tufted erect perennial up to 4 feet tall. Collar and ligule are hairy. Blades smooth, flat or involute. Seedhead contracted, dense, remains spikelike at maturity, basal portion enclosed in leaf sheath. Spikelets 1/16 inch long, one flowered, not awned.
Grass Type: Perennial bunchgrass  Rhizomes: N  Stolons: N
Large Dense Clump (> 2 feet): N  Bushy (highly branched): N
Height with Seedheads: Greater than 36 inches
Seedhead Structure: Branched - contracted  Seedhead Droops: N
Flowering Period: Jun - Sep

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: Seedhead dense and contracted, spikelike, typically less than 1/2 inch thick, 6 to 22 inches long. Sometimes the entire seedhead remains enclosed in the sheath. Glumes unequal.

Vegetative Characteristics

Blade Hairy: N  Blade with White Margin: Y  Blade Cross Section: Flat or involute  
Blade Notes: Blades 4 to 12 inches long, 1/8 to 1/2 inch wide, flat to rolled inward, tapering to a slender tip. Smooth on both surfaces, margins whitish, somewhat rough.
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 rounded below, margins sometimes hairy, hairs less than 1/8 inch long, tops with conspicuous tufts of hair; ligules 1/16 inch long.

Forage Value: Fair to good.

  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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