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Desert Botanical Garden Herbarium
Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Sporobolus giganteus - giant dropseed

Plant Form:Grass

Family: Poaceae

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  Grass Description -   Glossary of Grass Terminology

Origin: Native    Season: Warm
Habitat Description: Grasslands, woodlands, sandy hills, sandy areas along rivers and roadsides.
Plant Communities: Semidesert Grasslands, Pinyon Juniper Woodland, Riparian, Disturbed Areas
Elevation: 4000 - 6000 feet

General Description

Desc: Tall robust and coarse bunchgrass, 3 to 7 feet tall. Stems have thick bases and tufts of white hairs at the tips of the leaf sheaths.
Identification notes: Tall and robust perennial bunchgrass; wide blades; seedhead contracted, spike-like; sheaths conspicuously hairy on margins and collar; spikelets are pedicellate and laterally compressed, less than 1/8 inch long.
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: Aug - 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: Seedhead is a dense spike up to 2-1/2 feet tall that is usually included in the uppermost sheath. Branches are appressed or spreading and spikelet-bearing to the base. Spikelets have one fertile floret.

Vegetative Characteristics

Blade Hairy: N  Blade with White Margin: Y  Blade Cross Section: Flat or folded  
Blade Notes: Blades are 4 to 20 inches long and less than 1/2 inch wide. Leaves are flat, involute or folded and smooth with whitish margins and rough edges.
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 rounded and marked with longitudinal grooves; margins and tips have conspicuous tufts of hairs. Ligule is a ring of dense hairs.

Forage Value: Early growth provides considerable forage for livestock. However, palatability declines rapidly with maturity.

  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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