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Plant - summer
V-Bar-V Ranch
John Kava
Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Sporobolus wrightii - big sacaton

Synonyms: Sporobolus airoides var. wrightii

Other Common Names: big sacaton, sacaton, giant sacaton, (Spanish: zacatón)

Plant Form:Grass

Family: Poaceae

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Plant image
Plant - summer

V-Bar-V Ranch John Kava
Plant image
Plant - summer

V-Bar-V Ranch John Kava
Plant image

V-Bar-V Ranch John Kava
Plant image

V-Bar-V Ranch John Kava
  Grass Description -   Glossary of Grass Terminology

Origin: Native    Season: Cool and Warm
Habitat Description: Heavier soils in lowland or wetland sites or seasonally flooded areas. Tolerant of highly alkaline and saline soil and poorly drained soils. Restricted to floodplains due to its need to access groundwater for survival.
Plant Communities: Riparian
Elevation: Below 6500 feet

General Description

Desc: A coarse, upright bunch grass that forms dense clumps and can grow from 3 to 8 feet tall. The pale flowers form in stiff, upright clusters.
Identification notes: Tall, densely clumping perennial. Blades flat or involute, rough margins. Sheath sparsely hairy behind the ligule. Seedhead narrow, branches appressed, spikelet bearing to the base. Spikelets one flowered, unequal glumes.
Grass Type: Perennial bunchgrass  Rhizomes: N  Stolons: N
Large Dense Clump (> 2 feet): Y  Bushy (highly branched): N
Height with Seedheads: Greater than 36 inches
Seedhead Structure: Branched - open and spreading  Seedhead Droops: N
Flowering Period: Mar - Nov

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: Primary seedhead branches spreading, secondary appressed; 8 to 24 inches long; 5 to 10 inches wide; seedhead stems exserted from base of plant; spikelets are 1/2 to 1 inch long, crowded, purplish or greenish. Fruits elliptical, reddish-brown or blackish.

Vegetative Characteristics

Blade Hairy: N  Blade with White Margin: N  Blade Cross Section: Flat  
Blade Notes: Blade margins are roughened with stout projections. Blades are up to 1 foot long and 1 to 2-1/2 inches wide. The bottom of blades are rough, top surfaces are smooth.
Sheath Hairy: Y  Tuft of Hairs Top of Sheath or Collar: N  Ligules: Hairy
Auricles (Ear-like lobes at base of blades): N
Vegetative Notes: Leaves sheathing at base, leaf sheath mostly open or loose. Sheath hairy near collar. Ligule a fringe of hairs.

Forage Value: A valuable forage species for livestock in arid and semi-arid regions.

  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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