Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Western Wheatgrass (Agropyron smithii)
- Family: Grass (Poaceae)
- Flowering: May-August
- Field Marks: Agropyron smithii has rhizomes and blue-green leaves, some of which have inrolled margins. The spikelets usually have 6 or more flowers.
- Habitat: Fields, prairies; along railroads.
- Habit: Perennial grass with extensive creeping rhizomes.
- Stems: Erect, up to 4 feet tall, pale green to bluish, smooth.
- Leaves: Elongated, narrow, erect, up to 1/3 inch broad, rough to the touch on the upper surface, without hairs, the edges rolling inward as they dry.
- Flowers: Several in spikelets, with numerous spikelets crowded along either side of the main axis and placed sideways along the axis, up to 1 inch long, 6- to 12-flowered, the lemmas up to 1/2 inch long, pointed or even short-awned at the tip, smooth or slightly hairy.
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 3.
- Pistils: Ovary superior.
- Grains: Grains slightly hairy at the tip.
- Notes: This is a heavily grazed grass in the Great Plains. It is an important hay plant.
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