Sideoats Grama

Bouteloua curtipendula (Michx.) Torr. var. curtipendula



The largest of the Grama grasses, 18 to 40 inches or 45 to 100 cm tall stems grow from long, strong, scaly rhizomes. Evenly spaced hairs grow out of small, bulb-like spots on the lower margins of flat, bluish-green leaf blades. These straight, stiff, and mostly basal blades are up to 6 mm wide and 25 cm long.  The inflorescence has a zig-zag rachis reaching 16 inches or 40 cm with many (40 to 80) deciduous branches, each with 2 to 8 two-floret spikelets twisting around on one side when ripe making for easy identification.  Seeds resemble oats. Grows on a variety of sites. Mature seeds are produced several times dependent on rainfall from June to November. It decreases with heavy grazing. In 1971, Sideoats Grama was named the State Grass of Texas.  Sideoats Grama is a perennial, warm-season, native providing good grazing for livestock and poor forage for wildlife. Wild turkey and Bobwhite Quail eat the seed. 


Sideoats Grama is our country’s most widely distributed Bouteloua species. The grass grows well on a wide variety of soils, preferring fine-textured and moderately alkaline soils. It is less frequent in the western part of the state than the var. caespitosa.