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From the collection of the 

z n 
z m 







San Francisco, California 


Prepared by 

U. S. Department of Agriculture 



For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D. C. Price $3.00 (Cloth) 


Washington, D. C. Issued March 1937 


Prepared, under immediate supervision of W. A. DAYTON, in charge Range 
Forage Investigations, Division of Range Research, by THOMAS LOMMASSON, 
Senior Range Examiner, and BARRY C. PARK, Assistant Range Examiner, 
Northern Region; CHARLES A. KUTZLEB, Assistant Forester, Rooky Mountain 
Region; ODELL JULANDER, Assistant Range Examiner, Southwestern Region; 
ARNOLD R. STANDING, Inspector of G-razing 1 , Jntermountain Region; SELAR S. 
HTJTCHINGS, Assistant Forest Ecologist, Intermountain Forest and Range 
Experiment Station; LLOYD W. SWIFT, Associate Range Examiner, California 
Region; EDWARD P. CLIFF, Associate Range Examiner, Northern Pacific 
Region; DORIS W. HAYES, Assistant Forest Ecologist; MIRIAM L. BOMHARD, 
Botanist, Forest Service. Technical review by W. R. CHAPLINE, Chief, 
Division of Range Research; R. R. HILL, Assistant Chief, Division of Range 
Management; LINCOLN ELLISON, Associate Range Examiner, Northern Rocky 
Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Forest Service. 1 


Introduction i-rv Range weeds WltoW213 

Grasses GltoG125 Browse Bl to B157 

Grasslike plants GL1 to GL17 Index v-xxvi 


Repeated requests from field officers of the Forest Service for an accurate 
publication, readily consumable under field conditions, in as simple language 
as possible, which could be assembled as desired, and be easily revised, were 
the genesis of this loose-leaf range-plant handbook. Its intended audience 
is primarily busy field administrative men who are not specialists in botany; 
its chief purpose is twofold: (l)To evaluate for such persons, in as succinct, 
understandable, complete, and useful form as possible, the relative importance 
of some 300 or more of the outstanding "key" plants of western ranges as 
regards grazing, watershed protective cover, recreational, and other uses ; and 
(2) to enable the ready field identification of these plants in order to insure 
the correlation of the proper management data with each species. 

1 Illustrations prepared by Leta Hughey, and, under her supervision, by Elnor L. 
Keplinger, Gene Walker, Margaret Austin, Hermione Dreja, Harold W. Sentiff, and Elsie 
L. Pomeroy. 

2 It will be noted that there are certain gaps in the symbols for the write-ups of 
individual genera and species included in this handbook. These gaps are explained in 
the introduction which follows. 


Altogether, there are 728,000,000 acres of range lands in the West, inhabited 
naturally by over 1,200 genera and 10,000 species of flowering plants. The 
economic and social significance of this range vegetation challenges compre- 
hension. While this handbook is chiefly representative of mountain ranges 
typical of the western national forests, many of the genera and species dis- 
cussed occur also on the enormous areas of other and lower ranges. 

Nearly every phase of range management is intimately associated with a 
knowledge of the range plants, their requirements, life history, and forage 
value. Proper grazing capacity of range lands, periods and degrees of use, 
and class of livestock to which a particular range is best suited are determined 
largely by the character and composition of the range vegetation and the life 
habits and values of the plants themselves. Indications of overgrazing cannot 
be properly interpreted by and frequently are not discernible to persons un- 
familiar with the plant cover. Recognition of the important forage plants, 
combined with knowledge of the extent to which each can be properly grazed, 
are essential to proper range use. Range fencing and salting are undertaken 
chiefly because of local forage conditions. Poisonous plants, unless recognized 
and guarded against, menace the welfare of herds and flocks. Soil protection, 
soil erosion, and supply of water for domestic use, as well as for irrigation 
and hydroelectric power, are all intimately correlated with mountain range 
vegetative cover. Timber values are involved ,iu numerous ways, as the compo- 
sition, quantity, and quality of range vegetation frequently are closely asso- 
ciated with injuries to timber reproduction by domestic livestock, rodents, and 
other agencies, as well as with the harboring of .insect pests and pathogenic 
organisms. Furthermore, the recreational importance of many localities is 
intimately interwoven with the beauty of the local flora or with its food value 
for local wildlife. 

No book or group of publications provide this precise information required 
by the range administrator. Large sections of the western range country 
(e. g., Idaho and Arizona) are not treated, at present, in botanical manuals. 
In his identifications the field man must depend on fragmentary works, few 
of which are illustrated, usually either couched in unfamiliar technical 
phraseology or so generalized and inadequate as to be almost worthless for 
his purpose. For economic, ecological, and miscellaneous information he must 
search even farther and generally with less success. 

For his convenience the range plant handbook employs a novel method 
whereby the technical, diagnostic parts of a plant are portrayed in a manner 
readily comprehensible by a person untrained in botany. To the right of 
each illustration are the key diagnostic characters. This arrangement enables 
the reader to grasp clearly the essential morphological characters of species. 

This handbook presents 339 generic and specific write-ups incorporated with 
which, however, are notes on over 500 additional species. The main treat- 
ments include 98 grasses, 8 grasslike plants (chiefly sedges and rushes), 137 
range weeds (nongrasslike herbs), and 96 browse plants. Because of the 
loose-leaf stmcture of this handbook, the text and illustrations are not paged. 
Each plant discussion has its own symbol (Gl, G2, etc., for grasses; GL1, 
GL2, etc., for grasslike plants; Wl, W2, etc., for range weeds; and Bl, B2, 
etc., for browse). Gaps which appear in the symbol sequences are by way 
of provision for the possible future inclusion of some 173 other plants of 
material range importance. 


The information upon which the articles in this handbook are based was 
gleaned from both published and unpublished data of the Forest Service, as 
well as from many other sources. One very important source is the Forest 
Service range plant herbarium containing 80,000 annotated specimens, un- 
questionably the richest single storehouse of information on western montane 
vegetation. This herbarium is the result of a fairly systematic collection 
of annotated range plant specimens, by about 1,300 Forest Service officers, in- 
augurated by James T. Jardine as the first chief of range research in the 
Forest Service. Much of the annotated material with these specimens is the 
result of intensive field investigations by special grazing men both in ad- 
ministration and research. The specimens themselves have been identified 

Under the direction of Dr. Frederick V. Coville, Bureau of Plant Industry. 
The majority of the determinations, aside from grasses, have been made by 
the late Dr. E. L. Greene (1908-15) and Ivar Tidestrom. (1915-35). Grasses 
have been identified by the late Prof. A. S. Hitchcock, Mrs. Agnes Chase, and 
assistants; the late Kenneth D. Mackenzie check-identified the sedges; Dr. 
Coville determined most of the rushes, currants, gooseberries, and blueberries ; 
Dr. C. R. Ball, most of the willows; Dr. S. F. Blake, many composites; 
W. W. Eggleston and Dr. C. P. Smith, lupines; Dr. F. W. Pennell, numerous 
Scrophulariaceae ; and the late Dr. C. V. Piper, many plants from eastern 
Oregon and Washington. Other Forest Service sources include a booklet of 
grass notes (1914)), Dr. Arthur W. Sampson's Important Range Plants (1917), 
and Dayton's Important Western Browse Plants (1931) ; also unpublished 
notes on upwards of S.OOO species, palatability tables developed by numerous 
range reconnaissance parties, and unpublished manuscripts on western range 
weedg ("forbs", or nongrasslike herbs) and on Southwestern range plants. 

The more outstanding and most frequently consulted of over 400 publica- 
tions, outside those of the Forest Service, used in connection with the 
preparation of this handbook include the following: 

Coulter, Botany of Western Texas (1891-94). 

Howell, A Flora of Northwest America (1897-1903). 

Lyons, Plant Names Scientific and Popular (1900). 

Rydberg, Catalogue of the Flora of Montana and the Yellowstone National Park (1900). 

Blankinship, Native Economic Plants of Montana (1905). 

Knight, Hepner, and Nelson, Wyoming Forage Plants and their Chemical Composition 

(I papers, 1905-11). 
Rydberg, Flora of Colorado (1905). 
Piper, Flora of Washington (1900). 

Coulter and Nelson, New Manual of Botany of the Central Rocky Mountains (1909). 
Thornber, The Grazing Ranges of Arizona (1910). 
Schneider, Pharmacal Plants and their Culture (1912). 

Wooton and Standley, The Grasses and Grass-like Plants of New Mexico (1912). 
Wooton and Standley, Flora of New Mexico (1915). 
Rydberg, Flora of the Rocky Mountains and Adjacent Plains (1917). 
Hitchcock, The Genera of Grasses of the United States, with Special Reference to the 

Economic Species (1920). 

Standley, Trees and Shrubs of Mexico (1920-26). 
Youngken, A Textbook of Pharmacognosy (1921). 
Hadwen and Palmer, Reindeer in Alaska (1922). 
Abrams, An Illustrated Flora of the Pacflc States (1923). 
Jepson, A Manual of the Flowering Plants of California (1923-25). 
Piper, Forage Plants and their Culture (1924). 
Tidestrom, Flora of Utah and Nevada (1925). 
Sampson and Chase, Range Grasses of California (1927). 
Wilson, The Artificial Reseeding of New Mexico Ranges (1931). 
Rydberg, Flora of the Prairies and Plains of Central North America (1932). 
Bailey, The Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture (1933). 
Saunders, Western Wild Flowers and their Stories (1933). 
Silveus, Texas Grasses (1933). 
Stuhr, Manual of Pacific Coast Drug Plants (1933). 

The grass nomenclature in the handbook is in accord with that of Hitch- 
cock's Manual of Grasses of the United States (1935). For data on poisonous 
plants the copious literature of Pammel, Marsh, Chesnut, Clawson, Roe, Couch, 
Beath, Fleming, Glover, and other specialists was freely used. 

Ethnobotanical notes on plants used by American Indians were obtained 
chiefly from the works of Chesnut, Coville, Geyer, Gilmore, Harrington, Havard, 
Palmer, Robbins, Russell, Standley, and Stevenson. Pellett's publications on 
American honey plants, outstanding in that field, have been freely drawn 

Palatability of Range Plants 

The use of the term "palatability", as found in this publication, is in 
accordance with the usage of national-forest grazing surveys, and has been 
defined 3 as 

the degree to which the herbage within easy reach of stock is grazed when a range is 
properly utilized under the best practicable range management. The percentage of the 
readily accessible herbage of a species that is grazed when the range is properly utilized 
determines the palatability of the species. 

* United States Department of Agriculture, ITorest Service. INSTRUCTIONS FOR GRAZING 
SURVEYS ON NATIONAL FORESTS. 40 pp., illus. (Mimeographed.) 1935. 

Palatability applies to the growing season of the vegetation in which the 
species in question occurs and, in some cases, to the yearlong season. The 
following palatability tabulation has been followed in this work: 

Percent Percent 

Practically worthless 5 Good 55 to 70 

Poor 5 to 15 Very good 75 to 85 

Fair 20 to 35 Excellent DO and over 

Fairly good 40 to 50 

There are numerous available records to the effect that species are grazed 
in greater degree than that shown in this handbook. Where investigation has 
shown that such records indicate overgrazing, they have been ignored or 
properly discounted. 


The scientific (Latin) nomenclature adopted is in accordance with that used 
in the Bureau of Plant Industry, U. S. Department of Agriculture. Readers 
who seek an introduction to Latin plant nomenclature should consult such 
works as Hitchcock's Descriptive Systematic Botany (1925), Swingle's A 
Textbook of Systematic Botany (1928), and Pool's Flowers and Flowering 
Plants (1929). Synonymous names are shown only so far as usage in the 
common western manuals is concerned. Latin plant names in quotation 
marks, followed by the phrase "not ", indicate that the 

Name of author 
name is valid but misapplied to the plant under discussion. 

There are obvious advantages in having the English nomenclature of im- 
portant plants standardized, so far as that is now feasible. In this work the 
standard authorities of the Department of Agriculture have been consulted, 
namely, Sudworth's Check List of the Forest Trees of the United States, 
Their Names and Ranges; Standardized Plant Names, and the list of 
preferred plant names spellings in the Style Manual of the Government 
Printing Office. Some of the plants discussed in this publication have had 
no well-established or acceptable English name; this work attempts to correct 
that situation, and several new English plant names appear here for the first 
time in print. 


An attempt has been made in these articles to assist the reader in the 
pronunciation of scientific plant names by the insertion of accent marks. 
An excellent discussion of this subject, in simple language, appears in a book 
by Prof. L. H. Bailey* in the section Pronunciation (pp. 132-136, of the 
chapter entitled "The Names and the Words", op. oit.). 

Broadly speaking, there is no single standard way of pronouncing scientific 
plant names. There are two general methods of pronouncing such names in 
this country : The English, and the continental European methods. The latter 
method (which attempts to restore, insofar as is possible, the original Latin 
pronunciation) has more world-wide use and is adopted here. There are three 
main rules of Latin pronunciation: (1) Words of two syllables are accented 
on the first syllable, thus: Lo'ttis, Phle'tim, Pl'nus, Ro'sa, Ru'bus; (2) Words 
of more than two syllables are accented on the next to the last syllable 
(penult) if that is long, thus: BalsamorM'za, Ciau'ta, Solidci'go, Zyyade'nus; 
(3) The accent falls on the third syllable from the last (antepenult) if the 
penult is short, thus: Amelan'cM-er, E'phe-dra, Juni'pe-rus, Paeo'nl-a. Notes 
on Latin vowel quantities are available in any Latin grammar. 

4 Bailey, L. H. HOW PLANTS GET THEIR NAMES. 209 pp., illus. New York. 1933. 



Agropy'ron spp. 

The wheatgrasses form a genus of about 35 species widely dis- 
tributed in temperate climates. Approximately two-thirds of these 
species occur in the Western States, with Colorado apparently their 
center of distribution. Wheatgrasses are erect perennials belonging 
to the barley tribe (Hordeae), a tribe of the greatest economic 
importance, as it includes such grains as wheat, rye, and barley, 
as well as many highly important range and meadow plants. 

The wheatgrasses rank very high as range plants, especially in 
the western United States where they are widely distributed and 
often abundant. In general, sheep prefer the herbage of these 
grasses while the plants are still young and succulent, but also 
eagerly devour the seed heads of the unbearded or short-awned 
species. Practically all species are continuously palatable to cattle 
and horses and make excellent winter forage. In the Southwest, 
the wheatgrasses when young and tender are grazed slightly by 
deer, but when mature are spurned by these game animals. This 
probably holds true in other parts of the country. Elk graze the 
wheatgrasses to a somewhat greater degree than deer; buffalo or 
bison prefer certain species, usually bluebunch wheatgrass (A. 
spieatwm) , as winter forage. Slender wheatgrass (A. pauciflorum) , a 
native species extensively grown as a hay crop, appears to have been 
the first native American grass to be cultivated. Crested wheatgrass 
(A. cristatum) introduced from Siberia, shows promise for re vege- 
tating depleted range lands in the cooler portions of the mountain 
and Great Plains States. 

For many years botanists considered the wheatgrasses and wheat 
(Triticwm) as belonging to the same genus, and the older species 
of Agropyron were originally placed under Triticwn. No doubt 
the common name, wheatgrass, was applied because of the resem- 
blance of many of the agropyrons to wheat. The scientific name 
(from Greek, agros, a field, and pyfros, wheat) is another reminder 
of this close resemblance and relationship. 

The heads (spikes) of wheatgrasses are commonly rather dense, 
erect, and either conspicuously bearded (awned), short-awned, or 
without awns, in general resembling the heads of wheat. Individual 
flower clusters (spikelets) are three- to many-flowered, without indi- 
vidual stalks (sessile), solitary or rarely in pairs at each joint of 
the somewhat zigzag axis (rachis) of the spike. The rachis, al- 
though jointed, does not break apart at these joints save in a few 
exceptional cases, and the lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) re- 
main attached to the stem after the seed falls. In the cases of 
three western species, rock wheatgrass (A. saxicola), spreading 
wheatgrass (A. scribnem), and Saunders wheatgrass (A. saimdersii, 
syn. ElymMS saundersii), however, the rachis tardily disarticulates. 
Such species show a transition toward the related squirreltails 
(Sitamon spp.). Rock wheatgrass and Saunders wheatgrass are 
also remarkable among wheatgrasses in that their spikelets often oc- 
cur in pairs at the rachis joints and the glumes are somewhat bristle- 

like and prolonged into awns. In rock wheatgrass, a densely tufted 
perennial with thick heads up to 5 inches long, occurring sparsely 
on mountain slopes in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and California, 
the awns are divergent, those of the glumes being from three- 
fourths of an inch to 2 inches long. In this species the lemmas, or 
outer flower bracts, bear divergent awns from about three-sixteenths 
to three-fourths of an inch long. In Saunders wheatgrass, a species 
locally distributed in western Colorado and eastern Utah, the pur- 
plish, erect heads are from about 3 to 6 inches long and the awns 
are straight. The awns of the lemmas are from three-eighths to 
nine-sixteenths of an inch long and those of the glumes are from 
three-fourths of an inch to l 1 /^ inches long. Spreading wheatgrass 
is a densely tufted perennial with thick, bearded heads up to 3 inches 
long. It occurs typically on rocky slopes in the high mountains 
from Montana and Idaho to California and New Mexico and is 
relatively unimportant as a range forage plant. 

Quackgrass (A. repens), a perennial, is native to Europe but 
widely distributed in the United States and is on the increase in 
the West. It is frequently a pernicious weed in many agricultural 
lands but is valuable as a range plant, and constitutes a good soil- 
binder for railway embankments and other cuts or slopes. It serves 
as a satisfactory hay plant for 2 or 3 years but then becomes sod 
bound. Quackgrass is rather coarse with bright yellowish green, 
scaly rootstocks which contain considerable sugar and triticin, a 
carbohydrate similar to inulin, valuable for treatment of kidney 

Some species of wheatgrass, notably bluestem (A. smithii) and 
quackgrass, are often infected with ergot. This poisonous fungus 
replaces the "seeds" with black or purplish club-shaped bodies. 
If the infested heads are consumed by livestock, illness and possibly 
death result, although comparatively large dosages are required. 
The symptoms of ergotism naturally assume two forms: (1) The 
gangrenous form, and (2) the nervous, or spasmodic form. In the 
first there are coldness and anesthesia (lack of feeling) of the ex- 
tremities, including the feet, ears, and tail of quadrupeds ; the comb, 
tongue, and beak of birds followed by the appearance of passive 
congestion, blebs (blisters), and dry gangrene in the vicinity of 
these parts, the hoofs and beak often dropping off. In the nervous, 
or spasmodic, form are seen toxic contraction of the flexor tendons 
of the limbs and anesthesia of the extremities; muscular trembling 
and general tetanic spasm, with opisthotonos (bending backward 
of the body), convulsions, and delirium. Death ensues, in both 
forms, from general exhaustion. 1 



Iowa. 1910-11. 



Agropy'ron crista'tum 

Flower heads (spikes)-^solitary, at ends of 
stalks, mostly IK to 3 in. long, very densely 
flowered except for occasional interruption near 
base, often nodding . 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) much 
flattened, closely overlapping, about % in. apart, 
spreading, placed flatwise at angles of the 
slightly zigzag, hairy flower-head axis (rachis), 
without hairs to shaggy-hairy, K to % in. long 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) firm, 
keeled, tapering into a short bristle (awn) 

Leaves flat, smooth below, slightly harsh 

Stalks (culms) erect, in dense tufts, 24 to 40 
in. high, leafy 

Outer flower bract (lemma) somewhat 
abruptly narrowed into a short awn 

Roots fibrous, extensive; rootstocks lacking 

As Westover 1 and others have pointed out, crested wheatgrass, a hardy, 
long-lived perennial bunchgrass, has been introduced into the United States 
from its native cold, dry plains of Siberia and Russia in an attempt to obtain 
a pasture and hay grass well suited to the severe growing conditions of our 
semiarid northern Great Plains and perhaps also useful for certain foothill and 
mountain range lands of the West. The species is a member of a genus note- 
worthy for palatability and nutritiousness and as range plants. 

Crested wheatgrass is remarkable for its tolerance of extreme temperatures, 
particularly cold, and for very early spring growth. It naturally inhabits soils 
of a great variation in texture, ranging from sandy loam to heavy clay. West- 
over (op. cit.) has indicated that crested wheatgrass is especially well adapted 
to our northern Great Plains, and that it is considered "one of the most 
promising dry-land grasses for eastern Oregon and Washington and north- 
eastern California." It is reported to give good results as a pasture crop 
in Colorado at altitudes of about 5,000 feet. It does not appear to be very 
promising for the southern part of the United States, except possibly at the 
higher altitudes of the mountain range country. 

In recent range reseeding trials 2 only thin stands of crested wheatgrass were 
obtained at 7,400 feet elevation in the oak zone in central Utah and at 7.600 
feet elevation in southwestern Colorado; and not more than a fair stand was 
obtained in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in northern Colorado. In 
these localities smooth brorne (Bronws inermis) proved somewhat better 
than crested wheatgrass. On the whole, the species seems better adapted 
for plains and lower foothills of the North, rather than for the South or for 
the higher foothills and mountain ranges generally, or where rainfall is 
appreciably in excess of about 17 inches per annum. 

Crested wheatgrass is highly palatable to all classes of livestock and its 
hay compares favorably with that of the native bluestem (A. smithii) in 
palatability. At most stages of its growth, analyses thus far made appear 
to indicate that it has a somewhat higher protein content than either slender 
wheatgrass (A. pcwiciflorum) or smooth brome; and there is no doubt but that 
it is a highly nutritious species, whether in pasturage or hay. Its fine stems 
make excellent hay which cures quickly and well, and is readily eaten by all 
classes of livestock, horses being particularly fond of it. The best quality 
of hay is obtained if the grass is cut shortly after blooming. In the northern 
Great Plains, crested wheatgrass is used in combination with other grasses or 
legumes, which provide more feed during the hot weather when this wheatgrass 
is dormant. It starts growth earlier in the spring and, when moisture is 
available, continues to grow later in the fall than most of the other grasses 
with which it is grown, thus prolonging the grazing season. Westover (op. 
cit.) has called attention to the usefulness of this species for seeding rights-of- 
way along northern highways, where a permanent growth is needed to con- 
trol coarse weeds, and for dry-land lawns, golf courses, and airports where 
finer turf grasses cannot be maintained. 

Although crested wheatgrass is tender in the seedling stage and requires 
favorable conditions for germination and early growth, once established it is 
very resistant to both cold and drought. This characteristic seems to be corre- 
lated with its extensive root system, which permits storage of abundant 
food reserves as well as ready utilization of water when available. During 
hot, dry spells the grass becomes dormant but resumes growth with cooler 
weather and more favorable moisture conditions. It is a vigorous seeder, yields 
well, and the seeds ripen while the plants are still green. The seeds are about 
half as large as those of slender wheatgrass. Those of some plants have pro- 
nounced bristles (awns) while others are practically awnless. Awnless seed 
is preferable for planting. For further details respecting the use of this 
valuable species the reader is referred to United States Department of 
Agriculture Leaflet 104, above mentioned. 

1 Westover, H. L. CRESTED WHEATGRASS. U. S. Dept. Agr. Leaflet 104, 8 pp., illus. 

RANGE LANDS. U. S. Dept. Agr. Circ. 178, 48 pp., illus. 1931. 



Agropy'ron dasystach'yum, syns. A. dasystach' yum subvillo' sum, A. lanceola'- 
tum, A. subvillo' sum, A. yukonen'se 

Flower heads (spikes) terminal, erect, up to 
7 in. long, the individual flower groups (spike- 
lets) rather distant to crowded 

Spikelets up to 8-flowered, rounded or slightly 
flattened, placed flatwise at the angles of the 
slightly zigzag flower-head axis (rachis), up to 
% in. long 

Outer flower bract (lemma) hairy or only 
harsh, pointed at tip or short-bristle-pointed 
(awned), about % in. long 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) lanco- 
shaped, sharp or awn-pointed, smooth to 
slightly hairy; 1st glume narrow, about # in. 
long, 3- to 5-veined; 2d glume broader, longer, 
5- to 7-veined 

Leaves narrow (K in. wide), 2 to 10 in. long, 
sometimes flat but mostly inrolling, harsh 

Stalks (culms) up to 40 in. high, smooth, 
slender to stout 

Rootstocks underground, long-creeping 

Roots fibrous 

Thickspike wheatgrass, known also as downy, fuzzyhead, northern, 
small, thickstalk, and Yukon wheatgrass, is a somewhat turfed 
perennial with extensively creeping underground rootstocks. The 
species, as now understood by prevalent botanical opinion, has a 
wider range than most other wheatgrasses, occurring from Hudson 
Bay to Alaska, northeastern California, southern Colorado, Nebraska, 
and the shores of Lakes Superior, Michigan, and Huron. It pre- 
fers sandy soils, and is found on the lower dry plains in central 
Idaho and up to at least 10,000 feet elevation in the Wasatch Moun- 
tains. It also occurs on the drier hillsides, exposed flats and ridges, 
and on benchlands and well-drained meadows. The species seldom 
forms pure stands of any great extent although it is often dominant 
or even appears in practically pure stands over small local areas. 

Although the fineness of its herbage and its characteristically low 
stature render thickspike wheatgrass more palatable to sheep than 
some of the other wheatgrasses of coarser habit, its tendency to be- 
come wiry as the season advances somewhat lowers this palatability. 
However, it furnishes at least fair forage for all classes of live- 
stock, and is worthy of extensive reseeding trial on range lands. 1 

The long-creeping underground rootstocks of this wheatgrass en- 
able it to withstand heavy grazing and considerable trampling. 
Once established, thickspike wheatgrass plants, if conservatively 
grazed, normally continue to spread and thicken their stand. 

Sampson 2 has called attention to the fact that, on the higher 
ranges of the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, thickspike wheatgrass 
is the most common and typical of the turfed species of wheatgrass. 
The chief mass of its roots there is confined to the upper 8 inches 
of soil, but is so densely matted after the plants are well established 
that moisture percolation through them is exceedingly slow and the 
ingress of other plants with deeper root habits is prevented. The 
average maximum root depth of matured and well-developed, thick- 
spike wheatgrass plants is about 15 inches. 

RANGE LANDS. U. S. Dept. Agr. Circ. 178, 48 pp., illus. 1931. 

Agr. Bull. 791, 76 pp., illus. 1919. 



Agropy'rcn pauciflo'rum, syns. A. pseudore' pens, A. te'nerum, 
"A. viola'ceum" 1 

Leaves rough to touch or 
sometimes smooth beneath, 2 to 
10 in. long, flat or inrolling, 
narrow to broad, basal longer 
than upper ones 

f~|i Stalks (culms) tufted, slender 
to stout, erect, 6 to 48 in. high, 
smooth and hairless, their joints 
often dark-colored 

Flower heads (spikes) termi- 
nal, erect, from loose and slen- 
der to thick and, dense, and 
from green to violet-purple in 
color, 1 to 8 in. long 

Roots numerous, fibrous ; root- 
stocks lacking 

Individual flower groups (spike- 
lets) 3- to 6-flowered, pressed 
close to and flatwise against the 
slightly zigzag, continuous (i. e., 
not breaking up at joints when 
spikelets fall) flower-head axis 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts 
(glumes) 3- to 7-velned, 
firm, persistent, up to K in- 
long, % as long as or equal to 
spikelet, often tapering, to a 
bristled (awned) point, papery 

A represents form known 
as "A. vivlaceum" ; B rep- 
resents form known us A. 

Outer flower bract (lemma) 
about as long as glumes, 5- to 
7-nerved toward tip, blunt, 
sharp-pointed, or ending in a 
short bristle (awn) as in C 

1 Of U. S. authors. 

Until very recently this species has customarily been regarded as two sepa- 
rate species, viz, typical slender wheatgrass (A. tenerum) and violet wheatgrass 
(A. violaceum of U. S. authors, not (Hornem.) Lange) one, the tall, slender 
form, usually found at lower elevations, having a narrow, mostly elongated, 
green flower head (spike), the individual flower groups (spikelets) separated; 
the other, the chunky, thick-stalked form, mostly subalpine, with a dense and 
pudgy, shortened, violet-hued spike, with plump, overlapping, and crowded 
spikelets. However, all possible intergradations between these two forms are 
known to occur. Moreover, true A. violaceum appears to be a wholly Old 
World wheatgrass, specifically distinct from the American grass called by that 
name. A. paucifyorum is an older name than A. tenerum, which is one of its 
synonyms. These considerations have led to the adoption of the nomenclatural 
change indicated. 2 

Slender wheatgrass is a perennial bunchgrass with erect, slender to stout 
stems from one-half foot to 4 feet high. It is the most widely distributed of 
our native wheatgrasses, ranging from Newfoundland to Alaska, and south 
to Missouri, Kansas, New Mexico, and California. The species makes its best 
growth in moderately moist, well-drained, light sandy-loam soils, but is some- 
what tolerant of alkali, moderately drought-enduring, and is more common 
than any other wheatgrass in dry mountain meadows. It is typical of river 
bottoms, mountain valleys and meadows, and open timberlands up through 
the ponderosa pine, aspen, lodgepole pine, and Engelmann spruce belts to 
timber line and sometimes even up to the higher 1 alpine meadow sites at about 
12,000 feet elevation, especially in the southern part of its range. 

Slender wheatgrass is one of the most palatable of the true wheatgrasses 
and is highly palatable to all classes of livestock ; it is also very nutritious. 
Growth starts early in the spring, and the plants remain green and palatable 
until late in the fall. The entire plant is cropped throughout the growing 
season by both cattle and horses, although late in the season the flower stalks 
are not eaten so close to the ground as are the basal leaf blades. Sheep are 
fond of the flower and seed heads. The seed, when mixed with more succulent 
feed, produces hard, substantial fat on sheep. Slender wheatgrass is probably 
more widely distributed in native hay meadows than any other wheatgrass. 

Except for the vegetative enlargement of the bunches by tillering, slender 
wheatgrass reproduces entirely by seed, and a large seed crop of good viability 
is usually produced. The seed is matured from June through September, de- 
pending upon the latitude or elevation. Commercial seed of this species is 
usually available. In fact, this is the only native wheatgrass, and almost 
the only native grass of any sort, which has been extensively cultivated. The 
forage value and wide distribution of this species, and the comparative ease 
with which it may be established, indicate that it has great possibilities for 
future range improvement if an adequate seed supply can be made available at 
low cost. 3 Complaint has occasionally been made that the use of slender 
wheatgrass in artificial reseeding of depleted range lands has been only mod- 
erately successful. Failure, in some cases at least, to get the seed in adequate 
contact with the soil explains certain of these unsatisfactory results. This 
seed is large and needs to be worked into the ground. This normally is 
effected on the range after seed dispersal by the trampling of grazing animals. 
Slender wheatgrass probably is the best perennial grass adaptable for western 
dry-land conditions, with the exception of smooth brome, and, in some places, 
crested wheatgrass. Slender wheatgrass is extensively cultivated in the north- 
ern Great Plains for hay and pasturage. 4 

Although it does not withstand heavy grazing as well as those species of 
wheatgrass which reproduce by rootstocks, it will endure a reasonable amount of 
grazing and trampling. 

UNITED STATES. Amer. Jour. Bot. 21(3) : 127-139. illus. 1934. 

RANGE LANDS. U. S. Dept. Agr. Circ. 178, 48 pp., illus. 1931. 

Farmers' Bull. 1433, 42 pp., illus. 1925. 



Agropy'ron smi'thii, syn. A. occidenta' Us 

Leaves 4 to 8 in. long, rigid, upright, 
becoming inrolled, ridged, rough-mar- 
gined and usually rough on back, other- 
wise smooth 

ndividual flower groups (spikelets) 7- 
o 13-flowered, lisually solitary at each 

Flower head (spike) straight, and at 
top of stalk, 2 to 7 in. long, pale bluish 

Leaf sheaths hairless, shorter than 
stalk intcrnodes 

Stalks (culms) numerous, ridged, 

Kootstocks pale gray or tawny, scaly, 
long-creeping, underground 

Koots fibrous 

Lowest (2) spikclet bracts (glumes) 
equal in length, narrow but broadened 
above the base, sharp, often beard- 
(awn-) pointed, rough along veins, 
from ]'i to 73 as long as spikelet they 
partly enclose 

Outer flower bract (lemma) hard, 
hairless, awn-pointed at tip; inner 
flower bract (palea) shorter than 
lemma, stiff-hairy along edges 

Bluestem, known as bluejoint in the Montana region and some- 
times called Colorado bluestem, Smith bluejoint, and western wheat- 
grass, is one of the commonest and most abundant of the western 
wheatgrasses. It is a perennial from creeping rootstocks, and under 
the most favorable conditions may grow in dense patches or even 
form a compact sod. It occurs from southern Ontario and northern 
Minnesota west to British Columbia and south to west central Cali- 
fornia, western Texas, northwestern Arkansas, and Indiana. Blue- 
seem grows in a great variety of soils and withstands drought well. 
It is best adapted to well-drained bottom lands, but is commonly 
found on open plains, hillsides, and benchlands. It is alkali-endur- 
ing and often occupies lands inhabited by few other grasses. It 
occurs in considerable abundance, and on adobe soils is often the 
dominant grass over large areas. In Montana this grass is often 
the first to appear in quantity on abandoned, dry farm lands. 

Bluestem is one of the most valuable native forage plants of the 
West. It is an important constituent of numerous spring, summer, 
and early fall ranges. Despite the stiff leaves the plant rarely be- 
comes sufficiently coarse and rank to prevent sheep from grazing 
it. Sheep are particularly fond of the heads. It cures well on the 
ground, makes very good winter forage and also yields excellent 
hay of high feeding value. The limited seed supply usually ma- 
tures late but this handicap is offset by vigorous reproduction from 
rootstocks. The species has been tried experimentally under cultiva- 
tion, with moderate success. Very little seed, however, is available 
commercially. Bluestem is rated as a choice forage plant for elk 
and deer. 

The plants are covered with a bluish or whitish waxy bloom 
(glaucous) ; the erect, rigid stalks, 1 to 5 feet high, have enlarged 
joints darker in color than the rest of the stalk. The spikes are 
erect with unawned or awn-pointed spikelets rather close together. 



Agropy'ron spica'tum 

Individual flower groups (spike- 
lets) stalkless, 3- to 6-flowered, 
up to nearly 1 in. long, flattened, 
placed flatwise and solitary at 
joints of somewhat zigzag flower- 
head axis (rachis), up to % in. 

Outer flower bract (lemma) 
5-veined toward top, tipped by 
rough, strongly spreading, often 
twisted beard (awn) about 1 
in. long 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts 
(glumes) up to % in. long, 3- 
to 5-veined, papery at edges, 
sharp-pointed at tip but without 

Flower heads (spikes) slender, 
erect, up to 8 in. long, solitary 
on the ends of the 4 to 12 stalks 

Stalks (culms) tufted, erect, 
slender, sometimes wiry, often 
bluish in color, smooth except 
for hairy joints 

Leaves flat or inrolled, 
pointed, narrow, about % in. 
wide and up to 8 in. long 

Roots fibrous; rootstocks 

Bluebunch wheatgrass, also known as big bunchgrass, wire bunchgrass, 
western wheatgrass, and spiked wheatgrass, is a typical perennial bunchgrass, 
of bluish color, 1 to 4 feet high. The species is widely distributed, ranging 
from Alaska to northern California., New Mexico, and Montana. It is a 
distinctly drought-resistant grass and is found chiefly on dry soils in the open 
or in partial shade, seldom growing on wet soils and rarely in thick timber. 

It is abundant in parts of Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and eastern Oregon and 
Washington, often forming stands up to about a 60-percent ground cover. 

Because of its extensive distribution, abundance especially on sites too dry 
for most of the more palatable grasses and weeds and its high palatability, 
bluebunch wheatgrass is one of the leading native western forages, and is 
a key species on many ranges. Where abundant it frequently constitutes the 
bulk of the spring, fall, and early winter range forage as well as a goodly 
part of the summer grass forage of ranges within the ponderous pine belt. 
The Northwest regards it as its most important indigenous grass. Its palata- 
bility is very good or even excellent for cattle, horses, and sheep, except 
where it has not been graced for a year or two so that the old growth near 
the ground is rank and tough. Sheep then leave it for more tender herbage. 
This stem wiriness and the rather troublesome awns are the chief drawbacks 
of "bluebunch" as a forage plant. Its leafiness enables it to produce a large 
amount of forage per plant. The leafage remains green throughout the 
grazing season and is nutritious and palatable after growth ceases. At lower 
elevations, unless conditions are too dry, a fair amount of good seed matures 
but in the higher and drier portions of its range seed stalks are put forth 
irregularly and relatively late in the season and normally only a small amount 
of seed, of low viability, is produced. 

Bluebunch wheatgrass withstands proper grazing well, but new plants are 
established entirely from seed and it is essential, if this species is to maintain 
itself, that opportunity be afforded for the early seed to mature. Deferred 
grazing works well with this species and the trampling by grazing animals 
after seed has fallen materially assists in planting the seed. On millions of 
acres of range land where unrestricted grazing has obtained "bluebunch" has 
succumbed to overstocking and too early grazing. It has practically dis- 
appeared from much of the wheatgrass-sagebrush type, where such abuse has 
prevailed, being largely replaced by such annuals as downy chess. Because 
of its great value as a forage plant successful effort is often made to increase 
this species on ranges where it naturally occurs, through observance of good 
range management principles, supplemented occasionally by artificial reseed- 
ing. Attempts to extend its range to other areas, however, have usually failed. 

Bluebunch wheatgrass is a favorite forage species with elk, and is- grazed 
extensively by them. On bison range in Montana it is not grazed in summer 
but is utilized as a winter feed. This natural selection permits "bluebunch" 
to seed and maintain itself on bison range. 

Bluebunch wheatgrass- has numerous, smooth, rather short leaves and 
slender, bearded heads 2 to 8 inches long. The spikelets are narrow, relatively 
long, erect or spreading, and placed rather far apart. The flowering scales 
(lemmas) are slightly longer than the glumes beneath them and bear con- 
spicuous, typically stout beards (awns). 

For a number of years the descriptions of Agropyron spioatwn were thought 
by many botanists to apply to bluestem (A. smithii). As a consequence notes 
on A. spioatum in some of the older writings apply to bluestem rather than to 
bluebunch wheatgrass. 

Beardless wheatgrass (A. inermc, syn. A. spicatum inefme), sometimes 
called beardless (or awnless) bluebunch wheatgrass, is very closely related 
botanically to bluebunch wheatgrass and by many botanists is regarded as a 
variety of it. It is similar in appearance to "bluebunch" except that beardless 
wheatgrass, as both its English and scientific names imply, has no beards 
(awns). Its stems tend to be more slender and tufted and its leaves nar- 
rower and more tightly rolled than those of "bluebunch." It is not quite so 
widely distributed as bluebunch wheatgrass, ranging from British Columbia 
to Oregon, Utah, and western Montana, but has approximately the same habi- 
tat, and similar forage values except that A. inerme is generally less- abundant 
than A. spicatum, and the absence of awns improves its palatability later in 
the season. However, in the Great Basin beardless wheatgrass is a very 
important range plant, known locally as Great Basin wheatgrass. 

Toward the southern portion of its range, at least, beardless wheatgrass, 
as does its relative bluebunch wheatgrass, matures relatively early, drying up 
during the dry summer season. However, when the fall rains start these 
grasses green up promptly and provide excellent fall grazing. 



Agropy'ron subsecun'dum, syns. A. caninoi'des, "A. cani'num", 1 A. richardso'ni 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) cylin- 
drical, 3- to 6-flowered, about % in. long, numer- 
ous, overlapping, stalkless, placed flatwise and 
solitary at each joint of a rather zigzag flower- 
head axis (rachis) 

Outer flower bract (lemma) 3- to 5-yeined, 
about % in. long, harsh, tipped by a straight or 
somewhat spreading beard (awn) up to twice as 
long as lemma 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes)y-rup to 
nearly as long as spikelet, harsh, pointed or 
short-awned at tip 

Flower heads (spikes) up to 8 in. long, some- 
times 1 -sided and nodding toward tip, often 
purplish in color 

Stalks (culms) tufted, erect, smooth 

Leaves flat, rather lax, harsh, rather broad 
(up to % in. wide), 10 in, long 

1 Of American 
authors, not (L.) 

Roots fibrous; rootstocks lacking 

Bearded wheatgrass, known also as awned wheatgrass, dogtooth 
wheatgrass, and fibrous-rooted wheatgrass, is a smooth, slender and 
erect-stemmed, light green bunchgrass from 2 to 4 feet high. It is 
one of the five most widely distributed of our native western wheat- 

grasses, and ranges from Greenland to Alaska, California, and North 
arolina. It occurs typically in light sandy soils in meadows, open, 
grasslands, bottom lands, and on moist slopes, although often found 
scatteringly on dry hillsides, bench lands, and in partial shade in 
aspen and open coniferous timber or among shrubs. It is probably 
most common in Montana and Wyoming where it is sometimes 
locally abundant at elevations between 3,000 and 7,500 feet. In Colo- 
rado it has been collected at an elevation of 11,700 feet, indicating 
its wide altitudinal range. 

Bearded wheatgrass is a valuable forage plant, highly palatable 
to all classes of livestock. The plants ordinarily produce an abun- 
dance of relatively soft leaves which are especially palatable. 
Naturally the bearded heads are not so palatable as those of the 
unbearded species. New plants, established entirely by seed, are 
ordinarily abundant, mature from August to October, and usually 
are of good quality. Bearded wheatgrass is fairly resistajit to 
grazing and, if afforded reasonable opportunity, will maintain itself 
on the range. Because of its bunch habit of growth and the bearded 
heads, it is not so important a hay plant as certain other species of 

Until comparatively recently the European Agropyron canwvum 
was thought to occur naturally in this country, but current agros- 
tological opinion is that the American plant is a distinct species, 


Agros'tis spp. 

Eedtops and bentgrasses belong to the large redtop tribe (Agrostideae) of 
the grass family. The genus is composed of approximately 100 species which 
are widely distributed throughout the temperate and cool regions of the world, 
especially in the northern hemisphere. Some 25 to 30 species occur in the 
United States, with California and the Pacific Northwest as the center of 
distribution. The scientific name Agrostis is derived from the Greek word 
agros, meaning a field, and refers to the field habitat of many of the species. 
It is of interest that Agrostideae, the redtop tribe, and agrostology, the branch 
of botany dealing with grasses, take their names from the genus Agrostis. 

The name, bentgrass, has been widely used for many species of Affrostis. 
It most fittingly applies, however, only to those species which actually have 
bent, trailing stems with a low, decumbent habit of growth. The true bent- 
grasses are usually turf-formers which reproduce by means of stolons as well 
as by underground rootstocks and seed. The characteristic reddish or pur- 
plish hue of the flower heads of many species, and especially of the common 
redtop (A. alba), gives rise to the name, redtop. This name is applicable to 
both tufted and sod-forming species which have erect and unbent stems, par- 
ticularly if their heads are reddish or purplish. It seems preferable to use 
redtop, as a generic name for most of the native range species of Agrostis. 

The redtops and bentgrasses are distributed throughout North America ex- 
cept in the extreme North. The use of a number of species as lawn, pasture, 
and hay grasses has greatly increased their distribution. Since the species of 
Agrostis thrive best in temperate or cool climates, they are of greatest im- 
portance in cultivation and on the range in the northern part of the United 
States and in the higher regions. Grasses of the Agrostis genus are typically 
moisture-loving plants. They thrive in wet or moist rich soils but are also 
capable of growing on drier situations. The native species occupy a great 
variety of sites, ranging from said dunes at sea level to alpine meadows above 
timber line. They occur largely in wet or moist, rich soils iu meadows, 
grassy parks, along stream banks, iu shaded woodlands and aspen stands, and 
are capable of growing in extremely wet situations, thriving even with their 
stems partially submerged in water during part of the season. However, some 
species often appear in drier situations, such as sagebrush and wheatgrass 
types, on open ridges and in waste places. The cultivated species also favor 
wet or moist habitats and are usually grown in meadows, but where they 
have escaped from cultivation they may be found in waste places and along 
ditch banks and roadsides. Several foreign species have become established 
on many range areas, probably mostly through artificial reseeding activities, 
and are now rather widely distributed on some of the ranges of the West. A 
number of species are able to grow where the soil is acid or lacking in lime 
and are used in meadows and lawns where bluegrass and other cultivated 
grasses do not thrive. 

The genus furnishes a number of species that are extremely important for- 
age plants either in cultivation or on the ranges in the West. In the range 
country the redtops are highly regarded as forage plants. The forage pro- 
duced by this group of plants is usually rated as good to very good for cattle 
and horses and fairly good to very good for sheep. Several species having 
large, finely branched panicles are grazed readily before heading out but are 
avoided afterward. The redtops are choice elk feed, but are eaten only with 
slight relish by deer. Many of the individual species are scattered and do 
not occur in abundance except in restricted meadow and park areas. A few, 
however, are common and widespread range plants and make up an important 
component of the vegetation. Several of the more outstanding and typical 
species are deserving of mention. 

The common redtop (A. al'ba), originally introduced from Europe but now 
extensively cultivated in this country for hay and as a meadow and pasture 
grass, is the most important species. It has been successfully used in the 
artificial reseeding of meadows on depleted range lands and has become firmly 
established and widespread on moist, favorable sites on many range areas. 

Spike redtop (A. exaara'ta) is one of the most important range species. It 
is a common tufted grass with a contracted, spikelike panicle and is found 
throughout the western portion of North America. 

Winter redtop (A. Mema'lis), often called ticklegrass, is a bunchgrass with 
a finely branched, large, spreading panicle. It is distributed throughout the 
continent except in the far North and is one of the most common and widely 
distributed grasses on the western ranges. The above three species (redtop, 
spike redtop, and winter redtop) are perhaps the most common of all the 
species of Agrostis on western national forests. 

Leafy redtop (A. diegoen'sis, syns. A. folio'sa, A. pal'lens folio'sa), often called 
thin grass, one of the most abundant of the native sod-forming species of 
Affrostis, is a moderately tall, fine-leaved grass with a narrow panicle. It 
is distributed from British Columbia to southern California, with an eleva- 
tional range from sea level to about 7,500 feet. In general, its growth is 
rather scattered, but the forage production per plant is comparatively large. 
The herbage is relished by all classes of livestock, and the spreading rootstocks 
enable the plant to withstand extremely heavy grazing. 

Alpine redtop (A. ros'sae), also known as Ross redtop, is an example of the 
low, delicate species which grow in high mountains. It is about 4 to 8 inches- 
tall, and has fine, narrow panicles. This plant is confined to the alpine zone 
from British Columbia to central California and eastward to Colorado and 
Montana. It is regarded as fairly good to very good forage for all classes 
of livestock. Pygmy redtop (A. hu'milis), a related alpine species, ranging 
from British Columbia to Oregon and Colorado, is highly palatable to all 
classes of livestock. It is seldom over 6 inches high. 

Idaho redtop (A. idahoen'sis) is a tufted grass resembling alpine redtop 
but is taller up to 16 inches high and has open, loosely spreading panicles. 
It is widely distributed, growing in mountain meadows from Washington to 
southern California and east to New Mexico and Montana. It furnishes fair 
to good forage for sheep and is good to very good for cattle and horses. 

The typical bentgrasses usually reproduce vigorously by means of stolons, 
thus forming a dense turf which makes them ideal for use on lawns and golf 
greens. When used in pastures, they are highly resistant to damage from 
excessive trampling and grazing. In addition, they are exceptionally efficient 
soil-binding plants and are being used in reclaiming gullies in erosion-control 
work. Creeping bent (A. palus'tris), certain cultivated forms of which are 
known as carpet bent, is a characteristic representative of the cultivated bent- 
grasses. This plant is a native of Europe, and is now extensively cultivated 
in this country. It has dense spikelike panicles and long creeping stolons or 
runners which may attain a length of 4 feet in a single season. This species 
is most esteemed for the fine turf it produces, superior to practically all 
other temperate grasses. It is widely used for lawns and golf greens and 
is a poular and valuable pasture grass. On both the Atlantic and Pacific 
coasts it occurs in extensive seaside meadow areas which are used for both 
hay and pasture. This grass succeeds very well inland, especially where the 
soil is fairly moist. 1 It shows promise in the reseeding of meadows on 
western ranges and may be worthy of further experiments. 2 

The grasses of the Affrostis genus are usually low and delicate or moderately 
tall perennials (only three annuals occur in this country), with smooth, hair- 
less, slender stalks and diverse habits of growth. The leaf blades are flat 
or inrolled and often rough to the touch; the leaf sheaths are usually chan- 
neled and rough. The flower heads (panicles) may be open with widely 
spreading, hairlike branches or contracted, very narrow and spikelike. The 
individual flower groups (spikelets) are very small, V-shaped and one-flowered, 
with the lowest two spikelet bracts (glumes) remaining attached after the 
seed has fallen. These glumes are about equal, sharp-pointed, and harsh on 
the keel. The outer flower bract (lemma) is usually shorter than the glumes, 
blunt-pointed, very thin, either beardless (awnless) or with a slender awn on 
the back. The inner flower bract (palea) is inconspicuous or lacking. 

ers Bull. 1433, 42 pp., illus. 1925. 

BANGS LANDS. U. S. Dept. Agr. Circ. 178, 48 pp., illus. 1931. 



Agros'tis al'ba, syn. "A. palus'tris" 1 

Flower heads (panicles) large (2 to 12 in. 
long), open, upright, pyramid-shaped or egg- 
shaped, usually reddish purple; branches as- 
cending, spreading in flower, more contracted- 
in fruit, the lower ones in whorls 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 1-flow- 
ered, small (less than % in. long)' 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) nearly 
equal, pointed,smooth, harsh to the touch on keel 

Outer floiger bract (lemma) % to Y\ as long as 
glumes, blunt-tipped, mostly beardless (awn- 
less), thin-papery, hairless 

Inner flower bract (palea) well-developed, up 
to % as long as lemma, thin-papery, 2-nerved 

Stalks (cuIms)-^-erect or often bent at base, 
usually 8 to 36 in. (sometimes up to 5 ft.) high, 
simple, smooth, hairless 

'Of U. S. all 
thors. not Huds 

Leaves mostly basal, numerous, flat, K to J 
in. wide, up to 8 in. long, harsh to the touch; 
sheaths smooth 

Appendage (ligule) at junction of sheath and 
blade, prominent, up to about y t in. long, pointed, 
membranous, irregularly cut along edges 

Rootstocks horizontally creeping, under- 
ground, scaly 

Roots fibrous 

Redtop, so named because of the usual reddish hue of its characteristic 
pyramid-shaped panicles, is one of the most important perennial grasses in 
the United States. It was early introduced into the American colonies from 
Europe and is now widely distributed throughout most of North America, 
occurring from Alaska to Newfoundland, Florida, California, and Mexico. 

Redtop is probably adapted to a wider range of climatic and soil condi- 
tions than any other cultivated grass, and succeeds well over most of the 
United States, except in the drier regions and the extreme South. This species 
is as resistant to cold as is timothy and withstands summer heat much 
better. 2 It is recognized as the best wet-land grass among the cultivated species, 
as it thrives on moist or wet soils and is able to grow vigorously in shallow 
ponds, which later become dry. It also grows well on acid soils so deficient in 
lime as to prohibit the growth of bluegrass and most other valuable grasses. 
If moisture is abundant, redtop does not show a marked preference for soil 
types though it grows best on rich, sandy, or clay loams. Although essentially 
adapted to grow on wet ground, redtop sometimes occurs on well-drained and 
rather infertile soils. This grass, however, is not tolerant to shade and seldom 
appears in dense timber or other shaded situations. 2 On the mountainous 
western ranges redtop usually occupies wet or moist meadows, parks, openings 
in the timber, stream banks, and moist canyon bottoms; it also occurs, to a 
less extent, on well-drained soils in sagebrush parks, open grasslands and cut- 
over and burned-over timber lands. It has escaped from cultivation in many 
places and is found along roadsides and in waste places. It ranges from sea 
level to about 10,000 feet, but commonly to about 8,000 feet. 

Redtop has become firmly established on many ranges and is now widely 
distributed throughout the mountains of the West. Although cultivated pas- 
ture experiments have shown that cattle usually prefer all other cultivated 
grasses to redtop, 2 it is highly regarded as a range forage plant. Redtop is 
iisually given a palatability rating of good to very good for cattle and horses. 
fairly good to good for sheep, and is regarded as highly satisfactory forage for 
elk. On moist sites the herbage of redtop usually remains green all summer 
and is cropped with relish throughout the grazing season. The vigorous inter- 
twining rootstocks of this grass form a dense sod which binds the soil firmly 
and enables the plants to withstand excessive trampling and close grazing. 

Redtop has proved a valuable plant for use in the artificial reseeding of the 
more favorable sites of western mountain range lands. On wet acid sites 
it gives better reseeding results than any other cultivated grass, but on drier 
sites other grasses are usually superior to redtop. Experiments in artificial 
reseeding conducted on national forest lands in the West since 1902 3 demon- 
strate that this grass should be used only in the reseeding of meadows at 
medium to high elevations, below timber line, on the interior range lands, and 
on range lands on the west coastal slope, where the annual precipitation ex- 
ceeds 40 inches. On sites which are conducive to rapid growth and early 
establishment, from 8 to 10 pounds per acre of the extremely small seed should 
be sown to obtain a full stand. Soil treatment should be very shallow. 3 

Redtop is valuable for pasture, hay, and lawns. It is extensively raised as a 
meadow hay and pasture grass in the valleys of the West. The yields of redtop 
hay on wet lands are usually better than any other hay grass.* However, 
best results obtain when redtop is grown in mixture with other hay plants, 
particularly timothy and clover, as it matures at about the same time as 
timothy and will usually add materially to the yield of a timothy and clover 
hay crop.* This plant is a Adgorous grower and will form a good turf in a 
short time, a characteristic which makes redtop valuable for use as a soil- 
binder in stopping and reclaiming gullies and for holding slopes and banks. 

Cultivated redtop is extremely variable. The leaves may be very narrow 
or over one-fourth of an inch in width, dark bluish green or pale green in 
color ; the rather open, panicles vary from 2 up to 12 inches in length and 
from green to reddish/ or purplish in color; the running rootstocks may be 
abundant and vigorous or few or even lacking entirely. 

2 Piper. C. V. FORAGE PLANTS AND THEIE CULTURE. Rev., 671 pp., illus. New York. 1924. 

RANGE LANDS. U. S. Dept. Agr. Circ. 178, 48 pp., illus. 1931. 

* Piper, C. V. IMPORTANT CULTIVATED GRASSES. U. S. Dept. Agr. Farmers' Bull. 1254, 
38 pp., iilus. 1922. 



Agros'tis exara'ta 

Flower head (panicle) narrow, contracted, 
spikelike, 2 to 10 in. long, densely flowered, 
greea or reddish purple 

Individual flower group (spikelet^l-flowered, 
very small (>{ e to % in. long) 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) nearly 
equal, sharp-pointed, harsh to the touch on keel 
and margins, remaining attached aftor "seed" 

Outer flower bract (lemma) about % as long as. 
glumes, papery, hairless, beardless (awnless), or 
with a delicate awn from the middle of the back; 
inner flower bract (palea) absent or a minute scale 

Stems erect or somewhat bent at base, 8 to 
48 in. tall, tufted, smooth, hairless 

n< r\ 

Leaves mostly basal, erect, usually flat, K to 
% in. wide and 2 to 4 (sometimes 8) in. long, 
harsh to touch; sheaths smooth or somewhat 
harsh; appendage (ligule) at. junction of 
sheath and blade, prominent, membranous 

Roots fibrous; rootstocks lacking 

Spike redtop, so named because of its spikelike panicle, is also 
known as purple redtop and western redtop. This perennial bunch 
grass is one of the commonest and most valuable western species of 
redtop. Because it is exceedingly variable in size and form, this 
species has been the victim of extensive botanical emasculation and 
appears in various manuals as A. ampla, A. asperifolia, A, densiflora, 
A. glomerata, A. grandis, A. inflata, A. microphylla, and A. scouLeri. 
The present trend among botanists, however, is to include all these 
under the one species, A. exarata. 

This species is widely distributed in western North America, 
ranging from Alaska to southern California and Mexico, and east- 
ward to western Texas, western Nebraska, and Manitoba. Its eleva- 
tional range extends from about sea level on the Pacific Coast to 
approximately 10,500 feet in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and the 
southern portion of its range. This grass is a moisture-loving 
species but it is less exacting in its moisture requirements than some 
of the other redtops. It typically occurs in meadows, along streams, 
in moist parks, and in moist, semishaded woodlands and aspen stands. 
However, it also appears on drier situations, growing on moderately 
dry soils in association with wheatgrass, sagebrush, needlegrass, and 

Spike redtop often occurs in abundance on the moister portions 
of the range, being especially common near the California seacoast, 
where it reaches its best development. In some localities this grass 
furnishes a large part of the forage. 1 The herbage remains green 
and succulent until late in the season and is grazed throughout the 
summer by all classes of livestock. Its forage value varies somewhat 
in different portions of the West. On the average, the palatability 
is considered to be good to very good for cattle and horses and from 
fair to good for sheep. Elk relish the herbage of this plant and deer 
use it to a slight extent. The period of flowering and seed dissemi- 
nation varies with the altitudinal and latitudinal range of this plant. 
Under average conditions the seed ripens between the first week in 
August and the early part of September. The production of a moder- 
ate amount of seed having fair viability is characteristic. 2 

This grass varies in size and form according to its habitat, ranging 
from dwarf plants with small dense panicles in alpine situations to 
tall robust forms. Dwarf forms are generally awned with delicate 
prickles on the back of the lemmas. The plant described as A. 
glomerata is a low seacoast form with a compact panicle and often 
inflated sheaths; A. vrdcrophyUa has dense, often interrupted panicles 
and well-developed awns; A. grandis is a robust form up to 60 inches 
tall with compact panicles and awnless lemmas; and A. ampla, 
another tall form, has somewhat open panicles and awned lemmas. 
The form originally described as A. exordia occupies an intermediate 
position in the range of variation. 

Producer 9 (10) : [3]-7, illus. 1928. 

a Sampson, A. W. NATIVE AMERICAN FORAGE PLANTS. 435 pp., illus. New iTork. 1924. 



Agros'tis hiema'lis, syn. A. sca'bra 

Flower heads (panicles) loosely 
branched, open, widely spread- 
ing, erect or sometimes droop- 
ing, usually 6 to 12 in. long and 
about as broad, sometimes up to 
24 or 30 in. long, usually purp- 
lish; branches fine, hairlike, 
harsh to the touch, dividing 
above middle 

Individual flower groups (spike- 
lets) 1-flowered, very small 
(up to Yit in. long), clustered 
toward ends of panicle branches 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts 
(glumes) nearly equal, sharp- 
pointed, harsh to the touch on 
keel and toward tip, persistent 
after the "seed" falls 

Outer flower bract (lemma) 
% to % as long as glumes, blunt- 
pointed, beardless (awnless), or 
short-awned, 5-nerved, hairless; 
inner flower bract (palea) absent 

Stalks (culms)-^erect, slender, 
tufted, up to 36 in. tall, smooth, 

Leaves mostly_ basal, erect; 
blades flat or inrolled, narrow 
(up to K in- wide), short (2 to 5 
in. long), very harsh to the 
touch; sheaths generally shorter 
than internodes, the upper ones 
loose; appendage (ligule), at 
junction of sheath and blade, 
short (up to % in. long), mem- 

Roots fibrous; creeping root- 
stocks lacking 

Winter redtop, a slender, fine-leaved open-ground species, is also 
called ticklegrass and hairgrass because of its large, open panicles 
with their widely spreading, hairlike branches. The name, winter 
redtop, is preferred because the other two names have been applied to 
other grasses. Ticklegrass is a term loosely applied to a number of 
grasses which have fine panicles; hairgrass is the generally recog- 
nized English name for plants of the DescJumifpsia, genus. This 
species appears in some of the manuals as A. hy emails. 

This widely distributed grass occurs throughout most of North 
America, from the lower valleys, plains, and foothills to alpine situa- 
tions, up to about 12,000 feet, and is especially characteristic of the 
cooler- and higher-range areas. The species is common in moist to 
wet meadows, along streams, in moist canyon bottoms, and dry to 
moist open woodlands and aspen stands. It thrives under a variety 
of moisture, conditions, however, as it also appears in drier situa- 
tions such as sagebrush parks, open well-drained grasslands, rocky 
scablands, burned-over areas, ponderosa pine stands, dry meadows, 
and sandy lowlands. Although usually scattered over the range, 
this grass sometimes grows in moderate abundance in restricted 
meadow and park areas, waste places, and in moist, denuded sites. 

When young, winter redtop is readily grazed by all classes of 
livestock but, after heading out, it is utilized very little. The large, 
finely branched panicles are apparently objectionable to grazing 
animals and discourage the use of the fine, short leaves. The large 
ratio of seed-head to foliage prevents consideration of this grass 
as a really important forage plant despite the fact that it is a 
very common and widely distributed species. It is generally rated 
as one of the least palatable of the redtops but, considering its 
relatively high palatability during the early part of the season, 
this species merits a rating of fair to fairly good for sheep and 
fairly good to good for cattle and horses. However, on some range 
areas, particularly in Utah, Nevada, and Montana, this plant is 
regarded more highly and is rated up to very good for cattle and 
good for sheep. In Montana, elk have been observed eating winter 
redtop with moderate relish. 

In the range country the flowering period is usually from July 
to September and the seed is ripened and shed during August and 
September. Hitchcock 1 reports that the broad seed-head some- 
times breaks away from the plant at maturity and is blown by the 
wind as a tumbleweed. The purplish seed-heads are sometimes used 
in flower bouquets for decoration. 

Alpine winter redtop (A. hiema'lis g&minafta^ syn. A. geminafta) 
is a variety which is confined to the alpine and sub-alpine zones 
from Alaska to California and Colorado. It is similar to winter 
redtop in appearance and palatability but is usually less than a foot 
high and has smaller and less diffuse panicles. The lemmas usually 
bear a straight, slender awn but are awnless in the more southern 
portions of its range. A taller, more robust form, A. hienw'lis 
subre'pens, is a variety sometimes recognized in the Southwest. 

REFERENCE TO THE ECONOMIC SPECIES. U. S. Dept. Agr. Bill. 772, 307 pp., illus. 1920. 


Andropo'gon spp., syns. Schizachy'rium spp., Amphi'lophis spp. 

Andropogon is a large genus of perennial grasses which are widely 
distributed in the warmer parts of the world. In the United States, 
they are best represented in the Southeast, but species of this genus 
are found in all the Western States, except possibly Oregon and 
Washington. The genus is the namesake of the sorghum tribe 
(Andropogoneae) and is the largest in number of species (about 
150) in this tribe although not the most important economically ? as 
the sorghums and sugarcane belong to other genera of this tribe. 
The andropogons are abundant in the Plains States and the South- 
west. Prairie beardgrass, or little bluestem (A. scoparrius), is often 
the most abundant grass in the northern Plains States on dry sandy 
soils. In the southern Plains States some species, notably blue joint 
turkey foot, or "big bluestem" (A. furcatus, syn. A. provincialis), fre- 
quently occur in dense stands and are cut for hay. In the South- 
west the drought resistance of certain species increases their utility 
on arid ranges where they comprise a large proportion of the her- 
baceous plant growth. 

The beardgrasses are palatable to livestock while young and ten- 
der but they become coarse and tough rather early in the summer 
and are little grazed during late summer and fall. The plants 
cure well, however, and are utilized by cattle and horses as winter 
forage. Silver beardgrass (A. saccharoides, syn. A. argenteus] has 
attractively conspicuous flower and seed clusters (inflorescences) and 
is grown as an ornamental. 

Beardgrass is perhaps the most common name for this genus 
although certain species, like many other common range plants, 
have fairly well-established individual names, such as broomsedge 
(A. virginicus) and turkeyfoot (A. hallii). The name, beardgrass, 
is a rather literal interpretation of the scientific name Andropogon, 
which is derived from the Greek andros (man's) and pogon (beard), 
referring to the long white hairs which, in many species, occur in the 

Stems of the beardgrasses are solid or pithy (like cornstalks) 
differing in this respect from most other grasses which have hollow 
stems partitioned at the joints. Individual flower groups (spikelets) 
are in rather narrow, spikelike clusters (racemes), each stalk (culm) 
usually producing several racemes which are borne either singly, 
in twos or in groups of several to many. The raceme axis (rachis) 
is jointed and generally hairy with two spikelets at each joint in 
most species. One spikelet is without an individual stalk (sessile) 
and is seed-producing (fertile) ; the other is stalked, does not produce 
seed, and often consists of a single small bract. 

Some authors state that yetiver, a mat-making fiber, and that 
citronella, cuscus, and certain other aromatic commercial oils are 
derived from various Old World species of Andropogon, but the 
best present-day botanical opinion is that such species are preferably 
placed in the related genera Cymbopogon and Vetiv&ria~ 



Andropo'gon barbino'dis, syns. "A. saccharoi'des", 1 Amphi'lophis bardino'dis 

Flower heads (racemes) numerous, crowded, 
in somewhat fan-shaped end clusters (panicles) 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) paired 
at flower-head axis (rachis) joints; 1 spikelet 
stalkless, seed-producing; other spikelet hairy- 
stalked, reduced to a single bract, not seed- 

Outer flower bract (lemma) very narrow, 
transparent, tipped by a twisted, bent beard 
(awn) about % in. long 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) firm, 
papery; 1st glume 2-keeled, enclosing small, 
transparent flower bract (sterile lemma); 2d 
glume 1-keeled, 3-nerved, enclosing lemma 

Rachis jointed, deeply grooved, somewhat 
feathery, the long, white hairs giving a silvery 

Leaves flat, 1 to 8 (mostly 3 to 5) in. long, 
harsh on upper surface; lower leaves longer 
than upper leaves 

Stalks (culms) rather coarse, pithy, up to 
4 ft. high, long-hairy at the joints 

Roots coarse, fibrous 

Cane beardgrass is a perennial bunchgrass and one of the com- 
paratively few common range grasses with solid or pithy stems. 
This species has been generally confused in the western botanical 
manuals with silver beardgrass (A. saccTiarroides) ; the "A. saccha- 
roides" (syn. A. saccharoides laywoides) , as listed in those works, 
largely include both true A. saccharoides and A. barbinodis. Cane 
beardgrass differs from silver beardgrass chiefly because its head is 
shorter, fan-shaped, rather than elongated, and the joints of its 
stems bear longer hairs. Other local names, such as Torrey beard- 
grass, big feathergrass, feather bluestem, and beargrass, are applied 
indiscriminately to these species, but silver beardgrass is the most 
commonly used name because of the silvery appearance of the heads. 
The specific name of cane beardgrass barbtnodi-s is derived from 
the Latin barba, beard, and nodws, a joint, and refers to the con- 
spicuously hairy joints of the stems. 

Cane beardgrass occurs from Oklahoma to Arizona and Texas 
and south into Mexico; it is less widely distributed and more dis- 
tinctly western than silver beardgrass, which ranges from Alabama 
to Missouri, Colorado, and California, and south into Mexico. Cane 
beardgrass is very important in the Southwest because it grows on 
very dry soils; in Arizona for example, it occurs on those areas of 
cindery soils where almost no other grasses thrive. It is also found 
on moderately dry soils in gullies and along the banks of dry 
washes and the like, but usually occurs scatteringly and seldom forms 
dense, pure stands. It extends upward to the woodland and pon- 
derosa pine belts but is more common at lower elevations. 

Most observers agree that cane beardgrass is fair to- good forage 
while it is young, and that the mature growth, although mostly 
too rank and coarse to be of the highest value, is fair forage for 
cattle and horses and supplies considerable winter feed for these 
classes of livestock, although too coarse for sheep. 

The species is very drought-resisting and hence is invaluable on 
certain southwestern ranges. It will grow where the annual precipi- 
tation is about 5 or 6 inches, when supplemented by occasional 
flooding incident to heavy summer showers. Its drought resistance 
and natural occurrence in well-drained soils, ditches, and gullies 
suggest its possible use in erosion-control work in dry areas. 

Cane beardgrass is a robust species having coarse, usually straw- 
colored, pithy stems, often 4 feet high, with enlarged, hairy joints, 
or nodes. The head is rather short, about 3 to 5 inches long, long- 
exserted from the upper leaf sheath, and consists of from 7 to 10 
branches (racemes) arranged in a somewhat fan-shaped, silvery- 
hairy, terminal cluster. The axis of the raceme is conspicuously 
jointed, a pair of spikelets being produced at each joint. One of these 
spikelets is stalkless and seed-producing, the outer flower bract 
(lemma) bearing a twisted and bent awn about three-fourths of an 
inch long. The other spikelet is on a short stalk and consists of a 
single bract. The leaves are usually flat, harsh on the upper sur- 
face, and frequently turn reddish in, drying. The grass is a rather 
handsome one, when headed out, and it is of interest to note that 
certain varieties of its very close relative, silver beardgrass (A. 
sacoharoides, syn. A. argentews} are cultivated as ornamentals. 


Andropo'gon scopa'rius, syn. Schizachy'rium scopa'rium 


Flower heads (racemes) several on 
each stem, each on a fairly long stalk 

Flower-head axis (rachis) zigzag, 
jointed, breaking apart at the joints, 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 
2 at each joint of the rachis: one stalk- 
less; the other long-white-hairy-stalked, 
reduced to a single, short-bearded 
(awned) bract 

Stalkless spikelet seed-producing, its 
(2) outer bracts (glumes) thickened; 
outer flower bract (lemma) enclosed in 
2d glume, tipped by a slender, bent, 
twisted awn about % in. long 

Leaves harsh, narrow, usually flat, 
mostly 3 to 5 in. long, but in robust 
specimens often up to 10 in. long 

Stalks (culms) tufted, pithy like corn- 
stalks, mostly about 2 ft. or less (some- 
times 5 ft.) high, yellowish, reddish 
brown or purplish, usually smooth 

Boots numerous, fibrous, sometimes 
with very short rootstocks 

Prairie beardgrass, known also as broom beardgrass, broomsedge, 
little bluestem, and small feathergrass, is a perennial bunchgrass, 
with hairy flower heads. The specific name, scoparius, from scopa. 
a broom, means a sweeper, and alludes to the resemblance of the 
bunches or tufts of stiff stems to a crude broom, although there 
appears to be no record of the plants being used in the construction 
of brooms. This species probably occurs in every State except 
Washington, Oregon, and California. In the Bad Lands and the 
Black Hills of South Dakota it is one of the most common grasses. 
It is a relatively low- altitude grass, seldom extending above the 
ponderosa-pine belt and is commonly found on dry, sandy, or 
gravelly soils. 

Prairie beardgrass is chiefly grazed while young and tender. This 
is particularly true in the Southwest where the species is scattered 
over much of the woodland and ponderosa-pine types, supplying a 
large amount of forage. During the summer, after the plant is 
"in the boot", and before the seeds mature and the heads break up, 
prairie beardgrass is not grazed, probably because the bearded, hairy 
heads are unpalatable. After the tops fall, however, this bunch- 
grass makes fair forage for cattle and horses, but is somewhat too 
coarse and tough for sheep. Prairie beardgrass does not withstand 
grazing especially well and often is supplanted by the gramas or 
other species of the "short-grass" type on areas which are subject 
to heavy spring grazing. This species is often a satisfactory con- 
stituent of prairie hay if cut early. Prairie beardgrass was widely 
used for hay in early days, especially in the Southwest where it 
formerly was much more plentiful than at present. In some local- 
ities, notably in the sand-hill regions of Kansas and Nebraska, 
prairie beardgrass is often regarded as a pest species, worthless as 
forage for livestock. 


Ari'stida spp. 

Three-awns, also commonly called needlegrasses, wiregrasses, and 
poverty grasses, constitute a large genus of the redtop tribe (Agros- 
tideae) and are widely distributed throughout the Western States, 
being especially well represented in the Southwest. They grow 
chiefly on dry sandy soils and are common grasses on semidesert 
areas, on plains, and at lower elevations in the mountains. 

Three-awns vary greatly in forage value in the different regions 
of the West. When mixed with the more palatable grasses, such as 
bluegrasses and fescues, they are usually ranked low even while 
green. In the Southwest they are often considered good spring 
and summer forage while green, before the seeds mature. Some 
species start growth early in the spring before most other grasses 
and are sometimes valuable as early forage. Some of the south- 
western three-awns have two growing seasons: One in the spring, 
if moisture and other weather conditions are favorable, and another 
in the summer with the advent of summer rains. Under such con- 
ditions considerable green palatable forage is produced. The small 
annuals and a few perennial species produce but little leafage and 
are poor or worthless as forage. A large number of the perennial 
species, however, are leafy and produce considerable forage; such 
leafy perennials are more valuable range plants, particularly on 
spring ranges, than some observers, prejudiced by the prickly beards 
(awns) and wiry stems of three-awns, are willing to admit. Three- 
awns mature in summer or fall depending upon the time the summer 
rains begin, after which time they are of little value as forage. The 
leaves dry up and are unpalatable and the troublesome seeds (fruits) 
are avoided by grazing animals. 

Three-awns are relatively short-lived and depend upon seed for 
reproduction. The seeds are well adapted for dissemination and 
in general the plants reproduce well. These grasses sometimes indi- 
cate, on areas where they are abundant, that the site is too poor for 
the growth of more desirable species, or they may be an indicator 
of range depletion or other disturbances. 

A characteristic three-branched beard at the tip of the seed is 
the most outstanding feature by which the three-awns may be 
distinguished. The two lateral branches of the awn may be small 
(very small or absent in A. orcwbtiana) . The seed is hard, slender, 
and cyindrical with a sharp-pointed base covered with short, rather 
stiff hair. These barbed seeds often trouble grazing animals by 
working into their eyes, nostrils, and ears, and sometimes causing 
sore mouth. The individual flower groups (spikelets) are one- 
flowered (i. e.. each seed or flower is borne singly) and the flowering 
head (panicle) is usually narrow but open and sometimes spreading. 
The two empty bracts (glumes) at the base of the spikelet are nar- 
row and remain attached to the stem (pedicel) after the floret, or 
seed, has fallen. 



Ari'stida arizo'nica 

Leaves numerous, sharp-pointed, up to 12 in. 
long, flat at first, becoming spirally inrolled, 
curling down to ground when dried 

Flower head (panicle) narrow but open, up 
to 10 in. long, often purplish, erect or weakly 
spreading, the branches erect, about 2 in. long, 
each with 2 to 5 individual flower groups 

Stalks (culms) densely tufted, rather stout, 
erect, smooth 

Spikelets 1-flowered, short-stalked, erect, up 
to K in. long. 

Outer flower bract (lemma) firm, wrapped 
around seed, tipped by a twisted, 3-branched 
beard (awn); 3 branches of awn equal, up to 
about 1 in. long 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) rshort- 
awned, nearly equal; 1st, or lower glume (B, a) 
3-veined;2d, or upper, glume 1 -nerved, slightly 
longer than 1st glume 

Roots thickened-fibrous 

Arizona three-awn, often called curly three-awn and tall three- 
awn, is a stout, rather coarse, erect, perennial bunchgrass 1 to 2% 
feet high, and is one of the largest of the three-awns. As the leaves 
become mature and start drying many of them roll up spirally giv- 
ing the grass a curly appearance, from which the name "curly three- 
awn" has originated. 

Arizona three-awn inhabits sandy-gravelly mesas and foothills at 
elevations up to 9,000 feet but mainly below 6,000 feet. It belongs 
mostly to the upper woodland and ponderosa pine types and occurs 
from western Texas to Arizona and south into northern Mexico. It 
is usually found in scattered bunches mixed with other grasses but 
sometimes is locally abundant. 

This species is usually rated as good forage in the Southwest while 
green. It greens up and grows readily when spring moisture comes 
and, when conditions are favorable, will produce considerable succu- 
lent forage in early spring before most of the grasses have started 
growth. The main period of growth comes with the summer rains. 
When rains start early in these two periods this relatively large 
three-awn produces a considerable amount of green, palatable forage 
which remains succulent for several months. If summer rains come 
late the seeds develop and mature rapidly and little succulent forage 
is produced. After maturity the seeds may be troublesome to grazing 
animals. The herbage dries at that time and is practically worthless 
as forage until winter or spring rains occur. Occasionally the species 
is sufficiently dense and large to be cut for hay. 



Ari'stida dharica'ta, syn. A. pal'meri 

Flower head (panicle) usually more than half 
length of entire plant, very open, with usually 
paired, widely spreading (divaricate) branches, 
at ends of which .are borne the individual flower 
groups (spikelets) 

Stalks (culms) clustered at base, erect, some- 
what rough to touch (scabrous) toward top 

Leaves about 6 in. long, spirally inrolled, 
with overlapping sheaths 

Outer flower bract (lemma) up to about K in. 
long, often purplish, scabrous, firm, wrapped 
around seed, tipped by a straight (sometimes 
somewhat twisted), 3-branched beard (awn); 3 
branches of awn slightly unequal or nearly 
equal, up to % in. long, somewhat spreading, 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 1-veined 
(nerved), short-awned, equal, up to % in. long, 
often purplish 

Roots thickened-fibrous 

Poverty three-awn, also known as Texas poverty grass, Texas 
three-awn, and spreading three-awn, is a large, perennial, bunch- 
grass 1 to 3 feet high with leaves often as long as 6 inches. This 
grass is commonly found on "poverty" areas dry deserts and foot- 
hills, but it sometimes grows in the mountains up to about 7,000 
feet. It ranges from Kansas to southern California and south, 
through Mexico, into Central America. In Arizona and New 
Mexico it is largely found on the sandy areas toward the southern 
portions of the States. Usually it grows in scattered stands mixed 
with other grasses but sometimes is fairly abundant over localized 

Poverty three-awn is usually considered good forage in the South- 
west, especially for cattle and horses, while green and succulent, 
although in some sections it is given a low forage rating. It has 
two growing seasons when weather conditions are favorable. It 
makes early spring growth when moisture is abundant although its 
main growing season comes with the summer rains. If the summer 
rains come early poverty three-awn remains green for a month or 
more and produces considerable succulent forage. When, however, 
summer rains occur very late the seeds develop and mature rapidly 
and but little usable forage is produced. It becomes almost worth- 
less or even a menace to livestock when the troublesome awns appear. 
The plants green up mainly at the base and send up new shoots with 
the advent of winter and spring rains and make valuable forage at 
that time. 

The specific name divaricata and the English name of spreading 
three-awn refer to the spreading branches of the flower head, or 
seed cluster. The common names involving the word "poverty" 
apply to the poor, rather sterile soils in which this grass typically 
occurs and possibly also to its poor forage value at the time of seed 

Poverty three-awn is distinguished from most of the three-awns, 
when mature, by its widely branched seed head (panicle), which is 
often more than half the length of the entire plant. The branches 
of the panicle are rigid and straight and extend horizontally from 
the main stem; usually they are in pairs and bear seeds only out 
toward the ends. The panicle breaks off easily when mature and 
is blown about by the wind. 


Ari'stida fendleria'na 


Flower head (panicle) up to 5 in. 
long, narrow but open, with stiffly 
erect, short branches 

Individual flower group (spikelet)- 
1-flowered, short-stalked, erect 

Lowest (2) spikelct bracts (glumes) 
sharp-pointed but without awns, 
1 -nerved, unequal in length; 1st, or 
lower glume half as long as 2d, or upper 
glume which is about }'i in. long 

Outer flower bract (lemma) firm, 
wrapped around "seed", ending below 
in a finely hairy base (callus), and 
tipped above by a long, 3-parted beard 
(awn); 3 awn divisions equal in length, 
up to 2 in. long, ascending 

Stalks (culms) densely tufted below, 
erect, often naked but sometimes with 
1 or 2 very short stem leaves 

Leaves fine, crowded at base, forming 
a dense, curly cusliion, inrolled, sharp- 
pointed, up to 2 or 3 in. long, having 
a ring of fine hairs where blade joins 

Roots thickened-fibrous 

Fendler three-awn, also called small triple-awn grass, is a small, 
tufted perennial 4 to 12 inches high. The species largely inhabits dry, 
sandy soils of deserts, plains, mesas, and foothills but sometimes is 
found in dry mountain parks up to 8,500 feet. It is a widely dis- 
tributed species, occurring in the West from South Dakota and 
Montana to Texas and Lower California. 

In the Southwest Fendler three-awn has fair forage value while 
green in spring and early summer. The volume of forage produced 
is small and it is inferior to most of the larger three-awn species for 
forage. In the Intermountain Region it is considered almost worth- 
less, and stockmen sometimes call it "no-eat-um grass" because of its 
unpalatability. The seeds mature in midsummer or later, after which 
time it is practically worthless as forage and is occasionally a menace 
to grazing animals when the large three-branched beards (awns) ap- 
pear. In some localities Fendler three-awn is abundant, although 
usually it occurs in scattered stands mixed with other grasses, weeds, 
and shrubs. 



Ari'stida longise'ta 1 

Flower heads (panicles) erect, rather narrow 
but not stiff, few-flowered, (usually somewhat 
longer, 4 to 8 in. long, in the variety robusta 
(A)), with short, narrowly ascending branches, 
lower branches somewhat curved in the species 
(B) but stiffly erect in var. robu&ta, 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) purplish, 
single-flowered, short-stalked, mostly erect 

Outer flower bract (lemma) about K in. long, 
firm in texture, wrapped around seed, without 
neck at top, tipped by 3-parted bristle (awn) ; 
awn divisions about equal, up to 4% in. lone 
(usually shorter in var.. robusta), widely spread- 
ing at maturity (N. B. The ends of the awn 
branches in fig. G have been cut off) 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 1-veiried, 
awn-pointed or abruptly sharp-pointed, very 
unequal in length, 1st glume about $ as long as 
2d glume 

1 Including the 
variety A. lon- 
gise'ta robus'ta, 
syn. A. pur- 
pu'rea robus'ta. 

The plant on the left is the 
var. robusta; that on the 
right is typical of the 

Stalks (culms) erect, up to 16 in. high (taller, 
up to 20 in. high, in var. robusta), hairless 

Leaves densely cushion-tufted in typical form 
of species (not conspicuously tufted in var. 
robusta and with more stalk leaves), usually 
less than 6 in. long, sharp-pointed, inrolled, 
harsh on upper surface, sometimes slightly 
harsh on lower surface' 

Roots thickened-fibrous 

Red three-awn, also known as dogtown grass, long-awned needle- 
grass, prairie three-awn, longneedle three-awn, and wire needlegrass, 
is a perennial bunchgrass, and is perhaps the most easily recognized 
species of the genus. The outstanding mark of distinction of the 
species is the unusually long three-branched (trifid) beards (awns), 
which may be as long as 4^ inches. The variety robusta, as its 
name intimates, is typically more robust and taller; it has more 
leaves on the stalks, and has more stiffly erect branches in the seed 
head. However, there are numerous intergradations between typical 
forms of the species and the variety and, for that reason, they are 
here considered together. 

Red three-awn ranges rather widely in the region west of the 
Mississippi River, especially in the Southwest. It is known to occur 
from Kansas to Montana, eastern Oregon, Arizona, western Texas, 
and south into Mexico. It has also been reported from Washington 
and southern British Columbia. Probably most of the more northern 
material is of the variety robusta. The species is common through- 
out New Mexico and Arizona at elevations below those of the pon- 
derosa pine belt. It prefers the dry sandy soils on plains, mesas, 
and foothills, and is an aggressive invader of denuded areas, or of 
soils recently disturbed by burrowing animals, ploughing, or wash- 
ing. Complaint has been registered against it on the ground that it 
supplants wheatgrass on the range 2 in Wyoming and elsewhere, 
but such a condition is almost certainly correlated with utilization 
of the wheatgrass so close that the plants are weakened to such an 
extent that they cannot successfully compete with species of inferior 

There has been considerable difference of opinion among observers 
as to the forage value of this species. Some reports and publications 
indicate that it is practically worthless. However, the grass produces 
a considerable volume of fine leaves and deserves a higher rating 
than is frequently given it. According to Forest Service experience, 
red three-awn, when partially green, during the winter and spring 
months, rates at least fair in palatability both for cattle and sheep. 
This fact combined with its abundance qualify it as one of the most 
important species of the genus in New Mexico and Arizona. 

Through the cooperation of the Bureau of Chemistry, United States Depart- 
ment of Agriculture, a series of monthly analyses was made for the Forest 
Service of the herbage of red three-awn over a 2-year period, 1917-18, the 
material being collected on the Jornada Experimental Range in southern 
New Mexico. The analyses showed a surprising amount of variation in the 
relative proportions of the chemical constituents, apparently somewhat corre- 
lated with fluctuations in rainfall. As contrasted with the valuable black 
grama, with which it is often associated, red three-awn proved rather uniformly 
higher in ash and lower in ether extract, its water and protein content almost 
identical, the crude fiber slightly higher, and the nitrogen-free extract slightly 
less. As far as such analyses may give a clue to feeding values this species 
would appear to be about as nutritious as is the better known black grama, 
on the whole, but more fluctuating. 

Red three-awn is a vigorous seeder, its seed crop usually being plentiful. 
After maturity the seeds, with their long bristles (awns), often become a 
menace by getting into the eyes and nostrils of grazing animals, as well aa 
penetrating the wool of sheep and lowering fleece values. 

3 Johnson, L. A DESTRUCTIVE EANGE GBASS. Producer 8 (8) : 18, illus. 1927. 



Aris'tida orcuttia'na, syn. A. schiedea'na 

Flower head (panicle) open, up to 
half the length of entire plant, with 
slender, rigid, ascending or widely 
spreading branches flower-bearing to- 
wards the tips 

Leaves narrow, flat or inrolled, up 
to 12 in. long, smooth to rough 

Stalks (culms) somewhat tufted, erect, 
usually 1 to 2 ft. high, slightly harsh 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 
1-flowered, short-stalked 

Outer flower bract (lemma) firm, 
closely enfolding the "seed", with a 
rather blunt, hairy point (callus) below, 
tipped by a twisted, bent, unequally 
3-parted beard (awn); middle branch 
of awn spreading, about % in. long; 
side 2 branches reduced to mere points 
or lacking 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
often purplish, sharp-pointed or short- 
awned at tips', unequal; first glume 
about % in. long, longer than second 

Roots thickened-fibrous, perennial 

Single-awn aristida is a rather unusual member of the three-awn 
genus because the two lateral awns are very short or entirely lack- 
ing; hence the English name, single-awn aristida. The generic 
name comes from the Latin arista, a beard or awn, and refers to the 
bearded seeds of all members of this genus. This species ranges 
from western Texas through most of New Mexico, southern Arizona 
and into Mexico. It has also been reported from San Diego, Calif. 1 
It grows on the dry mesas, plains, and foothills in open grassland, 
desert shrub and oak woodland types on rocky, gravelly, or especially, 
on sandy soils. This grass occasionally is locally abundant but is 
usually scattered, and frequently grows in association with poverty 
three-awn (A. divaricata), blue grama (Boutelouw gracilis), galleta 
(Hilaria jame&li), dropseeds (Sporobolus spp.), mesquites (Prosopis 
spp.), and scrub live oak (Quercus turbindlal). 

Single-awn aristida is one of the earliest grasses to green up in 
the spring and, when moisture is adequate, produces considerable 
early green forage, which is grazed readily by all classes of live- 
stock. However, the main growing season of this grass comes with 
the advent of summer rains; while green, it is usually rated good 
in palatability. Its palatability decreases as the plant reaches ma- 
turity, and becomes very low after the foliage dries and the awns 
develop. On a seasonlong basis, it is commonly ranked as fairly 
good forage. Although the awned seeds of this species are not as 
troublesome (the awn being single) as those of most three-awn 
grasses, they are, nevertheless, avoided by grazing animals. 

Single-awn aristida is a perennial bunch grass, commonly from 1 
to 2 feet tall, with an upright, loosely flowered, often purplish 
panicle. Its single awn readily distinguishes this plant from other 
species of Aristida. It is frequently mistaken for a needlegrass 
(Stipa) because its awns are apparently single and somewhat twisted 
at the base, like those of the needlegrasses. Upon careful examina- 
tion, however, the two often very short, lateral branches of the awn 
are discernible on at least a few of the seeds, a feature which dis- 
tinguishes it at once from the needlegrasses. 


Berkeley, Calif. [1925.] 



Arrhena'therum ela'tius 

Flower heads (panicles) rather nar- 
row, pale or'purplish, shining, up to 12 
in. long, with ascending branches 

Stalks (culms) smooth, loosely tufted, 
up to 4K ft. high 

Leaves flat, up to 12 in. long, harsh 
on both surfaces 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 
slender-stalked, 2-flowered; the lower 
(staminate) producing pollen only; the 
upper, perfect 

Outer flower bract (lemma) of stami- 
nate flower about y t in. long, 7-nerved, 
with a bent and twisted beard (awn) K 
in. long arising from below the middle 
of the back 

Lemma of perfect flower usually with 
a short, straight awn from just below 
the tip 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
thin, unequal, persistent; 1st glume 
1-nerved, about K as long as 3-nerved 
2d glume 

Roots perennial, fibrous, with short 

Tall oatgrass, a leafy, tufted, perennial member of the oat tribe 
of the grass family (Gramineae), is a native of Europe. Originally 
introduced into the United States as a meadow grass it was more 
or less well established in New England and the Tennessee and 
Ohio Valleys as early as 1884. At that time it was known as ever- 
green grass, tall oatgrass, and meadow oatgrass. At the present 
time tall oatgrass is the well-established common name of this 
species and is particularly descriptive of this tall and oatlike plant. 
The scientific name is also suitable, the generic part being derived 
from Greek arren, masculine, and ather, awn, and the specific name 
from Latin elatiws, taller. The Greek words of the generic name 
refer to the awn which is borne on the male flower of each spikelet, 
while the specific name, elastius, of course, refers to the habit of the 
plant being taller than that of most oat (A vena) plants. 

Tall oatgrass has become naturalized in many places throughout 
the United States and is found along roadsides and in other waste 
places as an escape from cultivation. It has not, however, become 
established on the range to any extent. 

This species, although inclined to be rather stemmy, is palatable to alt classes 
of livestock, both while green and as winter forage. It ordinarily begins growth 
about two weeks earlier and remains green later in the fall than most native 
grasses with which it is associated on the range, thus materially extending the 
period during which succulent forage may be obtained by grazing animals. 
Livestock do not relish tall oatgrass when confined to it as an exclusive- diet, but 
eat it freely in mixtures. When first introduced into the United States tall 
oatgrass was regarded very favorably as a meadow grass, especially in tho 
South where it remains green practically yearlong and yields a large crop of 
good hay. Dr. Vasey 1 reports, in part: 

It (tall qatgrass) is widely naturalized and well adapted to a great variety of soils 
(in Mississippi). On sandy or gravelly soils it succeeds admirably, growing 2 to 3 
feet high. On rich dry uplands it grows from 5 to 7 feet high. It has an abundance 
of perennial, long, fibrous roots penetrating deeply in the soil, being therefore less 
affected by drought or cold, and enabled to yield a large quantity of foliage, winter and 

Tall oatgrass is one of the most drought-resistant of all cultivated grasses* 
and in recent years has received some attention as a possibly promising 
species for reseeding certain portions of the depleted grazing lands of the 
West. Vinall and Enlow s state that it is best suited to the Ohio Valley and 
the north Pacific coast regions and is better in a hay mixture than in pastures. 
They also state that it is suitable to any soil, except sand, and that for 
permanent pastures it is useful only in mixtures and should be sown in the 
fall at the rate of 20 to 25 pounds of seed per acre. Seed is available on the 
market and is not unduly expensive. 

In the Southwest, experimental range seedings of tall oatgrass failed to 
produce satisfactory stands. In Montana, experimental seedings indicate that 
the species will prosper on moderately dry sites at lower elevations. It may 
prove to be a very valuable grass for that region, especially on winter elk 
range, as the tall stems project above the snow. 

Forsling and Dayton 4 state that the species may have possibilities in the 
lower range country where satisfactory moisture conditions obtain, but results 
with it thus far are too meager to warrant other than experimental plantings. 



DESCRIBING GEASSEs. U. S. Dept. Agr., Div. Bot., Special Bull. [Unnumbered], rev., 148 
pp., illus. 1889. 

2 Piper, C. V. FORAGE PLANTS AND THEIR CULTURE. Rev., 671 pp., illus. New York, 

U. S. Dept. Agr., Bur. Plant Indus. [Unnumbered Pub.], 16 pp. 1934. [Mimeographed.] 

RANGE LANDS. U, S. Dept. Agr, Circ. 178, 48 pp., illus. 1931. 



Ave'na fa'tua 

Flower heads (panicles) large, 
open, up to 12 in. long, with 
slender, unequal, horizontally 
spreading to ascending branches 

Individual flower groups (spike- 
leta) 2- to 4-flowered, nearly 
1-in. long. 

Leaves flat, rather broad, 
harsh, up to 12 in. long 

Stalks (culms) in small tufts, 
stout, smooth, erect, up to 4 ft. 

Outer flower bract (lemma) 
with long, appressed, brownish 
hairs, 2-toothed at tip, bear- 
ing from near the middle of the 
back a bent, twisted, red- 
brown beard (awn) about l#in. 
long . 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts 
(glumes) taper-pointed, prom- 
inently 9-nerved, as long as the 
spikelet, remaining on the stalks 
after the "seeds" fall 

Roots fibrous, annual 

Wild oat, an annual grass native to Europe, is widely naturalized in many 
parts of the United States, occurring along roadsides and in grain fields, and, 
to some extent, on the range, but only in California is it sufficiently well estab- 
lished to rank as an important range plant. This species is often the dominant 
plant in California valleys and foothills, growing in nearly pure stands over 
large areas and in a variety of soils. Although it occurs in pine stands, it is 
characteristic of open slopes. Wild oat was well established in California at 
a very early date, probably at the time the missions were established. 

Today, many of the hills and valleys in California are clothed with a cover 
of wild oat, together with annual species of bromegrass and fescue. Clements J 
points out that, in a country with winter rainfall, the perennial grasses are 
especially susceptible to damage by overgrazing during the dry period from 
May to December. In fact, the original bunchgrass cover in the foothills of 
central and southern California was replaced largely by wild oat due to the 
long-continued overgrazing which began during the Spanish occupation and, 
at the present time, wild oat has come to simulate a climax type in many 
respects. However, in recent decades, it has suffered more and more from 
overgrazing, gradually being replaced by less palatable bromes and fescues. 

Wild oat produces an abundance of forage and is highly palatable until 
the seeds are dropped and the herbage dies. It is a winter annual in Cal- 
ifornia, its development being dependent upon the winter rains. With the 
advent of the fall rains in that State, much of the dried herbage is devoured 
with the new lush growth. Since wild oat is an annual, a seed crop must be 
matured and distributed each year if the plant is to be maintained on the 
range. In California a rapid growth of the grass is made in the spring, 
seed begins to ripen in May, and by the latter part of June the seed has 
largely fallen. Preliminary experiments have indicated that the species should 
be grazed lightly during the seed-production period from about mid-March to 
the last of June. After the seed has fallen the trampling of grazing animals 
assists in planting it. 2 This species is a good hay plant, and in some locali- 
ties is regularly mowed for that purpose. Ordinarily, sufficient seed matures 
and shells out so that the grass maintains itself. 

The seeds of wild oat, gathered by beating them into baskets, are consumed 
in large quantities by the Indians. The hairs and awns are singed off, and 
the seeds parched by tossing them about in shallow baskets with live coals. 
Finally, they are ground into a meal known as pinole. 3 Wild oat is also 
used by rustic anglers as an artificial fly. 4 

Smooth wild oat (A. fatua, glabrata) , a variety of wild oat, and slender oat 
(A. barbata), both annuals and natives of Europe, also occur in California. 
They are commonly associated with wild oat and are similar to it in pal- 
atability and productive capacity. Smooth wild oat differs from the others 
in having smooth rather than hairy lemmas. In slender oat the lemmas are 
clothed with red hairs and the teeth of the lemmas terminate in long bristles, 
but wild oat has brown, hairy lemmas and is without long bristles. 

The generic name Avena, is the classic Latin word for oat and was adopted 
for the genus by Linnaeus. Oat (A. sativa), the cereal, is one of the six species 
of Avena, two of which are native, that are found in the United States. Wild 
oat is the only range species sufficiently abundant to be of much importance. 

Some believe that the domesticated species has been derived from wild oat 
by cultivation and selection, and that if neglected enotigh will revert into the 
wild species. There is no conclusive proof of this, however, although the two 
species are very closely related. Wild oat differs from oat chiefly in the long 
awns, longer flower heads, densely hairy instead of smooth lemmas, and in the 
fact that the grain readily fall from the glumes. 

1 Clements, F. E. THE RELICT METHOD IN DYNAMIC ECOLOGY. Jour. Ecology [London] 
22(1) : 1-68, illus. 1934. 

2 Sampson, A. W., and Chase, A. RANGE GRASSES OF CALIFORNIA. Calif. Agr. Expt. 
Sta. Bull. 430, 94 pp., illus. 1927. 

U. S. Dept. Agr., Div. Bot., Contrib. U. S. Natl. Herbarium 7 : 295-422, illus. 1902. 

by J. T. B. Syme and Mrs. [P.] Lankester. Ed. 3, enl. and entirely rev., 12 v., illus. 
London. 1873-86. 



Blepharoneu'ron tricho'Iepis, syn. Sporo'bolus tricho'lepis 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 
stalked, 1-flowered, up to % in. long 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
1-veined, membranous, nearly equal, 
the first a little shorter and narrower 
than the second, smooth 

Outer flower bract Gemma) 3-nerved, 
nerves densely silky-hairy 

Inner flower bract (palea) 2-nerved, 
hairy between the nerves, about as long 
as the lemma 

Stalks (culms) simple, erect, slender, 
up to 3 ft. high, not hairy, sometimes 
purplish, sparingly leafy above 

Leaves mostly basal, narrow, smooth, 
pale green, 2 to 8 in. long, inrolled; 
uppermost leaf sometimes sheathing the 
panicle, equaling or extending beyond 

Flower head (panicle) up to 6 in. or 
more long, narrow but open and loosely 

Roots fibrous 

Pine dropseed, also known as beadless pinegrass, beardless drop- 
seed, and beardless bunchgrass, is a slender, erect, densely tufted, 
perennial bunchgrass with deep, fibrous roots, occuring in the moun- 
tains chiefly in open glades and parks or in open timber on mod- 
erately dry, rocky soils, in the ponderosa pine and lodgepole pine 
and spruce-fir zones from Colorado and Utah to Arizona and west- 
ern Texas and south into Mexico. It is commonly associated with 
mountain and ring muhlies, junegrass, and with Sandberg and 
smooth bluegrasses, but generally comprises only a small portion of 
the stand. The palatability of pine dropseed, at least when young 
and tender, is very good for all classes of livestock about equal to 
that of mountain muhly but somewhat lower than that of bluegrass 
and junegrass. Its stems and seed heads are either neglected or 
only slightly grazed during the latter part of the season. The leaves 
are abundant and sometimes attain a length of 8 inches but usually 
are considerably shorter and ordinarily not much forage per plant 
is produced. I*ine dropseed is an important secondary species which 
will maintain itself normally on properly grazed ranges. 

This grass gets its scientific name from the Greek, blepharis, 
eyelash, + newron, nerve, and from tricho-, hair, + lepis, scale, both 
the generic and specific parts of the name referring to the hairiness 
of the three nerves of the lemma. It is the only species of this 
genus found in the United States. The stems are erect, densely 
tufted, often purplish, usually from 10 to 30 inches high ; the flower- 
ing part, or inflorescence (panicle) head, is somewhat open and 
from 2 to 9 inches long ; the spikelets are single-flowered and up to 
about one-eighth of an inch long. 


Boutelou'a spp. 

The gramas which clothe thousands of square miles of the Great 
Plains and are the principal plants in the so-called buffalo grass or 
short grass association, grow exclusively in the Western Hemisphere. 

The Spanish conquistadores, finding extensive areas of Bouteloua 
species in the tablelands of central Mexico, called them grama 
(literally, grass), probably because the flaglike spikes reminded them 
of the familiar related grama of Spain (what we call Bermuda 
grass). The name is now well established for the entire genus 
Bouteloua. Gramas occur in all the Western States except Wash- 
ington and Oregon but are most abundant in the Southwest, espe- 
cially in Arizona and New Mexico. They thrive chiefly on dry sites 
and at low elevations, and only rarely extend above the ponderosa 
pine zone. They also occur in greater or less abundance in the 
eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains from southern Canada 
southward, in southern and eastern Utah, western Colorado, and in 
many of the warmer sections of California and the Intermountain 

In the Southwest the gramas are one of the mainstays of the 
range and furnish more forage than any rival plant at altitudes from 
the lowlands and dry mesas up to about 7,500 feet elevation. Most 
species are relished by all classes of livestock and withstand heavy 
grazing, and many of them rank as good to excellent forage plants. 
The gramas, however, produce very little spring forage; their main 
growth is chiefly dependent upon the amount of moisture available 
after the advent of warm, summer weather, and during drought 
years it may be practically negligible. 

Certain species of gramas are easily distinguished from other com- 
mon western range grasses by their characteristic (mostly few) flag- 
like spikes or seed clusters (as shown in the illustrations of black 
and blue gramas). Other species have an entirety different-looking 
inflorescence with many small flower clusters (spikes) as shown in 
the illustration of side-oats grama. In all gramas, the individual 
flower groups (spikelets) are small and single-flowered, with rudi- 
ments of one or more individual flowers (florets) above, arranged 
in two rows along one side of a more or less curved axis, forming 

The gramas are excellent soil binders and aid materially in curbing 
erosion. They seldom form a complete sod but, in most of their 
habitats, grow typically in patches. 

The genus was named by the illustrious Spanish botanist Mariano 
Lagasca (1776-1839) in honor of two contemporary Spanish 
gardeners, Claudio and Esteban Boutelou. 



Boutelou'a chondrosioi'des 

Mower head (raceme) with few (3 to 7), 
densely woolly flower groups (spikes) up to % 
in long, erect or spreading, , attached by short 
stalks to angles of zigzag, rather short (up to 
2# in. long) stem axis 

Spike hairy, enlarged to show arrangement of 
the 7 to 13 individual flower groups (spikelets) 
composing it and which are stalkless, crowded 
m 2 rows on one side of flowering branchlet 

Spikelet hairy, showing single perfect flower 
(floret) and the modified imperfect floret reduced 
to 3 rigid bristles (awns) % in. long, middle awn 
with papery margins 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) hairy 
unequal, lower %. as long as upper 

Outer flower bract Gemma) 3-vcined, 3-toothed 
and hairy at tip 

Inner flower bract (palea) 2-nerved, 2-toothed 
at tip, hairy along edges and on nerves 

Stalks (culms) few-leaved, erect, ridged) 

Leaves mostly basal; sheaths of lower leaves 
short, loose, minutely furrowed, longer than 
upper; blades slightly hairy beneath, flat, rather 
rigid, longer (3 to 6 in. long) than upper (1 in. 
long) blades. 

Collar fligule) between leaf sheath and blade, 
a ring of fine, short hairs 

Rootstock underground, short 
Roots fibrous, very strong 

Sprucetop grama, esteemed as a very valuable grass wherever it 
occurs, is an erect mostly tufted perennial, usually attaining a height 
of about 15 to 18 inches but under the best growth conditions it may 
occasionally grow as high as 3 feet and almost form a turf. 

This species is restricted to southern Arizona in the United States, 
its main range being in Mexico. In southern Arizona it occurs 
chiefly in the foothills and desert areas where it constitutes a large 
portion of the forage on some ranges, occasionally growing in 
nearly pure stands but more frequently in mixture with slender 
grama (B. filiformis}, side-oats grama (B. curtipendnHa) , false-mes- 
quite (CaZlmndrd eriophylla) , and velvetpod mimosa, or Arizona 
rose (Mimosa dysocarpa). 

While somewhat less palatable than the associated side-oats and 
slender gramas, sprucetop grama is grazed on some considerable 
scale, particularly during the summer growing season. The leaves, 
although short, are numerous so that the plants furnish considerable 
forage. This species cures very well on the ground and is valuable 
for late fall, winter, and spring use. In fact, sprucetop grama 
forms the backbone of some year-long ranges. 

In order to promote maximum forage production this plant should 
be grazed conservatively during its period of rapid growth. Flower 
stalks are usually sent up in July and August and the seed is largely 
disseminated during September and October. This species has two 
methods of reproduction by rootstocks and by seed. It is said to 
form a turf in parts of Mexico. It is drought-resistant and with- 
stands grazing satisfactorily unless subjected to continued abuse. 

Sprucetop grama has numerous slender, flat leaves and compara- 
tively naked stems, each bearing commonly 3 to 7 woolly-bristly 
spikes. Its appearance varies considerably at different growth 
stages. The flowers, and later the seeds, are borne on the axis of 
the spike in two comb-teethlike rows, a characteristic of many 
gramas. This identifying feature disappears with the development 
of the rigid awns of the spikelets. Although this species resembles 
slender grama with which it is associated commonly, it is readily 
distinguishable from the latter by its woolly spikes. Boutelo'ua 
eludens, a species with no accepted common name, is often associated 
with B. chondrosioides and is difficult to separate from it botanically. 
This plant apparently is not so common on the range, though of 
about equal palatability. 

The species is sometimes called woollyspike and Havard grama 
(the United States form of the species was originally known as 
B. havardii). It is of historical interest, as the illustrious Baron 
von Humboldt collected its type specimens in Mexico in the early 
nineteenth century. 



Boutelou'a curtipen'dula 

Flower head (raceme) of numerous 
(sometimes 60) flower groups (spikes) 

Spikes somewhat drooping, mostly 
turned to one side of the elongated 
(6 to 12 in.)., somewhat zigzag stem, 
their short stalks remaining as purplish 
stubs- after spikes fall off 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 
stalkless, 1 to 12, spreading or pen- 
dulous in 2 rows from under side of 
flattened, troughlike, flowering branch- 
let (rachis) 

Perfect flower (floret) only 1 , enclosed 
by 2 flower bracts; outer flower bract 
(lemma) } in. long, 3-veined, 3-toothed 
at tip 

Imperfect, modified floret (rudiment) 
1 , often reduced to but 3 bristles (awns), 
on a tiny stalk above the perfect floret 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
unequal in size, tapering, turning 
purplish, remaining attached after 
florets fall 

Stalks (culms) leafy, erect, smooth, 
dark purplish at joints 

Leaves mostly basal; sheaths harsh; 
blades 2 to 12 in. long, y 4 in. wide, flat, 
the edges with scattered, long hairs 
from pimplelike bases 

Rootstocks creeping below ground,, 
strong, scaly 

Roots tough, fibrous 

Side-oats grama, also called tall grama, derives its common and 
specific names from the peculiar arrangement of the many spikes, 
commonly from 20 to 60, which hang pendent on one side of the 
stem. It is an erect perennial with coarse fibrous roots, strong, 
creeping rootstocks, wide flat leaves, and rather leafy stems from 
1 to 4 feet high. Despite the presence of rootstocks its growth is 
typically tufted like the bunchgrasses. 

This species is widely distributed from Connecticut and New 
Jersey to Tennessee and Alabama, and from Montana and Utah to 
California and Texas; also through Mexico south into South Amer- 
ica. It occurs in Montana as a plains grass, growing usually in 
scattered stands in mixture with other grasses although occasionally 
occurring in some abundance on dry, rocky ridges. In the South- 
west it is typically a grass of dry slopes, ridges, and rocky hillsides 
at elevations from 3,000 to 8,000 feet. In Arizona it makes its best 
growth on alluvial soils where it sometimes is rather abundant over 
limited areas. 

Side-oats grama is a vigorous grower, produces a considerable 
volume of leafage per plant, and is a valuable forage species where- 
ever sufficiently abundant. It is generally considered of high pal- 
atability while green and is consumed mainly during the growing 
season. It is recognized as both a good winter and summer forage 
although, as a winter feed, it is inferior to blue, black, or sprucetop 
grama. However, it is a valuable grass when used in mixture with 
these other gramas. The leaves are superior to the stems of the 
plant in palatability to the extent that the latter sometimes remain 
untouched even after all the leaves have been eaten. This species 
differs from some other important grasses in that it produces de- 
sirable green feed in the spring which is relished highly by livestock, 
if and when satisfactory spring rains occur. 

The spikes of side-oats grama project from two sides of the flat- 
tened, zigzag axis but the delicate stems attaching* the spikes often 
twist and bend so that those sharp-pointed parts extend over on the 
same side. When the flowers open, the showy, orange-red pollen 
sacs (anthers) give a very distinctive appearance to the flower head. 

This species produces a fair amount of seed of rather low viability. 
It is propagated in the main by underground rootstocks. Where 
sufficiently abundant in the Southwest and Great Plains areas, it is 
occasionally cut for hay. Because of its size, vigorous growth, 
adaptability to varying growth conditions, and economic value, it 
appears to be the most promising grama for domestication. 


Boutelou'a erio'poda 

(2 leaves) 

' Flower heads (racemes of spikes) 4 to 
6 in. long, with 2 to 8, commonly 4 to 5, 
flower groups (spikes) 

Spikes about 1 in. long, loose, on short, 
woolly stalks, each bearing 12 to 20 
individual flower groups (spikelets); 
enlarged spike (A) 

Spikelets about % in. long, loosely ar- 
ranged like teeth of a comb, in 2 rows on 
1 side of spike axis (rachis), each with 1 
perfect flower (floret) and 1 reduced 
floret (rudiment) 

Rudiment short-stalked, above the 
perfect floret, reduced to 3 equal, harsh- 
hairy beards (awns) 

iner flower bract (palea) 
2-toothed at tip, awnless 

uter flower bract (lemma) 
3-awned, the 2 side awns 
very short 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
1-nerved, sharp-pointed or very short- 
awned at tip, hairless; 1st glume about 
K as long as 2d glume 

Stalks (culms) white-woolly, some- 
what wiry, branched, ascending or 
creeping, 3 to 36 in. long 

Leaves smooth, narrow, inrolled, 1 to 
5 in. long; leaf sheaths hairless 

Roots numerous, fibrous, 
finely divided, well developed 
in upper 10 in. of soil 

Ruimers (stolons) widely creeping 
on ground, sending up new stalks 
and rooting at joints 

Black grama, also called woolly-foot grama, is a tufted, long-lived 
perennial grass. Unlike most gramas it reproduces and spreads 
vegetatively by means of runners (stolons). Although Griffiths 1 
states that it is occasionally an annual, under range conditions it is 
practically invariably a perennial. It is a key species on many 
Southwestern ranges of lower elevations and has been the subject 
of more intensive study than most native, western forage plants. 

Black grama ranges from western Texas, through New Mexico 
and Arizona, south into Mexico. It is characteristically a lower- 
altitude grass, its main altitudinal range being from 3,500 to 5,500 
feet, although it is occasionally found a'bove 7,000 feet. It occurs 
mostly in open grasslands and on dry, gravelly or sandy soils. Origi- 
nally it occurred almost as a pure type over extensive areas, and is 
still a dominant plant under favorable conditions. It occurs less 
commonly in the foothills, being very intolerant of shade, and is 
found but rarely on clay loams or adobe flats. It is very abundant 
in portions of the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico where it occu- 
pies large stretches of the open, gently sloping country between the 
rugged upper foothills and the brushy areas of the lower foothills 
and mesas above the bottom lands. Here, in favorable years, it some- 
times makes a crop heavy enough to be cut for hay. 

Black grama is a choice forage grass, and was originally the main- 
stay of the range on numerous areas of the Southwest. It is highly 
palatable and nutritious both in summer and winter, and makes a 
valuable year-long range forage plant, especially for cattle. As 
Nelson 2 points out, the lower parts of the stems remain green dur- 
ing the milder winters, and clusters of leaves may start growth from 
some of the stem joints (nodes) in the spring. If it does not remain 
green, it cures well on the stalk and retains its nutritive value 
through the dry, spring period when other range forage is unpalat- 
able or unavailable. 

Although black grama can withstand recurrent grazing by live- 
stock on heavily used ranges it spreads but little. Too heavy utiliza- 
tion seriously impairs its vigor and plants so weakened die out during 
drought periods. Campbell and Bomberger 3 point out that, in 
parts of the Southwest, black grama is subject to serious depletion 
as a result of drought or overgrazing, or both. In order to enable 
this valuable forage grass to maintain its stand its methods of re- 
production and spreading must be considered when grazing the 

Black grama maintains and increases the size of its stand in 
three different ways, viz (1), by seed production, (2) lateral spread 
by tillering, and (3) revegetation by stolons from old tufts. On the 
whole, black grama reproduces very little from seed. Its seed habits 
are unusually variable and are not dependable. During very favor- 
able growing seasons a heavy crop of flower stalks and flowers is 

Contrib. U. S. Natl. Herbarium 14 : 343-444, illus. 1912. 

GRASS RANGE. U. S. Dept. Agr. Tech. Bull. 409, 32 pp., illus. 1934. 




(leaf 2) 

produced although many of these do not mature their seed satis- 
factorily ; even when well matured the seed has poor viability. Dur- 
ing drought years practically no flowers or seed are produced. The 
increase in area by tillering during a given growing season de- 
pends somewhat upon the intensity of the grazing and the density 
of the existing vegetation, but chiefly upon the vigor built up in the 
preceding year. For revegetation by stolons to be highly successful, 
two successive favorable growing seasons are required, one for the 
new sets to be produced and the second for the sets to become rooted 
and established as individual plants. The number of stolons per tuft 
varies from 1 to 9, but the number produced appears to have no 
relation to the size of the tuft producing them. The chief value 
of this method of revegetation is that it makes it possible for new 
plants to be established at some distance from the parent plant and 
this results in a greater area increase than would be possible from 
tillering alone. In general, stolons are not so effective a means of 
revegetation on grazed areas as is tillering nor are they as effective, 
either in good or poor years, on grazed as on ungrazed areas. The 
trampling of the grazing animals breaks off many of the stolons be- 
fore the new sets can be established. 

Based on quadrat experiments carried on in a 13-year study with 
four different intensities of grazing use of black grama on the 
Jornada Experimental Range in southern New Mexico, Nelson (op. 
tit.} gives the following results: 

Heavy overgrazing year after year has a fivefold effect upon the stand of 
black grama: (1) The existing stand of black grama rapidly broke down and 
eventually died; (2) natural revegetation was seriously handicapped and 
reduced because of the low density and poor vigor of the old plants and 
excessive trampling of new plants; (3) drought losses were intensified; (4) 
competition from inferior perennial grasses and weeds increased; and (5) 
a marked reduction appeared in the annual forage crop. 

Overgrazing during the summer growing season, when the main growth of 
black grama is made, reduces the height growth even in favorable growing 
seasons, although not so severely as does heavy, yearlong overgrazing. If 
this is repeated summer after summer the vigor of the plants is impaired and 
no spread by tillering or establishment of new plants by stolons can occur even 
in favorable growing periods. 

Full use in the better years and slight overgrazing in dry years did not per- 
mit the full recovery of black grama from the losses suffered in drought 
years, and the lateral spread of the tufts by tillering in the favorable grow- 
ing years was not so effective as on the ungrazed or conservatively grazed 
ranges. The average height growth in favorable growing years was only 
slightly under that of the ungrazed years. In drought years, the species is 
hindered from attaining its optimum condition. On the whole, this method 
"prevents the maximum development of the black grama stand and permits 
the inferior, associated grasses and other species to secure a foothold on the 
more depleted black grama ranges." 

Conservative grazing, i. e., grazing management on a sustained yield basis, 
enables forage production of black grama to be maintained "as well as or 
better than under complete protection from grazing." While revegetation by 
stolons is not so extensive nor so effective under this method as is lateral 
spread by tillering, a more even distribution of the smaller tufts over the 
soil surface results, and the stand as a whole is not reduced. Without doubt, 
conservative grazing is the most stable and productive system of grazing for 
black grama. 

In general appearance black grama somewhat resembles blue 
grama (Boubeloua gmcilis). Blak grama has an above-ground 
stoloniferous method of revegetation, a greater number (usually 
4 or 5) of flaglike spikes in the flower head, conspicuous tufts of 
whitish, woolly hair at the bases of the loosely arranged spikelets, 
and jointed, branched, and densely woolly steins. Such characters 
contrast strongly with blue grama's underground rootstock method 
of spreading (which in the north results in a rough sod formation), 
its fewer (usually 1 to 3), erect (in age strongly curved) spikes, 
crowded spikelets (as many as 80 in some spikes), and its un- 
branched stems (except occasionally at base), and serve to distin- 
guish these two very important gramas. 



Boutelou'a gra'cilis, syn. B. oligostach' ya 

Flower head (raceme) upright, composed of 
usually 2 flower groups (spikes) 

Spikes ? 4 to 2 in. long, purplish, curved at ma- 
turity, composed of numerous, crowded, indi- 
vidual flower groups (spikelets) in 2 rows ar- 
ranged like teeth of comb on one side of the 
axis (rachis); rachis not prolonged at end 

Stalks (culms) densely tufted at base, 
slender, unbranchod above, smooth, erect, 6 
to 36 in. high 

Leaves numerous, mostly basal, narrow, flat, 
smooth, 1 to 4 in. long, with a few, soft, white 
hairs at junction of blade and sheath 

Roots fibrous, spreading 

Spikelets 3-flowercd; lowest flower perfect, 
stalkless; upper 2 flowers imperfect, stalked, 
hairy, reduced to bristles and scales 

Outer flower bract (lemma) of perfect flower 
3-nerved, 3-awned, hairy on the back 

Inner flower bract (palea) of perfect flower- 
2-nerved, 2-toothed 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) unequal, 
somewhat hairy, bristle- (awn-) tipped 

Blue grama, also known locally as white, red, or purple grama, though not 
quite as widely distributed as hairy and side-oats gramas, is, without doubt, 
the most common species of grama throughout the Western States and economi- 
cally the most important species of the genus. It occurs from Wisconsin to 
Alberta, California, and Texas, extending southward, through Mexico, into 
South America. It is found in all the Western States except, possibly, Wash- 
ington, Oregon, and Idaho, and is especially characteristic of the short grass 
areas of the Great Plains. 

Blue grama varies considerably in growth habits and general appearance 
in different parts of its range. In the northern part, and under favorable 
moisture conditions, it tends to form a sod. Farther south on the Plains and 
other places where conditions are less favorable as a result of less rainfall 
or higher evaporation, it does not form so complete a cover but occurs in 
patches, and along the Mexican border at an elevation of about 5,000 feet 
it has more the appearance of a bunchgrass. 1 In the North the stems seldom 
reach a height of over 12 to 16 inches, sometimes being as low as 6 inches, 
but in the Southwest stems 2 to 2% feet high are not uncommon. 

Blue grama occurs on rather dry plains and foothills, as well asi in the 
mountains in the woodland and ponderosa pine zones, inhabiting sandy or 
gravelly soils and also compact loams and gumbos. It is a quick-growing 
species and matures 1 in about 60 to 70 days. Growth ordinarily does not 
start, or at least is very light, until after summer rains begin. The species 
is drought-resistant and has the ability to become dormant during drought 
periods in what would normally be the growing season. Subsequently, as 
soon as moisture becomes available, if temperatures are sufficient, it greens 
up and immediately resumes growth. 

Generally, blue grama is rated as a choice forage species for all classes of 
livestock. It withstands grazing very well. On ranges suitable for fall and 
winter grazing it does best and yields greatest returns if it is grazed lightly 
in the summer during the period of rapid growth and is allowed to mature a 
crop, which, curing well on the ground, makes very good fall and winter for- 
age. It forms a fairly good ground cover which gives it great soil-protective 
value. Its drawbacks as a range forage plant are that, over much of its 
range, it produces a relatively small crop and practically no green forage 
during spring and early summer at the time when succulent forage is espe- 
cially desirable. However, it is a valuable forage plant for use at any time 
in the Southwest, where the spring growth of grasses is normally scanty. 

Blue grama roots appear mainly in the upper 18 inches of soil, most of the 
roots being near the surface ; consequently the grass is well adapted to situa- 
tions where, because of a compact soil through which water percolates slowly, 
or because of light storms, much of the moisture during the growing season 
is confined to the surface 6 or 8 inches of soil. Under these conditions blue 
grama, and perhaps some of the other gramas also, forms the climax vegeta- 
tive type. On many ranges, however, the grama or short grass type has come 
in as a result of heavy grazing, which has helped to eliminate the bunch 
grasses or tall grass which naturally occupy such areas. Studies on the 
Coconino Plateau by Hill and Talbot 2 show that blue grama, after long pro- 
tection, gives way to some extent to the bunchgrasses where it is growing 
near the upper elevational limits of its range but, on the open range, easily 
holds its own under light grazing and withstands heavy grazing remarkably 
well. Even though grazing of this species by domestic livestock is care- 
fully regulated, it is often subject to severe use by rodents. The seed habits 
of blue grama are weak and probably only in favorable years is a crop of 
good seed produced. However, this is offset to a considerable extent by the 
fact that the plants spread rather vigorously by tillering. 

Typically each slender, erect, smooth stem of blue grama bears two spikes, 
but stems with one or three are not uncommon, and occasionally as many 
as six spikes will be found on a stem. The numerous leaves are mostly 
basal, from 1 to 4 inches long, rather narrow, flat, and smooth, and bear a 
few soft, white hairs t the junction of blade and sheath. The specific name 
ffracilis refers to the slender, graceful habit of this species. 

Contrib. U. S. Natl. Herbarium 14 : 34-3-444, illus. 1M2. 

NATIONAL FOREST. 33 pp. 1923. [Unpublished ms.] 



Boutelou'a hirsu'ta 

Flower heads (racemes) up- 
right, of 1 to 4 flower groups 

Spikes purplish, % to 1 % in.Iong, 
hairy, with the central axis 
(rachis) conspicuously prolonged 

Stalks (culms) unbranched, 
rather rigid, 4 to 30 in. high, 

Individual flower groups (spike- 
lets) numerous, 2-flowered, 
crowded in 2 rows like the teeth 
of a comb on one side of the 
rachis; lower flower perfect, 
stalkless; upper flower imper- 
fect, stalked 

Outer flower bract (lemma) 
of perfect flower hairy, 3- 
toothed, the teeth somewhat 

Imperfect flower (rudiment) 
reduced to 3 equal, stiff bristles 
and about 2 bracts, hairless at 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts 
(glumes) unequal, the 2d 
longer and with long, rigid hairs 
arising from dark glands on 
either side of the midrib 

Leaves usually short (lower, 2 
to 8 in.; upper, 1 to 4 in. long), 
flat, narrow, the lower margins 
usually fringed with rather long, 
scattered hairs 

Roots fibrous 

Hairy grama, an erect, rigid perennial, occurs from British Co- 
lumbia to Illinois, Texas and California and south into Mexico; 
also, along the Gulf Coast, to the pinelands of peninsular Florida. It 
is one of the two or three most widely distributed species of grama. 
It is named hirsuta (hairy) because of the hairy spikes and because 
the margins of the leaves typically, although not invariably, bear 
rather long, scattered hairs. However, the chief distinguishing 
feature is that the spike axis projects as a naked point beyond the 
uppermost spikelet. 

This grass occurs chiefly on dry, sandy and sandy loam soils, oc- 
casionally up to 8,000 feet, though rarely above elevations of 7,000 
feet, and, in southern Arizona, attains most satisfactory develop- 
ment upon stable sandy loams at elevations between 4,000 and 6,000 
feet. It is often associated with blue grama but is more drought- 
resistant and frequently grows at lower altitudes and on less favor- 
able sites. It occurs over much of the Southwest, especially in 
southern Arizona, and is one of the outstanding grasses of that 
region, being seldom found in pure stands but often appearing 
abundantly in mixture with side-oats grama (Bouteloua curtipen- 
dula), slender grama (B. filiformis), other gramas (Bouteloua spp.), 
cane beardgrass (Andropogon barbinodis) , mesquites (Prosopis 
spp.), and catclaw (Acacia greggii}. Hairy grama is very abundant 
in the sandy soils along the more southern portions of the Texas- 
New Mexico State line where, with a few species of beardgrasses 
(Andropogon spp.), it constitutes about the only forage and, on the 
plateau of central Mexico, it grows in practically pure stands. 1 

Hairy grama has about the same palatability as blue grama, con- 
stituting very good forage especially for winter use, but ordinarily 
it is a smaller plant and produces less forage. It withstands grazing 
very well, but, like most other gramas, does better if it is grazed 
lightly during the summer growing period, leaving most of the 
crop, which cures very well on the ground, for use during fall, 
winter, and spring. Little growth is made until after the summer 
rains begin but, if precipitation then is adequate, the species matures 
rapidly. During exceptionally dry years this grass produces very- 
little forage, although it withstands such droughts remarkably well. 

Hairy grama is variable in size and appearance. In the northern 
part 01 its range this species usually has only one or two spikes 
on a stalk and has short rootstocks (rhizomes) which tend to form 
a sod, but in the South it grows in clumps, closely resembling a 
bunchgrass, and often has from two to four spikes on each culm. 
The spikes are often purplish and are % to V/$ inches long. The 
leaves are flat and narrow, and are more numerous on the lower than 
on the upper portions of the stem. 

Contrib. U. S. Natl. Herb. 14 : 343-444, illus. 1912. 



Boutelou'a rothrock'ii 

Flower head (raceme) upright, con- 
sisting of 4 to 12 (usually 4 to 6) flower 
groups (spikes) 


Spikes narrow, 1 to l%in. lor 
dish purple, with many, crowd* 
vidual flower groups (spikelets) in 2 
rows like teeth of comb on 1 side of the 
central axis (rachis) 

Spikelets 2- (sometimes 3-) flowered; 
lowest flower perfect, stalkless; upper 
flower (or flowers) imperfect, reduced to 
bristles and bracts, stalked, hairy 

Outer flower bract (lemma) of perfect 
flower loosely hairy with long, white 
hairs, 4-lobed; lobes with hairy-fringed 
margins, and -with 3 short bristles (awns) 
arising from between them. 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
unequal, 2-toothed, persistent; 2d 
glume with a very short awn between 
the teeth 

Stalks (culms) erect, leafy (especially 
below), mostly unbranched 

Leaves numerous, 2 to 4 in. long, 
mainly basal and on the lower portion 
of the stem. 

Roots fibrous, shallow 

Rothrock grama, also known as crowfoot grama and mesa grama, 
is a relatively short-lived perennial with a meager root system, com- 
monly forming small tufts 1 to 3 inches in diameter. Its specific 
name commemorates Dr. Joseph Trimble Rothrock (1839-1923), an 
eminent botanist, explorer, and conservationist known as the Father 
of Pennsylvania Forestry. Rothrock grama occurs from southern 
Utah through Arizona and southern California into Mexico, but is 
of major importance in southern Arizona where it grows on the 
mesas and gentle open slopes of the foothills. Its mam elevational 
range is between 1,800 and 5,500 feet, but it is occasionally found at 
either higher or lower elevations. At the lower altitudinal range 
this grass grows chiefly on the deeper soils and more moist situations, 
but at the upper elevations where more precipitation occurs it ex- 
tends out over mesas and foothills in a wide variety of soils, vary- 
ing from adobe to coarse gravelly or rocky sites. This species some- 
times occurs in almost pure stands over large areas. It frequently 
grows in mixture with black grama (Bouteloua eriopoda), needle 
grama (B. ari^tidoides) , side-oats grama (B. cm-tip endula) , Hilaria 
spp., desert hackberry (Ueltis reticulata) , mesquites (Prosopis spp.), 
and catclaw (Acacia ^eggii). 

The great abundance of Rothrock grama makes it an outstanding 
grass on some ranges. It varies from fair to good or even very 
good in palatability during the growing season but rates somewhat 
lower at other seasons of the year. This grass is highest in palat- 
ability and of maximum forage value during the summer growing 
season because it dries up quickly in the fall and does not cure as 
well on the range as do other common gramas. Rothrock grama, 
in contrast to most gramas, is a second-rate forage grass. Being 
short-lived and poorly rooted, it does not withstand heavy grazing 
satisfactorily, and rates as a so-called flash species, appearing or re- 
ceding in accordance with climatic fluctuations. This characteristic 
behavior explains why Rothrock grama is sometimes mistaken for 
an annual grass. It decreases very noticeably during continued 
drought but, being a prolific seeder, reappears rapidly under favor- 
able conditions. 1 Rothrock grama is sometimes cut for hay, yielding 
from 600 to 1,500 pounds an acre in favorable years on limited 
areas where it is particularly abundant. The early pioneers of 
southern Arizona are said to have used it rather extensively as hay. 

The species bears a family resemblance to blue grama (B. gracilis), 
with which it is sometimes confused, although readily distinguish- 
able from blue grama because of its growth in small bunches, rather 
than in turflike patches, and by its more numerous (from 4 to 12; 
commonly 4 to 6 on each stem) and somewhat finer flower spikes. 
These spikes frequently lend a reddish brown tint to the landscape, 
blending beautifully with the green of the open savanna wood- 
land. The numerous slender leaves on the lower portion of the 
stems usually give the plant a leafy appearance, which also helps 
to distinguish it from blue grama. 

1 Thornber. J. J. THE GRAZING RANGES OF ARIZONA. Ariz. Aer. Ext. Sta. Bull. 65: 
[245]-360, illus. 1910. 


Bro'mus spp. 

Brome is a large and very important genus, of the fescue-bluegrass 
tribe, found mostly in the North Temperate Zone. With very few 
exceptions the native western species are perennials, but about a 
dozen annuals, usually known as chess, or cheat, are naturalized on 
western ranges from the Old World. Another foreigner, the peren- 
nial smooth brome (Bromus inermis), has proven to be one of the 
most valuable species for reseeding certain western mountain ranges. 1 
Bromes are robust grasses and generally make a moderately rank 
growth. The name "brome" comes from a Greek word meaning 
"food", and it is a fact that most species are eaten with relish by 
livestock at certain times or even throughout the growing season. 
A few bromes are valuable for hay. On the other hand, some of 
the annual bromes are highly undesirable weeds because of their 
invasion of agricultural lands. Some of these annuals have stiff 
prominent bristles (awns) that penetrate eye, nose, and mouth tis- 
sues, causing sores and blindness in livestock and game. Ripgut 
grass (B. ricjidus], introduced from the Mediterranean region into 
California and contiguous States, is, when mature, a particularly 
serious menace because of its detached sharp-pointed florets and 
long, hard, spinelike awns. 

Several characters help to distinguish bromes from other genera 
in the fescue tribe to which they belong. Leaf blades are character- 
istically flat and relatively broad with the edges of the leaf sheath 
grown together forming a tube. The seed heads (panicles) are sel- 
dom spikelike but usually more or less open and spreading. The 
low^er glume, i. e., the lower of the two bracts at the base of the 
group (spikelet) of little flowers (florets), has 1 to 3 nerves and 
the upper, 3 to 9, usually 3 to 5. Backs of the florets are rounded 
in most species, but in others only on the lower part, whereas toward 
the top the midrib stands out like the keel on the bottom of a boat. 
The rather rigid outer seed husk (lemma) is notched at the tip, 
making two teeth between which the beard (awn) arises, and the 
veins (nerves) of the lemma converge at the apex. 

RANCH LANDS. U. S. Dept. Agr. Circ. 178, 48 pp., illus. 1031. 



Bro'mus carina'tus, B. margina'tus, B. polyan'thus 

Bromus marginatus 

Outer flower bract (lemma) 
soft-hairy on the back, ridged 
(keeled) at the tip, with a ter- 
minal beard (awn) Ke in. long 
between 2 small teeth 

Flower head (panicle) open, 
rather narrow, 4 to 8 in. long, 
the branches erect or spreading 
(not drooping) 

Individual flower groups (spike- 
lets) flattened, 7- to 9-flowered, 
about 1 to 1)2 in. long 

Leafsheath often soft-hairy 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts 
(glumes) rather broad, un- 
equal; 1st glume 3- to 5-veined, 
shorter and more pointed than 
the 5- to 7 -nerved 2d glume 

Leaf blades flat, with few, 
very fine hairs or smooth and 

Roots fibrous 

See following page for footnote. 

Big mountain bromes are here considered to include three prominent bromes 
that are closely related and very similar in appearance, growth habits, and 
forage value. Of these three, big brome is very widely distributed in the 
range States but is particularly prevalent in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon ; 
polyanthus brome prospers throughout the Rocky Mountains from Montana to 
Arizona and New Mexico ; and California brome abounds on the Pacific slope, 
and is also at home in Montana, Arizona, and the Southwest ; it is strikingly 
absent from the central Rocky Mountains. All three species grow in canyons, 
on grassy hillsides, and in the higher mountains at elevations up to 10,000 
feet, although, on the Pacific Coast, California brome grows as low as 2,000 
feet. They are common in the spruce and aspen zones and on the Pacific 
slope, and thrive well in the ponderosa pine type. They prefer rich, deep, 
moderately moist soil, but will also grow on rather poor, depleted soil, and 
fairly dry sites. They avoid dense shade. Ordinarily these three grasses grow 
in scattered bunches, but occasionally, as in the case of polyanthus brome 
in some localities, in the aspen zone of central and northern Utah, they make 
a fairly dense stand over large areas. 

These robust, moderately coarse-stemmed short-lived, perennial bunchgrasses 
grow 1 to 4 feet high, or even higher under very favorable conditions. Their 
numerous rough leaves are about 6 to 12 or more inches long and one-fourth 
to three-eighths of an inch wide. The seed head (inflorescence) is ordinarily 
4 to 9 inches long, with the groups (spikelets) of little flowers (florets) borne 
on erect (or ascending) branches. 

These species rate among the best forage grasses on the western ranges. 
A deep, fibrous, spreading root system makes them fairly resistant to graz- 
ing and drought. The large leafy plants yield an abundance of forage which 
is relished by all classes of livestock during the growing season. At ma- 
turity the herbage becomes somewhat harsh and fibrous, especially in the 
case of California brome, and is then less palatable, particularly to sheep. 
Horses and sheep relish the nutritious seed heads. Lambs fatten rapidly 
and economically when an abundance of such seed heads is accessible. When 
grazed off early in the season these species produce a good aftermath of 
foliage that is devoured with relish even late in the autumn. 

These three bromes depend on seed to reproduce, although the clumps stool 
out somewhat. Under proper management and normal growth conditions 
an abundance of good seed is produced and the range is adequately reseeded. 
Sometimes a smut (Ustilaffo ~bromivom) attacks the seed heads, but ordinarily 
it is not a serious menace on the ranges. Seeds of these species gathered on 
the ranges or grown in small mountain nurseries have been used with success 
in artificial reseeding. 2 As soon as a more adequate seed supply can be obtained 
a much wider use of these bromes for reseeding depleted mountain ranges 
should ensue. The big mountain bromes have been used to a limited extent in 
hay meadows and have yielded as high as 2 tons per acre on good soils. 

Important technical characteristics identifying big mountain bromes include 
the spikelets 1 to 1% inches long with 5 to 11 florets each about one-half inch 
long. The lower of the two glumes (bracts at the base of the spikelets) is 
about one-fourth and the upper about three-eighths inch long. The lemma 
(outer seed husk) has 7 to 9 nerves (veins). 

The most salient characters distinguishing these three species from other 
perennial bromes (except B. subvelutmus which is easily recognizable by its 
hoary leaf blades covered with fine grayish-white hairs) are: Spikelets prom- 
inently flattened even when immature, the small awn (beard) about one- 
eighth to three-eighths inch long on the lemma, and the sharp ridging or 
keeling of the top of the lemma. California brome and big brome have fine 
hairs on the lemma, at least toward the top, and on the leaf sheaths and 
joints of the stems, whereas polyanthus brome is lacking in such hairs. 
California brome has a little longer awn than big brorne, its inflorescence tends 
to be slightly more spreading and drooping, its foliage is often more harsh 
and hairy, and its leaf-blades tend to be narrower. 

1 Since this manuscript went to press, Hitchcock's "Manual of the Grasses of the United 
States" has appeared, raising serious question as to the specific validity of Bromun 
marginatus and B. polyanthus. There is now general agreement in the Forest Service to 
use the 1 name "mountain brome" for Bromus carinatvs, considering B. marginatus and 
B. polyanthus as synonyms. 

RANGE LANDS. U. S. Dept. Agr. Circ. 178, 48 pp., illus. 1931. 



Bro'mus cilia'tus, syn. B. richardso'ni 

Flower head (panicle) 4 to 12 
in. long, open, nodding, with 
spreading and drooping 

Outer flower bract (lemma) 
about X in. long, broad, silky- 
hairy along the margins and 
lower part of the back but 
smooth near the tip, 5- to 7- 
veined (nerved), bearded (awn- 
ed) from between a 2-pointed 
tip; awns usually about ^ in. 

Individual flower groups (spike- 
lets) somewhat rounded, 
about \}' t in. long, 5- to 12- 
flowered, at ends of slender, 
drooping stalks 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts 
(glumes) smooth, unequal ; 1st 
glume 1-nerved, % in. long; 3d 
glume 3-nerved, about K in. 

Stalks (culms) tufted, 2 to 5 
ft. tall, rather stout, leafy, erect, 
simple, often hairy at the joints 

Leaves rather pale green, up 
to % in. wide, flat, rough or 
harsh and sometimes hairy 
above ; sheaths smooth to hairy 

Roots fibrous 

Richardson brome is a characteristic representative of the group 
of perennial bromes which have nodding seed heads (panicles). The 
species is widespread, extending: from SaskatcheAvan to Newfound- 
land, West Virginia, Tennessee, and westward to Texas and California. 

Richardson brome is a perennial bunchgrass but is not so strongly 
tuft-forming as are some of the fescues with which it is associated. 
It has deep, extensive roots but no underground stems (rootstocks). 
This species occurs commonly in the aspen, spruce-fir, ponderosa 
pine, and lodgepole pine types in good, reasonably moist soil. It 
grows in shaded areas and in canyon bottoms and also on open 
slopes and in moist mountain parks, meadows, and valleys. Fre- 
quent associates include blue grama, pinegrass, various bluegrasses 
and wheatgrasses, oakbrush, and rabbitbrush. 

Richardson brome ranks with the choicest forage grasses in pala- 
tability. It is relished by all classes of livestock, especially cattle 
and horses, until late in the season. Sheep like the maturing seed 
heads. Elk and deer also graze this grass. Although this brome is 
not so abundant generally as are some of the more prominent western 
grasses and seldom occurs in dense stands, yet, because of its local 
abundance and wide distribution, it supplies a large amount of forage. 

In favorable sites Richardson brome grows up to about 4 feet high. 
Its stems are quite leafy, strong, but not coarse. The basal leaves 
are also plentiful. The leaf blades vary from 4 to 15 inches long, 
but commonly are 6 to 10 inches. 

Porter brome (B. ano'malus, syn. B. por'teri) , one of the common- 
est Rocky Mountain bromes, resembles Richardson brome in most re- 
spects. Its general range is the same except for the three Pacific 
Coast States where its occurrence is probably limited to California 
the one range State where Richardson brome probably is not found. 

The site requirements of Porter brome are essentially those of 
Richardson brome, except possibly that it prefers somewhat lower 
elevations. Their plant associates are about the same. Porter brome 
also is a forage plant of first rank for all classes of livestock. Pre- 
liminary reseeding experiments 1 in central Utah resulted in a fair 
stand, although results were not so successful as with the big mountain 

The botanical differences between Richardson and Porter bromes 
are rather slight. In Porter brome the entire back of the outer 
flower bract (lemma) is densely silky -hairy; in Richardson brome 
this hairiness is restricted to the lemma margins and base. Rich- 
ardson brome has but one vein (nerve) on the lower of the two 
spikelet bracts (glumes), while Porter brome has three. On an 
average Richardson brome seems to be about 6 inches taller than 
Porter brome, and has somewhat wider leaf blades. 

RANOB LANDS. U. S. Dept. Agr. Circ. 178, 48 pp., illus. 1931. 



Bro'mus iner'mis 

Flower head (panicle) 4 to 10 in, Jong, 
open, erect; branches erect or somewhat 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 
4- to 12-flowered, erect, % to 1# in. 
long, K to M in. wide, almost round in 
cross section 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
unequal, hairless, rough on the mid- 
nerve; 1st glume 1-nerved, about % in. 
long; 2d glume 3-nerved 

Leaves 5 to 10 in. long, % to % in. wide, 
flat, light green, hairless, rough on the 
veins; sheaths shorter than the spaces 
between the stem joints, hairless, 

Outer flower bract (lemma) about 
K in. long, awnless, 5- to 7-nerved, 
rounded at the base, hairless, somewhat 
rough on some of the nerves especially 
the midnerve, purple-tipped 

Inner flower bract (palea) nearly as 
long as the lemma, hairy-fringed on the 

Stalks (culms) 2K to 4 ft. high, tufted, 
erect, rather stout 

Rootstocks long and well-developed, 
creeping underground, tough, with a 
papery covering 

Roots fibrous 

Smooth brome, often referred to as common brome, Hungarian 
brome, awnless brome, field brome, Austrian brome, and Russian 
brome, is a long-lived perennial grass with running rootstocks and 
is one of the most successful of cultivated, introduced species, being 
used extensively for pasture and forage crop plantings. The com- 
mon name "smooth" refers to the hairless leaf sheaths and outer 
flower bracts. This imported grass has long been cultivated on the 
dry plains of Hungary and the Russian steppes. It was introduced 
into the United States about 1880 by the California Agricultural 
Experiment Station and has since been grown extensively as hay 
and pasturage from Alaska as far south as Tennessee, Kansas, and 

Smooth brome grows best in regions of rather light rainfall and moderate 
summer temperatures. It is most popular in the Dakotas, Montana, and west- 
ern Canada where it grows luxuriantly and produces an abundance of palatable 
and nutritious forage. This plant is one of the most palatable of all grasses, 
being relished by all classes of livestock especially during the spring and early 
summer. However, cattle and horses graze it more than sheep and goats. 

This grass normally produces an abundance of viable seed except at the 
higher elevations where the seasons are too short for a seed crop. Commercial 
seed is produced in Canada and North Dakota, with yields ranging from 200 
to 600 pounds per acre. 1 From 15 to 25 pounds of seed are sown per acre 
during the spring or late fall on well-prepared seed beds. Good, stands; are 
usually secured and, if grazed lightly the first year, they increase rapidly and 
form a complete sod the second or third year. Smooth brome is often one of 
the major constituents of many pasture mixtures, and is highly recommended 
for use in western Canada and the northwestern United States. 3 

Livestock do remarkably well on smooth brome hay, although it is con- 
sidered more valuable for pasturage. It is frequently planted, in mixture 
with alfalfa as these two forages ripen simultaneously ; the brome expedites 
alfalfa curing and increases the value of the mixed hay. Hay yields vary from 
1% to 3% tons per acre. The crop is usually light the first year after 
planting, increases in tonnage the second year, and attains maximum produc- 
tion in the third season. Throughout its range, the crop usually is cut but 
once although in a few places two cuttings are secured. 

Throughout its entire range, volunteer plants from, the cultivated fields have 
gained sparse and scattered footholds on many of the mountain ranges, 
particularly in the semiarid regions of the West and Northwest. This species 
is frequently found at all elevations up to 9,000 feet. It will grow as high 
as 10,500 feet in central Utah but does not reseed at that elevation. It often 
makes a heavy growth of 2 feet or more on the deep, black clay loams of 
meadows and canyons but also thrives on the dry loose soils of the slopes and 
hills and succeeds fairly well on sandy soils. 

Smooth brome is one of the best cultivated species introduced 3 into the 
western mountains. It has been widely used by the Forest Service in the 
artificial reseeding of mountain ranges and has proved well adapted for the 
rehabilitation of overgrazed, eroded, and burned-over 4 range lands. Good 
stands are usually obtained in fairly moist rather deep soils, where the species 
develops an extensive root system which frequently penetrates to depths of 5 
feet or more, binds the soil firmly, and fortifies the plant to withstand grazing 
and unusual drought conditions. 

Farmers' Bull. 1433, 42 pp., illus. 1925. 

2 Semple, A. T., Vinall, H. N., Enlow, C. R., and Woodward, T. E. A PASTURE HANDBOOK. 
TJ. S. Dept. Agr. Misc. Pub. 194, 89 pp., illus. 1934. 

RANGE LANDS. TJ. S. Dept. Agr. Circ. ITS, 48 pp., illus. 1931. 

Sta. Bull. 201, 28 pp., illus. 1934. 



Bro'mus tecto'rum 1 

Flower head (panicle) up to 6 in. long, 
narrow at first, soon open and wedge- 
shaped, its branches somewhat 1 -sided, 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 
numerous, 5- to 8-nowered, on slender, 
drooping stalks 

Leaves and sheaths covered with fine 
down; leaf blades flat, 2 to 4 in. long; 
sheaths closed, usually longer than 
spaces between joints on stems 

Stalks (clums) slender, erect, tufted, 

Boots fibrous 

1 Includes the variety B. tecto'rum nu'dus, 

Outer flower bract (lemma) conspic- 
uously downy, 7-yeined, narrow, grad- 
ually tapering, with a straight beard 
(awn) up to % in. long from between 
the 2 teeth at the tip 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
hairy, unequal in size; 1st, 1 -nerved, 
shorter than the 3-nerved 2d glume 

Downy chess, also known as downy brome, junegrass, and cheatgrass, attains 
a height up to about 2 feet and is either an annual or summer annual, mean- 
ing that the seeds often germinate in late summer or early fall allowing the 
plants to grow and stool out before winter sets in. The plant is introduced 
from Europe and has spread to a greater or less extent over portions of the 
11 far western States except Arizona and New Mexico, occupying chiefly 
plains, foothills, and intermountain valleys. Thus far, in California, it is 
largely confined to the east side of the Sierras and the northeastern lava 
plateau region but is gradually extending westward. It has not yet reached 
coastal areas of Oregon and Washington. Downy chess does not grow in wet 
places and seldom appears at high elevations or in the more arid, western 
deserts. While its occupation of certain areas may be a result of continued 
past overgrazing and depletion of better forage plants, it does not expel 
established native species from the range nor prevent their return. 

Downy chess is, comparatively, one of the less palatable species of the 
brome genus. Its short life, relatively sparse, hairy leafage, and high ratio 
of unpalatable seed heads all militate against its usefulness. On the other 
hand the species is so abundant locally that it supplies a considerable amount 
of forage, especially on many intermountain ranges, and particularly on 
many poorer sites where better plants do not occur. On several million acres 
in the intermountain country it comprises the bulk of early spring grazing 
for sheep, cattle, and horses. Thousands of sheep are lambed on downy 
chess. It is ready to graze early in March on the lower areas, and remains 
tender and palatable until about the middle of May when it begins to mature 
and turns reddish. A week or two later it dries completely and becomes 
straw-colored. On the higher foothills it is grazed from April to early June. 
In the late summer and early fall the less abundant but relished new growth 
appears. The livestock even consume some of the old herbage if it is sat- 
urated thoroughly by late season rains. At several-year intervals downy 
chess is attacked by a smut (Ustilago bromivora) which greatly reduces the 
stand temporarily . on some areas although the grass reestablishes itself within 
a year or two. In the better areas, where grazing is properly regulated and 
fires are prevented, downy chess tends eventually to be largely replaced by 
more valuable and permanent, perennial species. 

Although its roots are shallow and not extensive, downy chess is an im- 
portant factor in erosion control where better plants do not occur. Both 
observation and experiments show that, if ungrazed and unburned, dense 
stands of downy chess will rather effectively hold the soil and check erosion. 

When the plants are dry they increase the fire hazard on many areas. 
The sharp-pointed, bearded florets when about mature frequently injure 
animals that graze downy chess or consume its hay. These "seeds" either singly 
or in small wads work into the tongue and softer tissues of the mouth, causing 
sores and infection. The eyes are also sometimes affected. The encroachment 
of downy chess in orchards, gardens, and farms and its abundance in adjoining 
waste places make it a weed pest under those conditions. 

Downy chess plants that stool have a bunchgrass appearance but there are 
also many single or few-stemmed individuals. The roots are fine, plentiful, 
and shallow. The slender stems grow 4 to 24 inches high. The flat, fairly 
numerous leaves are one-eighth to three-sixteenths of an inch wide. The panicle 
(seed head) is large, open, and drooping with the spikelets (groups of florets) 
borne on very slender branches. The florets are from three-eighths to one-half 
of an inch long, gradually tapering to a sharp point, and each has an untwisted 
beard (awn) from three-eighths to five-eighths of an inch long. In typical 
forms a soft down of fine, slender hairs covers the leaves and florets; the 
variety nudus, however, is distinguished by the fact that the florets are smooth 
and hairless. 

The specific name tectorum means "of roofs" [Latin teotum, roof] and is 
reminiscent of the fact that in its original home in humid climates of the 
Old World this grass is a familiar denizen of thatched roofs of houses. 


Calamagros'tis spp. 

The reedgrasses, perennial plants of the redtop tribe ( Agrostideae) , 
constitute a large genus of over 100 species distributed throughout 
the cool and temperate regions of the world. About 26 species occur 
in the United States, mostly in the western mountains, with the 
largest representation in the Northwest. The scientific name Cala- 
magrostis is derived from the Greek and literally means reedgrass. 

The western reedgrasses range from sea level on the Pacific coast 
to the high elevations in alpine and subalpine meadows. The mois- 
ture requirements of the different species vary considerably as their 
habitat ranges from wet acid sites to dry or saline situations. Many 
of the species occupy wet meadows, bogs, marshy areas, stream 
banks, and moist open woods ; others are typically dry -land plants. 

With the exception of bluejoint (C. canadensis) and pinegrass 
(C. ruJbescens), the members of this genus are generally scattered 
in occurrence and seldom appear in abundance over large range 
areas. The various species are usually classed as "fillers" or sec- 
ondary forage plants. Considering the group as a whole, however, 
the reedgrasses are important on many ranges. The palatability to 
livestock varies considerably according to species ; several are highly 
palatable to all livestock; others, particularly some of the dry-land 
plants, are distinctly inferior forage. But, on the whole, the reed- 
grasses are regarded as fair to good forage for all classes of live- 
stock. They are grazed with moderate relish during the early part 
of the growing season but the herbage usualty becomes tougn and 
harsh as the season advances. Elk graze several of the species 
moderately and deer crop them to a slight extent. 

Shorthair reedgrass (C. breij/eri), sometimes called Brewer reed- 
grass, is a low, densely tufted grass, 6 to 12 inches high, with a mass 
of fine, short foliage, slender stems, and open, few-flowered, purplish 
panicles. It grows in mountain meadows of the high Sierra Nevada 
Mountains of California. This is one of the most palatable of the 
reedgrasses and is eaten by all classes of livestock as well as by deer. 
Together with shorthair sedge (Carex exserta, syn. "Carex filifolia" 
in part) it makes up the highly valued, so-called shorthair ranges of 
the high Sierra Nevada. 

Marsh reedgrass (C almnagro' stis inexpan' 'sa, syns. "C. htyperbo'rea" 
of United States authors, C. hyperbo'rea americafna, C. hyperbo'rea 
elonga'ta) , a robust species growing up to 4 feet high from stout 
rootstocks, has a rather coarse spikelike panicle and firm, rather 
harsh, rigid leaves. It grows in meadows and marshes, extending 
from the plains to high mountains in all of the 11 far western 
States, as well as in the northeastern United States and throughout 
most of Canada. This species is fairly palatable to all classes of 
livestock but, due to its rank growth, is more readily grazed by 
cattle and horses than by sheep. It is not ordinarily abundant. 

Plains reedgrass (C. momtcmen' sis] is an erect, dry-land species, 
up to 16 inches tall, with rigid stems, rough inrolled leaves, under- 
ground rootstocks, and narrow, purplish, or pale panicles. It grows 

on dry bench lands, flats, and hillsides of the sagebrush and wheat- 
grass types. Montana is about the center of distribution for this 
grass, which ranges from Saskatchewan and Alberta to South Da- 
kota, Utah, Idaho, and eastern Washington. This species is the 
only representative of this genus which has much range significance 
on the dry prairies and foothills. It is rated as poor to fair forage 
for sheep and up to fairly good for cattle and horses, being espe- 
cially relished in its younger stages. Plains reedgrass is sometimes 
confused with junegrass (Koel-eria cristata), although the latter 
differs in lacking rootstocks, in having several-flowered spikelets, 
and in its hairiness of stem below the panicle. 

Pacific reedgrass (C. nu\tka>en'sis^ syn. C. aleu'tica) is a. coarse, 
stemmy plant, attaining a maximum height of 5 feet, which has 
harsh blades 1 foot or more long and three-eighths of an inch 
wide, and narrow, loose panicles up to 12 inches long. This robust 
species grows in scattered stands in wet meadows, moist woods, 
brushlands, and sand dunes along the Pacific Coast irom Alaska to 
central California. Cattle and horses graze the leafage until the 
seed is formed, after which it becomes harsh and tough and is little 
used. Sheep eat the herbage only in the spring. 

Purple pmegrass (C. purpuras' cens) , also known as purple reed- 
grass, is an erect, densely tufted grass up to 2 1 / feet tall, with dense, 
spikelike, pale, or often purplish flower heads (panicles), and rough, 
rather stiff leaves. It grows sparsely on subalpine open ridges, dry 
rocky hills, and dry woods, as well as in moist parks and meadows, 
from the arctic regions to California and Colorado. Early in the 
season, this grass is grazed readily by all classes of livestock but 
after midsummer only lightly or moderately by cattle and horses. 

The species of the Cailamagrostis genus are difficult to identify, 
due to the great variation of the individual species and to the ex- 
istence of series of integrading forms. They are usually moderately 
tall or robust perennial grasses with open or narrow panicles. The 
individual flower groups (spikelets) are small, and one-flowered. 
The lowest two spikelet bracts (glumes) are persistent, about equal, 
awnless, and pointed. The outer flower bract (lemma) is shorter 
and usually more delicate than the glumes, surrounded at the base 
by a tuft of hairs, and awned from the back, usually below the mid- 
dle, with a delicate, straight prickle or with a stouter, bent or 
twisted, exserted awn. The small, thin, and narrow inner flower 
bract (palea) is shorter than the lemma. Botanically, the reed- 
grasses are a somewhat artificial group, not sharply separable from 
the closely related redtops (Agrostis spp.). In general they are dis- 
tinguished by their tendency to have thicker or more wiry stems, 
and a coarser habit of growth; by the prolongation of the stalk of 
the spikelet (rachilla) as a hairy bristle behind the well-developed 
palea, and (in most cases), as stated above, by the tuft of hairs at 
the base of the lemma, which is typically shorter than the glumes. A 
few species of Calamagrostis, however, such as C. breweri, are small 
and delicate, and a few species of Agrostis, such as Alaska redtop 
(A. aequival'vis) have well-developed paleas, lemmas about as long 
as the glumes, the spikelet axis prolonged into a short rudiment, 
and the florets somewhat fuzzy at the base. 



Calamagros'tis canaden'sis 

Stalks (culms) 2 to 5 ft. tall, erect, 
simple, usually smooth 

Leaves flat, harsh to the touch, up to 
10 in. long and % in. wide, often droop- 
ing, pule green; sheaths shorter than 
spaces between joints on stalk 

Flower head (panicle) loosely 
branched, rather open especially at 
base, 4 to 8 in. long, usually nodding, 

Rootstocks extensive, creeping under- 

Roots fibrous 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 
1 -flowered, small, )g to "( 6 in. long 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
persistent, about equal, taper-pointed, 
keeled, harsh on keel 

Outer flower bract (lemma) nearly as 
long as glumes, smooth, narrowed to- 
ward summit, ragged-tipped, awned 
just below the middle with a delicate, 
straight, inconspicuous prickle; base 
surrounded by a tuft of hairs about as 
long as lemma 

Inner flower bract (palea) shorter 
than the lemma, narrow, thin-papery 

Bluejoint, also known in some localities as bluejoint reedgrass, 
meadow pinegrass, Canadian reedgrass, and marsh pinegrass, is the 
most common and widespread species of C cdaniagrostis in North 
America being first found in Canada. It is distributed from 
Labrador to Alaska and southward to California (in the south 
central Sierras), New Mexico, western Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan, 
and New Jersey, running southward, in the Allegheny and Appa 

lachian Mountains, as far as western North Carolina. It thrives 
under cool climatic conditions, extending northward to the Arctic 
Circle, and, according to Hitchcock, 1 is the dominant grass in the 
interior of Alaska. Bluejoint is strictly a moisture-loving grass 
which grows 1 typically in swamps, marshes, wet meadows and parks, 
along streams, and in moist canyon bottoms and semishaded wood- 
lands. It extends from sea level in the North and Northwest to 
elevations of over 12,000 feet near the southern limit of its range 
in New Mexico and to over 11,000 feet in Colorado. On the western 
ranges, it is most common in the cool mountains at medium to 
high elevations where it is often very abundant on localized areas, 
sometimes forming dense pure stands. 

The forage value of bluejoint varies considerably in different 
localities; it has been variously rated from poor to very good for all 
classes of livestock. The general tendency has been to give it a 
higher palatability rating than it actually deserves. Because of 
its wide distribution and abundance in many localities, however, 
this grass furnishes a large amount of forage. Under proper 
range management the average palatability of bluejoint is medium, 
or less, for all classes of livestock. The leafage is usually consumed 
with moderate relish by cattle and horses but, on account of its 
rank growth, is not closely grazed by sheep. The latter often 
eat the leaf blades but seldom graze the stems even in the forepart 
of the season. The herbage is most palatable when young and 
succulent, but the tendency of this grass to grow in wet habitats 
tends to prohibit its use By livestock, especially sheep, until late 
in the season when the leafage is more harsh and tough. This 
species is good elk feed and is grazed lightly by deer. 

Bluejoint reproduces both vegetatively and by means of seed. In 
the Blue Mountains of Oregon, Sampson 2 observed that a large 
amount of seed of good viability was produced. Reproduction by 
rootstocks is prolific, stands in some localities becoming dense enough 
to be cut for hay. This species is an important source of wild hay 
from Wisconsin to North Dakota. 1 

Calamagrostis is a very difficult genus botanically, due to its 
great morphological variation and lack of stability, and bluejoint is 
no exception to this rule. Consequently its nomenclature is much 
confused in the books. C. canadensis acuminata, a variety based 
largely on its small spikelets and narrow, tapered (acuminate) 
glumes seems to intergrade completely with the species (C. canaden- 
sis}. C. blanda (syn. C. pallida Vasey & Scribn., not C. Mnell.), a 
Washington form, separated chiefly on its pale, flexuous panicle and 
rather long awn attached near the apex of the lemma, seems also to 
merge inseparably in C. canadenxis. C. cuprea, (syn. C. inexpansa 
cuprea} and C. lactea (syn. C. langsdorfii lactea) in the past have 
been more or less confused with C. canadensis. C. cuprea is now re- 
garded as a synonym of C. inescpansa, and G. lactea is regarded as 
a rare, distinct species, known only from Mount Baker, Wash. 

REFERENCE TO THE ECONOMIC SPECIES. U. S. Dept. Agr. Bull. 772, 307 pp., illus. 1920. 

U. S. Dept. Agr. Bull. 545, 63 pp., illus. 1917. 



Calamagros'tis rubes'cens, syns. C. cusick'ii, C. luxu'rians, C. suksdor'fii, C. 

suksdor'fii luxu'rians 

Flower head (panicle) narrow, dense, spikV 
like, 3 to 6 in. long, reddish or pale green, seldom 
produced under typical growing conditions 

Stalks (culms) slender, 16 to 40 in. high; 
flower stalks usually not produced except on 
plants growing in open sunlight 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 1-flow- 
ered, small, } to K in. long 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) persist- 
ent, about equal, taper-pointed, not strongly 
keeled, harsh to the touch 

Outer flower bract (lemma) nearly as long as 
glumes, smooth, thin, blunt at tip, surrounded 
at base by a tuft of short hairs about % as long 
as lemma, bristled (awned) on back near the 
base; awn delicate, bent and exserted at side of 
glume, shorter than the glumes; inner flower 
bract (palea) shorter than the lemma, narrow, 

Leaves mostly basal, flat or inrolled at tip 
only, 4 to 12 in. long, ascending with gracefully 
curved or drooping tips, harsh to the touch, 
hairless except on collar of sheaths 

Rootstocks extensive, creeping; underground, 
giving rise to numerous leaves along their length 

Roots fibrous 

Pinegrass, so named because of its intimate association with ponderosa pine 
and lodgepole pine forests, is also occasionally called pine reedgrass and 
red reedgrass. The specific name rubesvens is from the Latin and refers to the 
common reddish color of the flower heads and to the reddish hue which some- 
times appears in the leafage, especially on the plants growing in open sunlight. 
This species is widely distributed from British Columbia and Manitoba south- 
ward to northern Colorado and central California. It ranges from sea level 
to elevations of about 10,000 feet but grows most luxuriantly at medium 
elevations beneath stands of ponderosa pine. It is also common on the floor 
of open to dense lodgepole pine forests, occurring in greatest abundance 
under the more open stands. Occasionally, this grass is also associated with 
aspen, larch, and open Douglas fir stands and occurs in openings both in and 
adjacent to the timbered areas. At the higher elevations, it is chiefly con- 
fined to the warmer southern and western exposures. Pinegrass is fairly 
drought-resistant and is able to thrive in well-drained situations where the 
soil is relatively dry during most of the summer. The strong, well-developed, 
creeping rootstocks of this grass produce a continuous, closely matted sod 
or turf, which enables it to become the dominant herbaceous plant over large 
range areas. 

By virtue of its abundance, pinegrass is an important range plant in many 
localities, particularly in the ponderosa pine forests of the Northwest and 
the lodgepole pine stands of the northern Rocky Mountains. Much diversity 
of opinion exists regarding the forage value of pinegrass due, no doubt in 
large part, to its varying palatabllity at different times of the year. This 
plant is one of the least palatable of the more common range forage grasses, 
being classed in most localities as practically worthless to poor for sheep 
and poor to fair for cattle and horses. However, on some ranges it is rated 
up to fair for sheep and fairly good for cattle and horses. In the spring, 
when young and tender, pinegrass is grazed more readily than at any other time. 
As the season advances the tissues of the leaf blades become harsh and 
tough, and the grass is seldom eaten by any class of livestock if more succulent 
feed is available. In the fall of the year it is usually grazed again to a 
limited extent, since the leafage is apparently somewhat softened by the fall 
precipitation. It remains green late in the season, long after most of the 
other forage is dried up. Game animals crop pinegrass to a slight extent 
in the spring, and elks, especially, eat it again in the fall and winter until 
deep snows make it unavailable. 

Both cattle and sheep can be forced to utilize this grass closely by holding 
them on pinegrass types by means of fencing or herding. However, such heavy 
use is ordinarily not to be recommended since it usually results in the over- 
grazing or elimination of highly palatable grasses as well as of the weed and 
browse species which grow in association with pinegrass. Although these 
more palatable associated species usually form a minor portion of the vege- 
tative cover, they often make up a very important part of the ugable forage. 
Consequently, the carrying capacity of pinegrass types is often lowered con- 
siderably by overgrazing, despite the fact that the stand of pinegrass itself is 
unharmed. Pinegrass turf is notoriously tough, as it stands up remarkably 
well under heavy grazing and severe trampling. It is especially valuable for 
watershed protection because of its effectiveness in binding and holding the 
soil against erosion. 

This species reproduces vigorously by means of its rootstocks and, to a more 
limited extent, by seed. For the most part the plants consist of numerous 
flat, drooping leaves arising from the extensive system of underground root- 
stocks. Flowering stalks and heads are sparse, being seldom produced except 
on plants growing in the open or under full sunlight. However, the com- 
paratively small amount of seed produced is usually high in fertility. In 
germination tests in the Blue Mountains of Oregon. Sampson 1 obtained results 
ranging from 58 to 98 percent. The seed-producing plants are usually some- 
what tufted and erect, differing in appearance from the usual stemless, droop- 
ing-leaved form that grows under the shade of timber stands. The plants can 
usually be recognized by the ring of stiff short hairs at the junction of the 
sheath and blade. 

U. S. Dept. Agr. Bull. 545, 63 pp., illus. 1917. 



Calamovil'fa longifo'lia 

Individual flower groups (spike- 
lets) 1-flowered, without 
beards (awnless), flattened, nu- 
merous, overlapping, up to % 
in. long 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts 
(glumes) unequal, first shorter 
than second, both rather firm, 
keeled, pointed, persistent on 
stalks after " seed " falls 

Outer flower bract (lemma) 
1-veined, acute, with a basal 
ring of copious white hairs half 
its length 

*~ Inner flower bract (palea) 
about as long as lemma, acute 

Flower head (panicle) pale, 
smooth, 6 to 18 in. long, nar- 
row, with erect or ascending 

Stems solitary, erect, stout, 
smooth, leafy 

Leafsheaths numerous, over- 
lapping, short-hairy at least on 
margins; leaf blades 8 to 12 in. 
or more long, inrolled above 
and long-tapering to tip 

Rootstocks underground, ex- 
tensive, horizontally creeping, 
stout, scaly, shining 

Roots fibrous 

Prairie sandgrass, a tall, coarse, tough, perennial grass also known 
as sandreed, is a drought-resistant species which occurs chiefly in 
sandy soil (occasionally in heavy sterile soil) on plains and hills 
east of the Rocky Mountains from western Ontario to Saskatche- 
wan, northeastern New Mexico, Kansas, and northern Indiana. It 
is the most widespread species of Calamovilfa, a genus of about 
four species restricted to North America. Grasses of this genus are 
perennials with horizontal rootstocks and single-flowered spikelets, 
belonging to the red-top tribe (Agrostideae) of grasses. Prairie 
sandgrass is of relatively inferior palatability and of little use dur- 
ing the growing season ; however, it produces a considerable amount 
of forage which cures on the ground and is an important source of 
winter cattle feed. It abounds on some areas which support but 
few other forage plants. It is also cut for hay. Its rootstock 
system peculiarly adapts it for binding loose, sandy soils. 

The rigid leafy stems are from 2 to 6 feet high. The leaves taper 
to a long, slender, inrolled (involute) point and have crowded 
sheaths. The glumes or two lowest empty bracts of the individual 
flower groups (spikelets), are shorter than the "floret", i. e., the soli- 
tary flower, composed of essential floral organs (stamen and pistil) 
with the lemma and the bract opposite it (palea). The grain is 
permanently inclosed by its lemma and palea. 


Dantho'nia spp., syn. Merathrep'ta spp. 

The North American representatives of Danthonia^ of which seven 
species are now recognized by the more conservative botanists as 
occurring in the United States, are all perennial bunchgrasses. Six 
of these species are found in the western States. Other species, both 
of annuals and perennials, are abundant and widely distributed in 
warm and temperate regions in other parts of the world, especially 
in South Africa and Australia, where the genus is very important. 
Danthonia belongs to the oat tribe of grasses (Aveneae) and was 
named for Etienne Danthoine, a French botanist of the eighteenth 
century. It is a bit unfortunate that the common name, oat-grass, 
has become so firmly intrenched in western range usage for this 
genus, as the western species show no great resemblance to oats 
(Avena spp.) and the name, tall oatgrass, is well established for 
a species in another genus, Arrenatherum elatius. 

All western danthonias, except poverty oatgrass (D. spicata, syn. 
D. thermalis), are at least fairly palatable to livestock. Poverty 
oatgrass can be recognized at any time of the year by its short, very 
curly leaves. It is well named, as it is an excellent indicator of poor 
soil and also is worthless as forage; no living thing, except perhaps 
meadow mice, will eat it unless forced to do so. Flatstem oatgrass 
(D, compressa) is chiefly an eastern species and not important in 
the West. Parry oatgrass (D. parryi) is of scattered occurrence 
and hence often unimportant as a range plant but may be abundant 
locally. One-spike oatgrass (D. uaiispicata) , California oatgrass (D. 
calif ornica) , and timber oatgrass (D. intermedia) are sometimes 
locally abundant and of greater or less importance as range plants. 

The individual flower groups, or spikelets, are about 4- to 10- 
flowered in the western species of oatgrass, with the lowest (2) 
spikelet bracts (glumes) much longer than the outer flowering bracts 
(lemmas), and commonly as long as the spikelet. The lemmas are 
2-toothed and bear a stiff, bent, usually twisted beard (awn) from 
between the teeth. All the western species have large, hidden, self- 
fertilizing spikelets (cleistogenes) at the lower joints of the stems 
and enclosed by the leaf sheaths. These spikelets mature seed, and 
the stems commonly break off at the joints where the spikelets are 



Dantho'nia califor'nica, syns. D. america'na, Merathrep'ta califor'nica 

Flower head (panicle) simple, open, 
with 3 to 10 individual flower groups 
(spikelets) on slender, spreading, or 
bent-down stalks 

Spikelets flattened, up to % in. long, 
5- to 10-flowered; upper florets imper- 

Outer flower bract (lemma) about K 
in. long, hairless except along edges 
near base, 2-toothed at tip, with twisted 
and bent beard (awn) K m- long; awn 
from between the 2 teeth 

Lowest (2) spikelets bracts (glumes) 
equal, about same length as spikelet, 
lance-shaped, hairless, with thin-papery 
edges, 5- to 7-nerved 

Leaves narrow, with rolled, pointed 
ends, harsh above; upper blades often 
at about right angles to the stalks; 
sheaths hairless except near junction 
with blade where silky hairs occur 

Stalks (culms) tufted, spreading at 
base, erect, up to 3 ft. high 

Hidden spikelets (cleistogenes) occur- 
ring late in season at bases of lower leaf 
sheaths, the joint just below commonly 
breaking off, large,- 1-to few-flowered, 

Roots fibrou? 

California oatgrass is a fairly tall, rather leafy perennial which 
typically grows in small tufts. It ranges from British Columbia to 
Montana, Colorado, and California and occurs in both dry and moist 
soils on hillsides, benches, and in canyons of the ponderosa pine, 
aspen, and spruce belts, ascending to 10,000 feet in Colorado. It is 
usually typical of open parks, and meadows, but also is present in 
partial shade in open stands of timber. 

The specimens from the Pacific coast are taller and have finer 
leafage than those from Colorado and Montana, which perhaps ac- 
counts for the variation in the forage rating in the two sections. 
While immature, California oatgrass is considered good to very 
good forage for cattle and horses in California, Oregon, and Wash- 
ington, although somewhat less palatable to sheep. It is reputed as 
fair to fairly good forage for cattle and horses and somewhat less 
palatable to sheep and goats in the drier, eastern portion of its 

Individual plants of California oatgrass produce a relatively 
large amount of forage, as it is a tall leafy grass, but like the 
other species of oatgrass it generally occurs scatteringly. It is 
sometimes abundant locally in Oregon and is said to form a sod in 
favorable places. This species occasionally forms stands in Cal- 
ifornia which are dense enough to be cut for hay. The flowering 
period is from May to August. The species does not produce a 
copious supply of seed but stools well and is able to withstand con- 
siderable heavy grazing. Like the other species of western oatgrass, 
it produces large, hidden, self -fertilizing spikelets at the lower stem 



Dantho'nia interme'dia, syns. D. cusick'ii, D. interme'dia cusick'ii, 
Merathrep'ta interme'dia 

Flower head (panicle) narrow, spike- 
like, often 1-sided, compact, up to 2K 
in. long 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 5 
to 10, on short, erect stalks, each about 
5-flowered; upper flowers often unde- 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
about equal, in size, usually a little 
longer than spikelet, sharp-pointed, 

Outer flower bract (lemma) soft-hairy 
at base and along edges, hairless on 
back, 7-nerved, up to % in. long, 2- 
toothed at tip; teeth bristlelike, with 
flattened, twisted beard (awn), about 
as long as lemmas; *wn from between 
the 2 teeth 

Stalks (culms) tufted, erect, up to 20 
in. high 

Leaves mostly basal, narrow, erect or 
ascending, more or less soft-hairy; 
sheaths smooth 

Roots fibrous 

Timber oatgrass, the most common and widespread of the western 
species of Danthonia, is a shallow-rooted perennial ranging from 
Quebec to British Columbia, California, and New Mexico. It usu- 
ally grows in well-defined tufts, but under certain conditions the 
plants spread over small areas, so that the bunch habit of growth 
is obscured. Timber oatgrass is typically a mountain species occur- 
ring chiefly in the spruce and alpine belts, but often extending down- 
ward to the ponderosa pine and oakbrush types. At the higher 
altitudes it occurs mostly in the open, in moist parks and meadows, 
but toward the lower limits of its altitudinal range is more common 
in the shade of open coniferous timber and under aspen and oak. 
It normally occurs scatteringly but occasionally is locally abundant. 

Timber oatgrass is regarded as good to very good forage for all 
classes of livestock in Montana, parts of Utah, and the Northwest. 
It is also well regarded for spring forage in most other parts of 
its range probably because it greens up before many other plants 
begin growth. In some localities timber oatgrass is little grazed 
and probably should rate, at best, only as fair forage. It apparently 
withstands grazing very well, often being the dominant grass on 
badly depleted ranges. However, this may not denote ability to 
withstand grazing, but may indicate that timber oatgrass has a 
relatively low palatability and actually is not grazed to the same 
degree as associated species of reputedly comparable palatability. 

Plants of timber oatgrass stool well and usually produce an 
abundance of basal leaves. The stems are comparatively low, with 
a few short upper leaves and compact, one-sided heads (panicles) 
of about 5 to 10 spikelets. The young heads have a distinct purplish 
tinge, due to the purple color of the large glumes. With age, how- 
ever, the purple color disappears and the glumes become brown and 
papery. Flowering occurs during July and August. The small seed 
crop is disseminated during August and September. This species, 
like the other western oatgrasses, produces large self -fertilizing 
spikelets (cleistogenes) hidden at the lower stem joints. These 
spikelets, which mature seed, are enclosed by the leaf sheaths, and 
the stems break off commonly at the joints where the spikelets are 



Deschamp'sia caespito'sa, syn. Ai'ra caespito'sa 

Flower head (panicle) open, 4 to 8 in. 
long, mostly erect but sometimes 

Panicle branches harsh, hairlike 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 
small, about % in. long, 2-flowered, 
shining, pale or purplish, borne near 
ends of panicle branches 

Stems (culms) erect, tufted, 2 to 4 ft. 

Outer flower bract (lemma) rather 
thin, with ragged tip; beard (awn) 
attached on back below middle 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes)- 
without awns, longer than lemmas 

Leaves mosdy basal, numerous, bright 
green, flat, folded or sometimes inrolled 

Roots fibrous 

Tufted hairgrass is a perennial bunchgrass found in the moun- 
tains in all of the Western States and is one of the most widely dis- 
tributed of the western range grasses. It occurs chiefly in the 
spruce-fir belt and above timberline. In well-watered parks and 
meadows it often grows in nearly pure stands which, on the more 
favorable sites, form a nearly complete ground cover. On drier, 
less favorable sites it commonly grows in rather open stands in mix- 
ture with sedges, trisetum, false-strawberry (Sibbaldia procumbens) , 
and other plants. It distinctly prefers the open and practically 
never is found in dense shade, although it is common in partial 
shade among willows and in open timber. 

Tufted hairgrass belongs to the oat tribe (Aveneae) of grasses, 
and its individual flower clusters (spikelets), although very much 
smaller, resemble those of cultivated oat. It grows in compact 
bunches with the stems usually erect, 2 to 4 feet high. The leaves, 
growing mostly from near the base of the plant, are bright green 
and either flat, folded, or sometimes inrolled. The foliage is abun- 
dant and varies in texture from rather fine to moderately coarse, 
depending chiefly on site conditions. 

This grass withstands fairly close grazing and is usually relished by 
all classes of livestock. Sometimes under the most favorable con- 
ditions it grows so luxuriantly that sheep especially and, to some 
extent, cattle and horses will graze it only slightly. It is some- 
times cut for hay. The flowering period extends from July to 
September and a large amount of good seed is produced and dis- 
seminated during August and September. New plants are estab- 
lished entirely from seed, and sufficient seed should be permitted to 
mature to provide the necessary replacements, although tufted 
hairgrass plants stool out very well. 

About five species of hairgrass are recognized by the more con- 
servative botanists as occurring in the western United States; of 
these, tufted hairgrass is the most common and widespread. Dorsal 
awns and glumes longer than the lemmas, shown in the illustration, 
are characteristic of the oat tribe. The awns are very fine and hair- 
like, attached near the base of and slightly longer than the lemmas, 
which have broad, toothed (erose) tips. Spikelets are two-flowered, 
small, shining, and often purplish; in D. caespitosa they are borne 
near the ends of the slender, rough panicle branches, which are 
usually more or less spreading. 


E'lymus spp. 

Elynvus is a fairly large genus of rather tall grasses of the North 
Temperate Zone with more species in the western United States 
than in any other region. With the exception of one introduced 
annual, the western species are wholly perennial; most of them are 
bunchgrasses ; several form turf by means of underground root- 
stocks. Wild-ryes are widely distributed in the West, occurring 
from the lower semidesert areas to the aspen and spruce belts. Some 
species typically occur in the open in bottomlands and meadows and 
others in grasslands, brush types, and woodlands. 

Generally speaking, the foliage of wild-ryes is harsh and is only 
moderately palatable to livestock. Furthermore, the flower heads 
(spikes) of many species are bristly or bearded (awned) and are 
not relished. Some species are widely distributed and fairly abund- 
ant, at least locally, so that the genus, although probably of 
secondary importance, supplies much forage for livestock on the 
western ranges. One species, Medusa-head (E. caput-medusae) , an 
imported annual which now occurs on the Pacific coast, is practically 
worthless as forage. The smaller, softer-leaved species as typified 
by blue wild-rye (E. glaucus} are fairly good forage for cattle and 
horses during the forepart of the season. After the heads form the 
plants are not relished. The large, coarse species, such as giant 
wild-rye (E. condensatus) , are less palatable and are grazed for 
only a short period in the spring. However, they are of consider- 
able value in some localities as winter forage for cattle and horses. 
The wild-ryes are not very palatable to sheep, although when 
young and tender they are often grazed by this class of livestock. 

The flower heads of wild-rye are usually erect, rather densely 
flowered, with a jointed main axis (rachis) which usually does not 
break up. In at least one species, however, Macoun wild-rye (E. 
macounii) the rachis disarticulates, showing a transition to the genus 
Sitanion. Individual flow'er groups (spikelets) are typically in 
pairs at each joint of the rachis, but in some species there may be 
three or more and in others only one, the latter being a transition to 
the wheatgrasses (Agropyron spp.). In the single-spikeletted wild- 
ryes the lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) are more or less awl- 
like, while in the wheatgrasses the glumes are of a broader type. 
Blue wild-rye is the most common and widely distributed species of 
the group which has two spikelets at the rachis joints. Giant wild- 
rye is easily the outstanding member of the genus, because of its 
large size and habit of growing in enormous bunches. Its spikelets 
occur in groups of 3 to 6, the heads completely or nearly awnless. 
This species is widely distributed and formerly was very abundant 
in bottomlands in Nevada, but has been largely destroyed by over- 
grazing, except on protected areas utilized as hay lands. 

Among the turf-forming species, beardless wild-rye {E. triti- 
coides], a blue-green perennial with long rootstocks, and with 
spikelets in groups of 1 to 3, is common throughout the West and 

is fairly abundant along the Humboldt Eiver in Nevada, often in as- 
sociation with giant wild-rye. This species is frequently cut for 
hay and is superior to giant wild-rye for this purpose. It resembles 
bluestem (Agropyron smithii) somewhat but is usually more robust. 
This species produces an abundance of seed and was used as meal, or 
pinole, by the Indians. Such utilization was so common that the 
whites often referred to E. triticoides as squawgrass. 1 

Wild-ryes are thus named because of their resemblance to culti- 
vated rye (Secale cereale). They are also called ryegrasses and 
lymegrasses. Their scientific name is derived from the Greek elurnos, 
which was an ancient name for. a kind of grain. The wild-rye genus 
belongs to the barley tribe of grasses (Horcleae) which, among others, 
includes the wheatgrasses and several of the grains such as rye, 
barley 2 and wheat. Western wild-ryes are not cultivated on any 
extensive scale, although a few species are cut for hay when they 
occur in natural stands of sufficient size and density. 

Many species of wild-rye, including two of the common western 
species, Canada wild-rye (E. canadensis] and giant wild-rye are sus- 
ceptible to infestation by ergot, a fungous disease. It is possible 
that all species of wild-rye will contract this disease which most 
commonly occurs on rye. This fungous growth infects the heads of 
the grasses and replaces the seed with black or purplish club-shaped 
bodies. Ergot contains several poisonous compounds and, if infected 
grasses are consumed by livestock, illness and death may result. 
Most such cases of livestock poisoning in the United States result 
from wild-rye ergot. 2 Losses probably occur on the range in which 
the responsibility of this poison is not recognized. 

U. S. Dept. Agr., Div. Bot., Contrib. U. S. Natl. Herbarium 7 : 295-422, illus. 1902. 



Iowa. 1910-1911. 


E'lymus condensa'tus 

(2 leaves) 

Flower head (spike) erect, up to 1 ft. 
long, often compound and interrupted 
below; axis (rachis) joined but not 
breaking apart 

Stalks (culms) in large, dense tufts, 
up to 12 ft. high and ,'j in. thick, 
fe ridged, smooth below, harsh above 

Leaves tint or somewhat inrolled, as 
much as ]i in. wide and 2 ft. long, harsh 
at least above; sheaths- smooth 

Individual flower groups (spikelcts) 
2 to at each ruchis joint, 15- to G- 
llowered, stalkless 

Outer flower bract (lemma) sharp- 
pointed or sometimes bristle- (awn-) 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes)- 
iiaiTow, awl-shaped, bristle-pointed, 
about as long as the lemma 

Giant wild-rye is appropriately named; it is the largest of our 
native wild-ryes and perhaps the largest grass commonly found 
on western ranges. It is a coarse, robust plant with stems up to 12 
feet high and growing in large bunches, often several feet in diam- 
eter, from short, thick, knotted, perennial rootstocks. This species 
occurs in all the far Western States except New Mexico, ranging 
from British Columbia and Saskatchewan to Nebraska, Arizona, 
and California. It is fairly abundant in the Northwest, in south- 
western Wyoming, and in parts of Utah, Nevada, and California. 
This bunchgrass usually grows in moist or wet saline situations 
in bottomlands, along stream and ditch banks, and in gullies and 
canyons. It is also found in moderately dry, rich soils, not 
uncommonly associated with wheatgrass and sagebrush. 

Giant wild-rye is grazed to some extent while young, but soon 
becomes coarse and tough and is not utilized as summer forage, if 
more palatable feed is available. However, the plants produce an 
enormous amount of forage and, where allowed to stand, provide 
a considerable amount of winter feed for cattle and horses. 
Formerly, this species was very important as a winter forage plant 
in parts of Nevada, but overgrazing, especially during the spring 
months, when growth was starting, has greatly reduced or eliminated 
it. It has been almost entirely replaced on many such areas by a 
species of dropseed which is practically unpalatable. In Nevada 
giant wild-rye formerly occurred chiefly in the valley bottoms often 
in large patches several miles in extent. The pioneer cattlemen 
established ranches in many of these bottoms, utilizing the wild- 
rye for hay. It still thrives on many fields which were fenced and 
protected for hay production. Old time freighters report that they 
never carried hay for their oxen but turned them loose at evening 
in patches of this grass, which were so extensive, tall, and dense 
that the beasts were often lost for several days. Today the grass 
cover is so scanty on some of those same areas which have been 
seriously overgrazed that cattle are easily visible across the entire 

Prof. F. Lamson-Scribner made observations on Montana grasses 
in 1883 and is quoted by Dr. Vasey 1 as follows : 

Elymus condensatus, or wild-rye grass * * * grows along streams and 
rivers often covering extensive areas. It is valued chiefly as a winter forage 
plant. It yields a great bulk of coarse hay but is seldom harvested. Where 
growing in fields of blue-joint the blue-joint is cut and the rye grass is left 
standing. If cut before flowering it makes good hay, but if left until it comes 
into flower it is not only too hard for hay but is too hard to cut except 
with a bush scythe. 

In Oregon and Washington, where giant wild-rye occurs in con- 
siderable abundance, this species is extensively cut for hay and, if 
mowed early, provides fair roughage. It is moderately palatable to 
cattle and horses in California and the Northwest, except during 
the fall, when it becomes very hard and dry. After the winter 
rains begin it softens and is again grazed. Giant wild-rye rates as 
an inferior forage species, insofar as palatability and nutritive qual- 

32: 1-115, illus. 1884. 

(leaf 2) 

ities are concerned, because of its coarseness arid its relatively high 
ash and crude fiber content. The following chemical analysis com- 
pares the composition of giant wild-rye with the average 67 common 
western range grasses : 2 

Giant wild- 

Average com- 
position, 67 


9. 81 

7. 48 

Ether extract 

1. 13 

2 05 

Crude fiber 

40 82 

35 92 

Crude protein _ 

9. 09 

8. 02 

Nitrogen-free extract 

39 15 

46 53 

Ergot (Claviceps purpwea], a black fungous growth which in- 
fests the heads of certain grasses, replacing the grains with the black 
or purple club-shaped bodies of the fungus, has been observed on 
the heads of giant wild -rye in the vicinity of the Colville National 
Forest, Wash., and probably occurs on this grass in other localities. 
If ergot-infested grasses are consumed, losses may result, although 
comparatively large doses of the poison must be consumed in a com- 
paratively short time to cause trouble, as chronic poisoning through 
the ingestion of small amounts of ergot over a period of time are 
very rare. The symptoms of ergotism naturally assume two forms : 
(1) the gangrenous form, and (2) the nervous, or spasmodic form. 
In the first there are coldness and anesthesia (lack of feeling) of 
the extremities, including the feet, ears, and tail of quadrupeds; 
the comb, tongue, and beak of birds followed by the appearance 
of passive congestion, blebs (blisters), dry gangrene in the vicinity 
of these parts, and often the dropping off of hoofs and beak. In 
the nervous, or spasmodic form are seen toxic contraction of the 
flexor tendons of the limbs and anesthesia of the extremities; muscu- 
lar trembling and general tetanic spasm, with opisthotonos (bending 
backward of the body), convulsions, and delirium. Death ensues 
in both forms from general exhaustion. 3 

Giant wild-rye has an extensive root system from short, thick, 
perennial rootstocks and is a valuable soil binder for ditch banks, 
railway embankments, and the like. The seeds were used as food 
by many tribes of Indians. 

2 Knight, H. G., Hepner, F. E., and Nelson, A. WYOMING FORAGE PLANTS AND THEIB 
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION. STUDIES NO. 4. Wyo. Agr. Bxpt. Sta. Bull. 87, 152 pp., 
lllus. 1911. 



Rapids, Iowa. 1910-11. 



E'lymus glau'cus 

Leaves broad, thin, flat or inrolled, 
usually harsh, sometimes smooth be- 
neath, up to 12 in. long 

Flower heads (spikes) narrow, erect, 
up to 8 in. long, long-exserted from the 
upper leaf sheath; axis (rachis) jointed 
but not separating at the joints 

Stalks (culms) usually somewhat 
tufted, smooth, up to 5 ft. high 

Roots fibrous, perennial 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 2 
(rarely 3) at each rachis joint, stalkless, 
2- to 6-flowered 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
narrow, distinctly 3- or 4-nerved to 
base, broadened above the base, rigid, 
bristle- (awn-) pointed, persistent 

Outer flower bract (lemma) shorter 
than glumes, often white-margined, 
mostly harsh near the tip, tapering to 
a slender, straight, harsh, ascending 
beard (awn) about % in. long 

Blue wild-rye, also known as smooth, mountain, or western wild- 
rye, or ryegrass, is a pale green or bluish white, perennial bunch- 
grass, commonly growing in small tufts of only a few stems. The 
name, ryegrass, is best restricted to species of the genus Lolhvm, on 
account of their long usage in cultivation. The species occurs from 
Alaska south to California and east to New Mexico, Missouri, and 
the Great Lakes. It ranges from near sea-level on the Pacific coast 
to elevations of more than 10,000 feet in Colorado and is the most 
widely distributed and common species of wild-rye found in the 
Western States. It is probably most abundant in woodlands of 
the central Rocky Mountain region, but is not uncommon in open 
parks and is frequently associated with sagebrush and other shrubs. 
This grass is a characteristic and sometimes fairly abundant species 
on old burns and cut-over areas, and, in the Northwest, in open fir 
stands and along streams under alder and maple. It favors mod- 
erately moist soils and, while sometimes abundant in local areas, it 
rarely ever occurs in pure stands, usually being intermixed with a 
variety of grass and weed species such as bromegrasses, bluegrasses, 
meadow barley, cinquefoil, strawberry, yarrow, asters, and wild- 
daisies. Although characteristic of moist sites, blue wild-rye with- 
stands drought remarkably well. In drought tests it did not wilt 
beyond recovery in most cases until the soil moisture was reduced 
to 7.5 percent. 1 

Although blue wild-rye produces rather coarse forage, it is grazed 
during the forepart of the season by cattle and horses and, to a less 
extent, by sheep. Livestock, however, do not relish the bearded seed 
clusters. Blue wild-rye has strong seed habits and, when grazing is 
restricted, responds quickly on areas depleted by over-grazing which 
are naturally adapted to its production. Although it has a fairly 
well-developed root system, this plant does not withstand continued 
heavy grazing especially well. It appears to be wholly dependent 
on seed for reproduction and probably should be regarded as a 
valuable secondary species to be encouraged only on areas where 
more desirable plants cannot be produced. 

Blue wild-rye is typically glaucous, i. e., covered with a whitish 
or bluish bloom, to which fact the specific name glaucus refers. 

U. S. Dept. Agr. Bull. 545, 63 pp., illus. 1917. 



Festu'ca spp. 

The large and widespread fescue genus is well represented in 
the West, ooth annual and perennial species being found in almost 
every locality. The perennials are mostly bunchgrasses and some 
of them rank among the best forage .plants, both in farm pastures 
and meadows as well as on the range. The annuals are sometimes 
so abundant in waste places and so aggressive in extending their 
residence where unwelcome as to be pests. These annuals often in- 
habit compacted soils, and several have invaded range areas, mostly 
in the foothills, which have been overgrazed. Here they supply 
more or less early forage and provide a measure of soil protection 
in the absence of better plants. 

As a rule, fescue species have abundant leaves which are largely 
basal and fairly fine. Fescues do not have a notched or two-toothed 
apex on the outer seed husk (lemma), which distinguishes them 
from the bromes. The lemma is pointed or bearded (awned), and 
the five ribs (nerves) converge at the apex. The back of the lemma 
is rounded except that toward the summit the midrib (nerve) sticks 
out like the keel on the bottom of a boat. In fescues, the backs of 
the bracts (glumes) at the base of the groups (spikelets) of flowers, 
or florets, are keeled. The Latin word festuca means a stalk or 

The fescue tribe (Festuceae), to which fescues, bromes, and blue- 
grasses belong, is one of the largest in the entire grass family, and 
irom a range standpoint is one of the most important. It includes 
some of the outstanding pasture and hay grasses of the world. 
Several characters in combination distinguish this tribe : The flower 
cluster (inflorescence) is branched and compound (a panicle) but 
may be open, narrow, or so compact as to approach the appear- 
ance of being without branches and spikelike. There is always 
more than one floret, usually several, in a group (spikelet). If the 
outer seed husk (lemma) of the florets has a beard (awn), it is 
straight and attached at the apex, except that in a few cases the 
apex is notched, and the beard, if present, is attached at the base 
of the notch or just below. The two bracts (glumes) at the base 
of the spikelet are shorter than the first floret and usually remain 
on the branch after the seeds have matured and become detached. 



Festu'ca arizo'nica, syn. F. ovi'na arizo'nica 

Flower head (panicle) narrow, 3 to 5} in. long, 
with alternate, rough, erect branches 

Stalks (ciiliiis)- densely tufted from a perennial 
base", 4 in. to 3 ft. high, slender and curved at 

Leaves mostly basal, very numerous, C to 12 
in. lonir, rough, still', slender, inrolled, appear- 
ing almost round ; basal sheaths about 4 in. long, 
becoming flattened in age 

Outer flower bract (lemma) about }', in. long, 
thick, tapering, obscurely 5-nerved, with short 
bristle (awn) about Ms in. long 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 4- to (>- 
flowercd, erect, linear-lance-sliaped, about ) in 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) unequal; 
1st, 1- to 3-nerved, shorter than the 3- to 5- 
nerved 2d glume 

Arizona fescue, often called pinegrass or mountain bunchgrass, is a dense, 
tufted, perennial bunchgrass distributed from southern Colorado westward to 
southern Nevada and south to New Mexico and Arizona. Typically, it is a 
mountain species, growing at elevations from 6,000 to 10,000 feet, and is very 
abundant throughout the open ponderosa pine types, on slopes, mesas, and in 
open parks, chiefly in southern Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. Appar- 
ently it is rare in Utah. Although Arizona fescue is usually associated with 
blue grama, mountain muhly, pine dropseed, and cinquefoil, it frequently occurs 
in almost pure stands with the bunches only a few inches apart. It com- 
monly inhabits dry, shallow, clay loams but grows well on sandy, gravelly or 
rocky soils, occasionally occurring in shaded places of better, moist sites. 

Although not as palatable as many other range grasses, Arizona fescue 
is particularly important because of its abundance and, on many ranges, 
furnishes much of the forage. It is eaten by all classes of livestock, but is 
more readily grazed by cattle and horses than by sheep. In the Southwest 
this grass resumes growth in the spring, but its principal growth is made 
during the summer rainy season. It grows slowly and the forage produced 
has a relatively low water content. However, it is more palatable during this 
season than at any other time. When mature, the leaves become somewhat 
tough and are not eaten so readily during late summer as are those of blue 
grama and other more tender forage plants. The numerous fine but fibrous 
leaves, which remain green until late fall, furnish good forage for cattle and 
horses, but are eaten readily by sheep only during scarcity of better forage. 
Arizona fescue is not particularly resistant to grazing and even moderately 
close grazing tends to reduce the cover. It suffers from severe usage and, 
when overgrazed, is often replaced by blue grama. Near the upper alti- 
tudinal limits for blue grama, however, Arizona fescue tends to increase its 
stand under total protection or even light grazing at the expense of blue grama. 

On Arizona fescue ranges occurring in the ponderosa-pine types in the South- 
west, heavy grazing during periods when the forage is dry and water scarce 
has resulted in serious damage to the timber reproduction. 1 In the results of 
an investigation, as yet unpublished, C. K. Cooperrider, of the Southwestern 
Forest and Range Experiment Station, United States Forest Service, points out 
that the greatest damage usually occurs in the dry period of late spring and 
early summer before a vigorous, lush growth of the grass has been made. This 
damage is accentuated on poorly watered and heavily stocked range. Most of 
the damage can be eliminated by proper range and livestock management. Care 
should be taken that the ranges are not overstocked, especially in the dry late 
spring and early summer period, and that uniform distribution is secured. 
Ample water should be provided at all seasons, particularly during the dry 
periods. Within many ponderosa-pine areas, especially where Arizona fescue 
occurs in dense stands, the pine reproduction appears to be handicapped. 2 
While the tufts favor germination and survival of the seedlings, and also afford 
early protection against grazing, their subsequent development is impeded, and 
heavy mortality may result from competition between seedlings and grass for 
soil moisture. However, the heavy losses of young ponderosa-pine seedlings 
on Arizona fescue ranges are apt to occur where the natural grass cover is 
decimated. Its extensive root system enables Arizona fescue to withstand both 
drought and trampling fairly well. Although this grass does not form a sod, 
yet its deep and abundant fibrous roots and the more or less dense spreading 
leafage tend to reduce run-off and thus impede erosion. 

Although Arizona fescue produces an abundance of viable seed, artificial 
reseeding experiments with it on mountain ranges in the West" have not been 
very successful. Sowings were made in 1913 on the Coconino Plateau in north- 
ern Arizona, but although many seedlings resulted and attained average height, 
most of them subsequently succumbed and failed to maintain the stand. The 
seedlings which matured produced but little seed. 


illus. 1917. 

U. S. Dept. Agr. Bull. 1105, 14.'? pp., illus. 1923. 

RANGE LANDS. U. S. Dept. Agr. Circ. 178, 48 pp., illus. 1931. 



Festu'ca idahoen'sis, syns. F. ingra'ta, F. ovi'na ingra'ta 

Flower "head (panicle) open but rather 
narrow, 4 to 8 in. long; branches ascend- 
ing or spreading, very rough to touch 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 4- 
to8-flowered, somewhat flattened, florets 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
unequal, first shorter than second 

* Outer flower bract (lemma) about # 
in. long, longer than glumes, rounded on 
back, 5-nerved, nerves running together 
at tip, not 2-toothed at tip as in brome, 
bearded (awned) from tip; awn usually 
little more than half as long as lemma 
(up to 3 / lt in long); grain enclosed by 

Stalks (culms) erect, sparsely leaved, 
somewhat rough above 

Leaves mostly in a tuft, basal, nu- 
merous, bluish green; basal leaf sheaths 
short, remaining inrolled in age; leaf 
blades 3 to 15 in. long, rather stiff 
and firm, but wavy, inrolled. 

Roots slender, fibrous, matted 

Idaho fescue, sometimes called blue bunchgrass, is a densely 
tufted, perennial bunchgrass 1 to 3 feet high, and is one of the most 
common and widely distributed grasses in the 11 far Western States. 
However, it is either rare or does not occur in the southern portions 
of California, Nevada, and Arizona. Naturally with such a wide 
range in distribution, Idaho fescue occupies very diversified habitats. 
Forest Service collections show altitudinal variations from 800 feet 
in Oregon to 12,000 feet in Colorado. Though it may be found at 
any elevation between these extremes, it is most prevalent from 
about 5,000 to 8,000 feet in Montana, 7,000 to 10,000 feet in Utah 
and Colorado, and from 3,000 to 7,000 feet in California and the 
Northwest. It grows on all exposures and under a wide variety of 
soil conditions from clay to rocky, shallow to deep, and moist to 
dry but is most common in fairly dry, well-drained, moderately 
deep, sandy or gravelly loams. Exposed benchlands, hillsides and 
ridges, parks, meadows, woodlands, and open ponderosa and lodge- 
pole pine stands are common habitats. Its frequent associates in- 
clude wheatgrass, bluegrass, brome, geranium, yarrow, and sage- 
brush. A Forest Service officer has noted in the mountains of 
Wyoming, that Idaho fescue seems to be replaced by needlegrass 
(Stipa) as moisture decreased or overgrazing increased. 

Idaho fescue is abundant and sometimes the dominant plant on 
extensive areas. It usually ranks with the choicest forage plants, 
and in Montana and possibly elsewhere is, everything considered, 
probably the best forage grass. However, it may not quite merit 
first rank in palatability in some sections. It produces a fair 
amount of seed of comparatively high viability and maintains itself 
well on the range if given a reasonable opportunity. Idaho fescue 
excels many of its associated forage species in ability to withstand 
heavy grazing and trampling, although it will succumb to continued 
grazing abuse. All classes of livestock relish it in the spring, as well 
as later in the season where it grows on north slopes or in cooler, 
moister sites and Avhere the herbage remains tender. Under such 
conditions it is often grazed more closely than other associated 
grasses. As the season advances the plants tend to become some- 
what tough and harsh, and less succulent, with a proportionate de- 
crease in palatability for sheep, especially ewes and lambs; to some 
extent this is true for horses and cattle also. However, if more in- 
viting forage is not available, livestock will graze this species 
throughout the season and thrive. Moreover, the plant cures well 
on the ground and makes a good or very good fall forage, being 
readily grazed by all classes of livestock until late in the season, 
while it also produces a good aftermath which is much relished. 
When accessible it is also a good forage for winter use. 

Idaho fescue has numerous stems. The fine, narrow leaves have a 
bluish green color which accounts for the name "blue bunchgrass." 
Dried, stubby, straw-colored herbage from previous years usually 
contributes to the compactness of the bunch and is generally 



Festu'ca ovi'na, syn. F. saximonta'na 

Flower head (panicle) contracted after 
flowering, usually 2 to 4 in. long, with 
rather short, more or less 1-sided, 
mostly solitary, ascending branches 

Stalks (culms) tufted, erect, from 6 
to 24 in. high, rigid, smooth and hairless 

Lower flower bract (lemma) 
, amooth, pointed and with a 
usually short bristle (awn) 
at tho tip 

Individual flower groups 

(spikelets) 3- to 9-flowered, 
about y t in. long 

'Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
leathery in texture, unequal in length, 
pointed at tips; 1st, 1-veined, 2d, 

Leaves mainly basal, very narrow, 
bristlelike or cylindrical, firm, 2 to 5 
in. long, rough on the margins; stem 
leaves few and very short 

Roots numerous, finely fibrous; root- 
stocks lacking 

Sheep fescue, a perennial and, under range conditions, a typical bunch grass, 
is not only a valuable range forage species but also an important cultivated 
pasture plant. The name sheep fescue is a literal translation of the scientific 
name for this grass, and is most appropriate, since its large volume of fine 
leaves is much relished by sheep. 

Hitchcock 1 states that the typical Old World form of sheep fescue, as 
described by the great Swedisli botanist, Linnaeus, "is the representative of a 
large group of varieties or closely allied species in Europe." The grass is 
very widely distributed, being native in the northern hemisphere of the Old 
World, and apparently in the New World as well. It exists in several varie- 
ties or forms in the Western States. Some of these variations (accorded 
specific or varietal rank by some botanists) resemble sheep fescue so closely 
that it is difficult to distinguish them from the species and, if such forms are 
included in its range, sheep fescue may be considered as occurring in all the 
11 far Western States. Sheep fescue, although widely distributed, is abun- 
dant only locally. It is one of the dominant, grasses in the Beartooth Moun- 
tains in Montana, on the Powell Plateau in Utah, and in similar localities at 
the higher altitudes, from 7,000 to 11,000 feet, in Colorado. In eastern Oregon, 
however, its altitudinal range descends to at least as- low as 3,500 feet. Open 
hillsides, benchlands, parks, meadows, open woodlands, and lightly timbered 
areas are common habitats ; dry, sandy, gravelly, or rocky soils seem to be 
preferred, although this grass is also found on the finer and moister clay 
soils, or occasionally even in marshy areas. It often grows in association 
with other bunchgrasses and with such browse as rabbitbrush and sagebrush, 
and with such herbs as asters and geraniums. 

Sheep fescue is a valuable forage grass for all classes of livestock. It 
is one of the first range grasses to green up and be ready for grazing in early 
spring, and it is especially palatable at that time. Its very numerous, fine 
leaves remain green and comparatively tender until late in the fall, and its 
value as forage continues- until that time. Its extensive root system makes 
it fairly resistant to drought and trampling; the absence of underground 
stems, however, and its lack of strong seed habits make difficult, if not im- 
possible, the maintenance of good stands under excessive grazing. 

Eeseeding experiments with sheep fescue on mountain ranges in the west- 
ern United States 2 have not been very promising. It is, however, frequently 
cultivated as a pasture or lawn grass, and succeeds better than many other 
grasses where the soil is sandy or gravelly and rather poor. It tends to be 
more bunchy than is desirable when grown alone, but in mixture with other 
grasses it helps to make a durable ground cover. As a pasture grass it is 
adapted to about the same general climatic conditions as Kentucky bluegrass 
(Poa> pratensis), and can be grown as far north as agriculture is- practiced. 

The very fine, inrolled, very numerous and mostly basal leaves of sheep 
fescue are bluish green when fresh, but the stubbed-off dried leaves of former 
years tend to remain and together make up a very characteristic and compact 
tuft from 2 to 7 inches high. The smooth, slender stalks extend up above this 
basal clump, usually being from 7 to 16 inches tall, though they occasion;; lly 
attain a height as great as 2 feet. Except for being smaller, and with rather 
shorter and more conspicuously basal leaves, sheep fescue is similar in ap- 
pearance to Idaho fescue (jP. idahoensis). Hard fescue (F. ovina durius'cula, 
syn. F. durius'cula), a variety of sheep fescue, is sometimes cultivated as a 
pasture grass in this country. As 1 its name indicates, its leaves tend to be 
somewhat tougher than those of sheep fescue. 

Sheep fescue flowers from June to September, and disseminates its seed 
from August to October. Since there are no underground stems (rootstocks, 
or rhizomes), reproduction is solely by seed. There is some vegetative 
enlargement of the bunches by tillering. 

REFERENCE TO THE ECONOMIC SPECIES. U. S. Dept. Agr. Bull. 772, 307 pp., illus. 1920. 

RANGE LANDS. U. S. Dept. Agr. Circ. 178, 48 pp., illus. 1931. 



Festu'ca scabrel'la, syns. F. campes'tris, F. hal'lii 

Flower head (panicle) narrow, 
2 to 10 in. long; panicle branches 
harsh, usually in pairs, 2 to 5 
in. long, bearing the individual 
flower groups (spikelets) to- 
wards their tips 

Spikelets 2- to 7-flowered, of- 
ten dull or purplish-colored, 
about K in- long- 

Outer flower bract (lemma) 
firm, slightly harsh (scabrous), 
oblong, 5-veined (nerved), 
keeled near tip, sharp-pointed 
or short bristle- (awn-) tipped 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts 
(glumes) unequal, smooth or 
scabrous near tip; 1st glume 
lance-shaped, 1-nerved, slightly 
shorter than the egg-shaped- 
lanceolate, 3-nerved 2d glume 

Stalks (culms) scabrous or 
smooth, rather stout, densely 
tufted, erect, up to 4 ft. tall, 
often somewhat spreading at 

Leaves mostly basal, usually 
scabrous, firm, inrolled, sharp- 
pointed at tips, usually 4 to 12 
in. long, rarely up to 20 in. long, 
the blades tending to break off 
from the sheaths; upper stem 
leaves few, short (about 2. in. 
long), their sheaths rough; 
lower leaf sheaths smooth, 
enlarged at base, persistent on 
the stalks after leaf blades 
break off 

Roots numerous, fibrous; 
rootstocks lacking 

Buffalo bunchgrass is an erect, tufted, perennial bunchgrass from 

1 to 4 feet high. The name buffalo bunchgrass refers to the fact 
that buffalo were fond of this grass, and also to its bunch habit of 
growth. It is also called big buffalo bunchgrass and rough fescue; 
the latter name alludes to the rough (scabrous) leaves and stalks, 
as does also the Latin specific name scabrella. In Montana it is 
sometimes known as great bunchgrass because it grows in large 
tussocks averaging 12 to 14 inches, sometimes becoming as much as 

2 feet in diameter. 

This is a widely distributed species, ranging across Canada from 
Newfoundland and Quebec to Yukon and British Columbia, and, 
in the United States, from Washington and Oregon to North 
Dakota and northern Michigan. With perhaps three exceptions, 
Colorado material hitherto referred to this species seems to be 
Thurber fescue (Festuca thwrberi) . It is one of the principal grasses 
in Montana and northern Idaho, and is also important in eastern 
Oregon and Washington. It is rarely reported from California. 
Prairies, open, sunny, hill and mountain slopes up to 10,000 feet 
elevation, rocky cliffs, and dry, open woods are its most frequent 
habitats, especially on dry, deep, sandy loam soils. Often it is so 
abundant locally as to form one of the chief features of the land- 
scape ; in extensive mountain park areas it may grow to the exclusion 
of other grasses. 

Buffalo bunchgrass produces a large amount of forage of high 
palatability and is especially relished by horses and cattle; it is 
somewhat too hard a grass for sheep. On summer range it is highly 
valued for horses and cattle, and on winter ranges is considered 
one of the best grasses, as it cures well on the stalk and retains its 
nutritive properties all winter. On the lower ranges the small 
amount of snow held against the strong winds in the center of the 
grass bunches serves both to moisten and soften the herbage, and, 
in a measure, is a substitute for water for the livestock. This grass 
on the higher ranges, continuously covered by winter snow, greens up 
faster in the spring and appears to be better relished by livestock 
than when growing on the lower winter ranges. 

The large tussock habit of growth makes buffalo bunchgrass 
difficult to mow with a machine, but, because it makes such excellent 
hay for horses, it is often cut in large quantities. Being a bunch- 
grass and devoid of underground stems (rootstocks) it never forms 
a turf and is unable to withstand trampling as well as some of the 
sod-forming grasses. The high palatability of both the leaves and 
stalks in many instances has resulted in cropping to the ground 
line. Such excessive volume utilization has decreased the abundance 
of this valuable species so that now it is not so prevalent as it once 
was, but has been replaced by other grasses, some of which, as, for ex- 
ample, Idaho fescue and some of the bluegrasses, are also highly 
palatable; often, however, the replacement is by inferior species. 

Buffalo bunchgrass presents a very characteristic appearance with 
its large tufts of prominently ridged (striate) leaves and its 
noticeably bluish cast. Flowers are produced during June and 
July and seed is disseminated during August and September. 
Keproduction is solely by seed. 



Festu'ca thur'beri 

Flower head (panicle) at ends 
of stalks, loose, slightly droop- 
ing, 4 to 6 in. long 

Individual flower groups (spike- 
lets) 3- to 6-flowered, about % 
in. long, borne above the middle 
of the panicle branches 

Stalks (culms) densely tufted, 
rather robust, erect, 24 to 40 in. 

Outer flower bract (lemma) 
smooth or finely scabrous near 
margins, about % in. long, 
without bristle (awn) at tip 
but rigidly pointed 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts 
(glumes) thin, smooth or 
rough on the keel; 2d glume. 
1-veined (nerved), or 3-nerved 
at base only 

Appendage (ligule) at junc- 
tion of leaf blade and leaf* 
sheath, membranous, elongated 
(%e in. long), taper-pointed 

Roots numerous, fibrous; root- 
stocks lacking 

Thurber fescue is a robust, densely tufted, perennial bunchgrass, 

f rowing up to a little over 3 feet tall, in rather large bunches. Prof, 
ven Nelson 1 states that, in southwestern Wyoming, this hand- 
some, bluegrasslike plant forms "large compact sods on the edge 
of the thickets along the mountain streams." While under optimum 
conditions, such as Professor Nelson describes, this grass may grow 
thickly enough to simulate a sod, its lack of underground stems 
(rootstocks) precludes it from being a truly turf-forming species. 

The range of Thurber fescue is more restricted than that of most 
western fescues, its distribution apparently being limited to Wyo- 
ming, Colorado, Utah, and northern New Mexico. Its common 
habitat is in the higher mountains at elevations up to 12,000 feet, 
and in open parks, open stands of spruce, aspen, and ponderosa 
pine, on hillsides and ridges, and in meadows. It prefers a sandy 
loam soil, although it is able to grow in the heavier clay loams. It 
is common throughout its range, is often abundant locally, and 
sometimes occurs in almost pure stands. 

Although reports as to the forage value of Thurber fescue vary 
somewhat in different localities, it is generally conceded to be better 
for cattle and horses than for sheep and goats. A large number of 
leaves are produced, but the roughness of the leaf blades somewhat 
impairs the palatability for sheep. In general, it is rated as a 
valuable forage grass for all classes of livestock, but especially for 
cattle and horses. It is palatable and usable for grazing until snow 
in the fall. 

Thurber fescue flowers in July and seed is disseminated during 
August. Except for the vegetative enlargement of the bunches by 
tillering, the sole method of reproduction is by seed. 

Thurber fescue resembles the more northern species, buffalo bunch- 
grass (F. scdbrella) rather closely in habit of growth and roughness 
of the leaves. In fact, some botanists have regarded it as a variety 
of buffalo bunchgrass, under the name F. scabrella vaseyana. 
Certain others hold it to be a synonym of buffalo bunchgrass. 
Thurber fescue is perhaps most readily distinguished by its con- 
spicuously elongated (nearly one-fourth of an inch long) ligule or 
papery bract at the junction of leaf blade and leaf sheath. 

This species is named in honor of its discoverer, Dr. George 
Thurber (1821-90), botanist, quartermaster of the United States- 
Mexican Boundary Commission (1850), who collected the plants 
on which Dr. Gray's book Plantae Thurberianae is based. Thurber 
was professor of botany and horticulture at Michigan Agricultural 
College 1859-63, and editor of the American Agriculturist 1863-90. 
His influence on American agricultural education and research has 
been profound. Many western plants bear his name. 

Agr., Div. Agrost. Bull. 13, 72 pp., illus. 1898. 



Festu'ca viri'dula 

Stalks (culms) densely tufted 
but easily separated, erect, 1 to 
3J-> ft. high, rather slender, 
round, smooth, slightly thick-- 
ened at the base 

Leaves mostly basal numer- 
ous, light green, soft, erect, 
narrow, smooth, loosely, folded 
or slightly inrollcd, K as long 
as the stalks; collar (ligule) at 
junction of blade and sheath, 
a ring of short hairs 

Flower head (panicle) 4 to 6 

in. long, open; branches erect, 
becoming spreading, each with 
a slight padlike swelling (pul- 
vinus) at point of attachment 
to rachis 

Roots perennial, coarse, deep, 

Outer flower bract (lemma) 
about % in. long, narrowly 
lance-shaped, nearly smooth, 
shining, indistinctly 5-nervcd, 

Individual flower groups (spike- 
lets) pale or purplish, 3- to 6- 
flowered, about }'> in. long 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts 
(glumes) unequal; 1st glume 
about K in. long; 2d glume 
about % longer than 1st 

Every mountainous part of the West has its particular breed of 
mountain bunchgrass; thus, green fescue is the mountain bunch- 
grass of the Blue Mountain country of northeastern Oregon and 
southeastern Washington. Lambs fed on these ranges are famous 
for condition and the high market prices they command. Few 
sights are more pleasing to the eye than high knolls and ridges 
covered with a fine stand of green fescue. The rich green hue of 
the foliage contrasts strikingly with the bright bluish-purple heads. 

Green fescue distinctly a plant of the Northwest ranges from 
British Columbia to Alberta, western Montana, Nevada, and cen- 
tral California, growing typically within the spruce-fir belt near 
timberline, mostly above 6,000 feet, although a few specimens have 
been collected as low as 5,000 feet. Although not widely distributed, 
it is often abundant on the better drained soils of plateaus, slopes, 
ridges, parks, and glades and in mountain meadows where it in- 
habits deep, sandy, gravelly, or clayey loams. 

Throughout its range, green fescue furnishes an abundance, of 
very palatable and nutritious feed. More recent palatability studies 
on the Wenatchee National Forest in central Washington show that 
this grass is relished by all classes of livestock throughout the entire 
grazing season, although sheep, which graze the leafage of this plant 
more than that of most other grasses, tend to discriminate against 
it during the late fall. Green fescue is very nutritious; chemical 
analyses indicate that it ranks with the wheatgrasses in food value 
and, when mature, with timothy hay in nutritiousness. 1 Green fescue 
has been reduced measurably on many ranges in Oregon and Wash- 
ington because of its high palatability. Attention was directed to- 
ward depleted green fescue ranges on the Wallowa National Forest, 
in northeastern Oregon, during the early days of the Forest Service, 
and a scientific investigation followed. 2 The practical application to 
range management of the principles thus evolved on the Wallowa 
National Forest marked the beginning of the deferred and rotation 
grazing systems on western national forests. 

Green fescue grows typically in densely tufted bunches, but even in very 
dense stands does not make a complete cover, and usually the tufts are inter- 
mixed with many other forage plants. This bunchgrass produces numerous 
coarse extensive roots which bind the surface soil and often penetrate to a 
depth of 3 feet, or more. These deep, matted roots form effective impediment? 
against erosion and enable the plants to survive more or less protracted 
droughts. Green fescue, a dense, tufted perennial with an abundance of soft, 
long-folded or inrolled leaves, grows in tussocks of from 3 t<> 12 inches in 
diameter and attains heights of from 1 to 3% feet. The panicles are from A 
to 6 inches long and somewhat open. Spikelets are three- to six-flowered, pale 
or purplish in color. This grass produces an abundance of seed, but Sampson ' 
has found that the viability is low ; the average germination for laboratory 
tests was 12.2 percent, although field trials gave a much higher percentage. 
Preliminary range reseeding experiments with green fescue in the Wasatch 
Mountain region have been failures. 3 

U. S. Dept. Agr. Bull. 545, 63 pp., illus. 1917. 

MENTS AND LIFE HISTORY OF THE VEGETATION. .Tour. Asr. Research [U. S.] 3 : 93-148, 
illus. 1914. 

RANGE LANDS. U. S. Dept. Agr. Circ. 178, 48 pp., illus. 1931. 



Glyce'ria stria'ta, syns. G. nerva'ta, Panicula'ria nerva'ta, P. ri'gida 

Flower head (panicle) loosely branched, py- 
ramidal, 3 to 8 in. long, with threadlike, droop- 
ing, spreading or ascending branches 


Individual flower groups (spikelets) 3- to 7- 
flowered, small, about % in. long, egg-shaped 
to oblong, pale green or purplish 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) persist- 
ent, unequal, very short, 1-nerved, oval, thin 

Outer flower bract (lemma) prominently 7- 
nerved, rounded on back, about K in- long, 
broad, blunt, beardless (awnless), papery at tip 

Inner flower bract (palea) about as long as 
lemma, 2-keeled 

Leaves flat, erect or ascending, 6 to 12 in. 
long and up to % in. wide, smooth beneath, 
harsh above; sheaths closed nearly to the 
summit, usually somewhat harsh 

Stalks (culms) erect, usually 12 to 40 in. 
(occasionally up to 4 ft.) tall, smooth, slender, 
simple, hairless 

Rootstocks spreading, underground 
Roots fibrous 

Fowl mannagrass, also locally known as nerved mannagrass, and 
tall meadowgrass, is a moderately tall, often tufted perennial grass of 
the fescue tribe (Festuceae). It is one of the most abundant and 
widespread of about 16 species of mannagrass which occur in the 
United States and fairly typical of the group in forage value. 

Fowl mannagrass is distributed from Newfoundland to British 
Columbia, south to California, Mexico, and Florida, and has an 
elevational range of from near sea level to about 10,000 feet. This 
species is confined almost entirely to sites where moisture is abun- 
dant; it grows typically along stream banks and in and around wet 
meadows, marshes, and swamps. This grass is tolerant of shade 
and often occurs in seeps and boggy places under stands of aspen and 
coniferous timber. Although it sometimes grows pure in small 
patches, this grass ordinarily is intermixed scatteringly with other 
meadow grasses, sedges, and rushes, and supplies only a limited 
amount of forage. 

The succulent herbage of fowl mannagrass is eaten by all classes 
of grazing animals and is usually rated as good to very good for 
cattle and horses, and fairly good for sheep. Livestock, especially 
sheep, do not graze in the excessively wet situations where this 
grass often grows. Accordingly, its value for forage is highest 
in the late summer when the leafage is less succulent and the 
sites somewhat drier. Cattle and horses consume both the flower 
stalks and leafage ; sheep usually eat only the leaves. This grass is 
also grazed readily by elk but is used to only a slight extent by deer. 

Some chemical analyses have disclosed traces of hydrocyanic acid 
in fowl mannagrass and, in fact, some cases of cattle poisoning have 
been ascribed to it. 1 Scientific evidence that the plants contain 
enough of the poison to kill livestock is lacking, however. In fact, 
experience on the national forest ranges demonstrates that the man- 
nagrasses are good forage plants and can ordinarily be grazed with- 
out harmful results. The seed matures from July to the forepart 
of September and is dropped as soon as it ripens. In the Blue 
Mountains of Oregon, Sampson 2 found the germinative power 
of the seed to be relatively high and observed that natural reproduc- 
tion was generally good. 

The name mannagrass originated in Europe where, particularly in Germany 
and Poland, the seeds of several species of Olyceria- are used in soups and 
gruels or ground into meal. 8 4 

The grains of our native American species are extremely small and have no 
economic use except possibly as food for birds. The generic name Glyceria, is 
from the Greek (glukeros, sweet) and refers to the taste of the grain. The 
specific names striata, and nervata refer to the (seven) prominent parallel 
nerves on the backs of the outer flower bracts (lemmas). 

Tall mannagrass (G. ela'ta, syns. Panicula'ria cla'ta, P. ncrva'ta ela'ta) 
is one of the most common and most valuable of the western species of man- 
nagrass. This species is very similar to fowl mannagrass in general appear- 
ance, habitat requirements, and forage value. However, it is a more robust 
plant, has broader leaves, and grows from 3 to about 6^ feet tall. It ranges 
from British Columbia and Montana to Wyoming, New Mexico, and California. 



Jour. Biol. Chem. 21 : 601-[610]. 1915. 

U. S. Dept. Agr. Bull. 545, 63 pp., illus. 1917. 

3 Francis, M. E. THE BOOK OF GRASSES. 351 pp., illus. Garden City, N. Y. 1912. 

4 Archer, T. C. POPULAE ECONOMIC BOTANY. 359 pp., illus. London. 1853. 


Hila'ria spp., syn. Pleura'phis spp. 

Individual names are applied to each species of Hilaria but the 
genus as a whole has had no common name, so the scientific name 
is usually employed. This genus was named in honor of Auguste de 
Saint-Hilaire, an early French naturalist. There are four species of 
Hilaria, all perennials, in the United States, distributed from Wy- 
oming to Nevada, southern California, central Texas, and south 
into Mexico. These grasses are all semidesert and desert plants, 
growing principally on arid plains, mesas, and foothills, often in 
association with gramas (Boutcloua spp.), three-awns (Aristida 
spp.), dropseeds (Sporobolus spp'.), and mesquites (Prosopis spp.). 
They occur on a wide variety of soils from clay adobe flats to 
gravelly or rocky ridges. Some authors prefer to divide these grasses 
into two genera, leaving only one species, curly-mesquite (H. belan- 
geri y syn. "H. cenchroides" of United States authors), which has 
stolons and glandular glumes, in Hilaria, and classing the others, 
which have rootstocks and nonglandular glumes, in the genus 
Pleuraphis. The best current botanical opinion, however, unites the 
two groups into one genus. 

Because of their abundance, ability to withstand heavy grazing and 
prolonged drought, and the fairly large volume of forage which 
some species produce, the hilarias are important grasses on many 
ranges of the Southwest. Their strong creeping rootstocks or 
stolons make them invaluable as soil binders. 

Hilarias have narrow, flat, or inrolled leaves, and solid (pithy, as 
cornstalks), tufted, somewhat wiry or woody stems which are usually 
bent at the base and branched. The spikes are very distinctive, 
resembling somewhat those of the wild- ryes (Elymus spp.) and 
wheatgrasses (Agropyron spp.), but are readily recognized by their 
broad, papery glumes, which make the entire spike appear somewhat 
chaffy and papery. The spikelets are borne in close, stemless clusters 
alternately arranged on a zigzag main stem (rachis). Each cluster 
comprises three spikelets the center one seed-producing, one- 
flowered, and the outer two not seed-producing and two-flowered. 
The entire cluster falls at maturity, leaving the rachis naked. 



Hila'ria belan'geri, syn. "H. cenchroi'des"* 

Flower head (spike)^ symmetrical, 1 to 
2 in. long, about y t in. broad, purplish, 
with a zigzag axis (rachis) 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) in 
groups of 3's at each rachis joint, tho 
groups falling entire, without tuft of 
basal hairs, of two kinds: the central 
spikelet 1 -flowered and seed-producing; 
the 2 side spikelets 2-flowered, pollen- 
producing (staminate) 

Lowest (2) central spikelet bracts 
(glumes) similar, with dark glands 
below, parallel-nerved, unequally 2- 
lobed with a short bristle (awn) be- 

Outer flower bracts (lemmas) trans- 

Earent, taper-pointed from a broad 

side spikelet bracts 
similar to those of central 




Stalks (culms)-y-solid, smooth except 
for the conspicuously hairy joints 
(nodes), some upright, 5 to 8 (some- 
times up to 12) in. tall; others (run- 
ners, or stolons) rooting at the nodes 
from which new plants arise 

Leaves erect, rather rigid, usually 2 
to 3 in. long, harsh 

Roots coarse, fibrous; rootstocks lack- 

*Of United States 
authors, not H. B. K. 

Curly-mesquite, sometimes called southwestern buffalo grass be- 
cause of its similarity in growth to the true buffalo grass (BucMoe 
dactyloides] , is identifiable at some distance because it forms light 
green patches. It is distinguishable from the other hilarias by the 
slender, wiry, creeping stolons which produce a close, firm sod in 
favorable soil. Hilaria belangeri perpetuates the name of Charles 
M. Belanger, a French naturalist and explorer of the nineteenth 
century. This grass occurs from central Texas to Arizona and 
south to Central America. It is most abundant on the plains of 
Texas and Mexico and also grows on a considerable scale in south- 
western New Mexico and southern Arizona. Curly-mesquite develops 
small or fairly large patches on plains, mesas, and foothills in the 
grass and open woodland types and is found on dry, deep clay to 
gravelly or rocky soils at elevations of 3,500 to 5,500 feet. However, 
the species occasionally grows in scattered clumps on rocky slopes. 
Gramas (Bouteloua spp.), three awns (Aristida spp.), beardgrasses 
(Andropogon spp.), mesquites (Prosopis spp.), and catclaw and 
other acacias (Acacia spp.) are common associates of curly -mesquite. 

This grass is esteemed highly for forage wherever it occurs, as it 
is one of the first to start spring growth, responds readily to summer 
rains, and produces a fair amount of forage despite its small size. 
Curly-mesquite cures well on the ground and is highly palatable 
to all classes of livestock for both winter and summer use. It is 
unusually resistant to extended drought and also withstands close 
grazing, as is shown by its increase on many of the heavily grazed 
ranges of the Southwest. Although the innumerable stolons facili- 
tate the aggressive spread of the species, this valuable grass should 
be protected during its growth period for best results. Its habit of 
forming a sod makes it a very good soil binder in checking and 
preventing erosion. 

Under favorable conditions curly-mesquite produces two seed 
crops a minor production in the spring when moisture is adequate, 
followed in late summer or fall by the major seed output resulting 
from the summer rains. The species, however, depends chiefly upon 
its stolons for reproduction, as the natural seed supply is insufficient 
for satisfactory maintenance of the stands. 

Curly-mesquite is of finer texture than the other species of Hilaria 
and has numerous, narrow, rather rigid leaves, usually 2 to 4 inches 
long, as well as a few upright, leafy stems 4 to 12 (commonly 5 to 8) 
inches high which are hairy at the nodes. The purplish spikes are 
single, rather loosely flowered, and 1 to 2 inches long. The clusters 
of spikelets lack the conspicuously long tuft of basal hairs character- 
istic of most other species of Hilaria. 

Until recently this species was commonly confused in botanical 
manuals with H. cenchftoidks, which is now regarded as a wholly 
Mexican species differing from curly-mesquite in having a thick 
spike, darker spikelets, and the rachis internodes shorter than the 
spikelets. In contrast, curly-mesquite has a relatively slender spike, 
pale spikelets, and rachis internodes about as long as the spikelets. 



Hila'ria jame'sii, syn. Pleura' phis jame'sii 

Flower heads (spikes)-^-often 

urplish) erect, up to 3# in. 


Individual flower groups (spike- 
lets) long-hairy at bases, in 
stalkless groups of 3's at each 
joint of spike axis (rachis), the 
groups falling entire, of 2 kinds: 
(1) central spikelet 1 -flowered, 
seed-producing; (2) 2 side ones 

Lowest (2) central spikelet 
bracts (glumes) hairy, wedge- 
shaped, 2-lobed, with 5 to 7 
bristles (awns) 

Lowest (2) lateral spikelet 
bracts (glumes) narrow; 1st 
glume awned on one side from 
about the middle, unequally 
2-lobed; 2d glume awnless 

Stalks (culms) conspicuously 
hairy at the joints, erect, 12 to 
20 in. high 

Leaves mostly basal, rarely 
up to 6 hi. long, rigid, bluish, 

Rootstocks long-creeping, 
scaly, stout 

Roots fibrous, numerous 

Galleta, sometimes and unfortunately referred to in older litera- 
ture as black grama, is an erect perennial. It grows on mesas, 
plains, and deserts from Wyoming and Nevada to California, west- 
ern Texas, and south into Mexico, but is probably most common in 
New .Mexico and Arizona. In Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, and 
Nevada the species occurs chiefly in scattered stands, usually in as- 
sociation with blue grama in the sagebrush zone. In the Southwest 
it is abundant over extensive areas in the upper plains and in the 
lower limits of the ponderosa pine belt at elevations from 5,000 to 
7,000 feet in the mountains. Wooton and Standley x state that gal- 
leta grass is by far the most abundant and -characteristic plant on 
the plains in the northwestern corner of New Mexico, where it often 
forms practically pure stands which cover many miles of terrain. 

The abundance of galleta and its capacity for heavy forage pro- 
duction make it a very important species on many southwestern 
ranges. Wooton and Standley (op. tit.} regard it as probably the 
second most valuable range grass of New Mexico. It is of highest 
palatability (up to good or very good) during the summer rainy 
growing season, and has the reputation among stockmen of being 
nutritious for all classes of livestock. Its maximum use at this pe- 
riod is desirable. Unless green and succulent its palatability is low 
or. negligible. After growth ceases the rather harsh foliage soon 
becomes dry and tough and is of little or no interest to livestock. 
Range animals reject it during late fall and winter unless more 
palatable species are scanty or unavailable. Wooton and Standley 2 
call attention to the local reputation of galleta for fattening horses. 
The tough, woody rootstocks, sometimes as much as 6 feet long, are 
its surest means of reproduction, fortify it against trampling and 
heavy grazing, and increase, its effectiveness as a soil binder. The 
species is very drought-resistant and maintains itself satisfactorily 
on arid ranges. It is not easily killed by overstocking. 

Although the galleta plants have strong, scaly rootstocks, they 
usually grow in bunches and it is only under very favorable condi- 
tions that these bunches grow sufficiently close together to approxi- 
mate a sod. The numerous, narrow, rather wiry leaves are dull 
green. The flower head (spike) has a fine, hairy, chaffy appearance, 
often purplish at first and fading to almost white at maturity. 

1 Wooton, E. O., and Standley, P. C. FLORA OF NEW MEXICO. U. S. Natl. Mtis., Contrib. 
U. 8. Natl. Herbarium 19, 794 pp. 1915. 

2 Wooton, E. O., and Standley, P. C. THE GRASSES AND GRASS-LIKE I-LANTS OF NEW 
MEXICO. N. Mex. Agr. Expt. Sta. Bull. 81, [176}. pp., illus. 



Hila'ria mu'tica, syn. Pleura'phis mu'tica 

Flower heads (spikes) erect, symmetrical, 
IK to 3 in. long, Ke to % in. broad, white, straw- 
colored or occasionally purplish, the axis 
(rachis) somewhat zigzag and persistent 

* Individual flower groups (spikelets) upright, 
in groups of 3's at each joint of the rachis, 
the groups falling entire, with a conspicuous 
tuft of short hairs at the base, of two kinds: 
(a) the central spikelet 1-flowered, seed-pro- 
ducing; (b) the lateral ones 2-flowered, pollen- 

Lowest (2) lateral spikelet bracts (glumes) 
membranous; 1st glume fan-shaped, 2d glume 
only slightly wider at the top 

Outer flower bracts (lemmas)- 
nerved, similar to glumes 

-papery, 3- 

Lowest (2) central spikelet bracts (glumes) 
similar, shorter than lemma, the margins 
fringed with fine hairs, usually divided into 2 
irregular lobes, the nerve splitting above into 
several bristles 

Stalks (culms) 1 to 2, sometimes 3 ft. tail, 
smooth or often fine-hairy at the joints (nodes) ; 
many sterile branches below 

Leaves up to 6 in. long, stiff, harsh, hairless 

Rootstocks strong, creeping, woody, scaly 
Roots deep, fibrous 

Tobosa is an erect perennial very similar in general appearance 
to galleta (H. jamesii). It ranges from western Texas to Ari- 
zona and south into Mexico. It grows most abundantly in the 
southern part of New Mexico and Arizona on the finer, somewhat 
compact soils on open flats, swales, and depressions and, to some 
extent, on similar soils in the foothills. It occurs more sparsely on 
sandy or gravelly soils, mainly at elevations between 3,000 and 5,000 
feet. This grass is very common on areas subject to flooding in the 
rainy season, where it attains its best development; it is considered 
the climax vegetation in certain adobe clay depressions and swales. 1 
Under such conditions, it may form a pure stand of coarse sod grass 
over areas as large as 1 or 2 acres. On the dry sites tobosa grass 
occurs in scattered stands in large tufts and is fairly resistant to 
drought although it suffers more during extended periods of dry 
weather and is slower in recovering from such a setback than are 
many of its associates. Although preferring areas subject to flood- 
ing, tobosa is one of the first grasses to die when submerged for 
periods of several months. It is also intolerant of shifting sands. 1 

Burrograss (Scleropogon bremfolius) and either alkali sacaton 
(Sporobolus airoides] or sacaton (S. wrightii) are common associ- 
ates of tobosa on adobe clay soils. On sandy clay or gravelly clay 
loams, tobosa is often the most important forage species growing 
in association with blackbrush (Flourensia. cernua), black grama 
(Boutelwua eriopoda), side-oats grama (B. curtipendula) , dropseeds 
\Sporobolus spp.), and muhly grasses (Muhlenbergia spp.). 

Tobosa is good in palatability when it is green and succulent, 
especially for cattle and horses. The species withstands grazing 
very well during the summer rainy season when its main growth 
occurs. Tobosa range should be grazed at that time as its grazing 
capacity is then maximum. Campbell 1 states that "it may be 
grazed up to 60 percent of its herbage production each summer 
without injury or without materially hindering the succession on 
adjacent areas supporting lower stages." Tobosa may be utilized 
to some extent in the fall but is of little value as winter forage be- 
cause the stems and leaves soon become so dry and tough after 
growth ceases that livestock pass it by if other feed is available. 
Tobosa range, adjoining black grama range, affords a good combina- 
tion, as the former may be grazed during the growing season, which 
facilitates deferred grazing on the black grama range. Such man- 
agement enables these plants to produce the maximum volume of 
forage before being grazed. 

Tobosa produces a fair amount of seed of moderate viability, and 
is not an aggressive seeder on the range. The strong rootstocks, 
although slow in spreading, provide the surest means of reproduc- 
tion and make the plant resistant to trampling and a very valuable 
soil binder. 

NEW MEXICO. Jour. Agr. Research [U. S.] 43 : 1027-1051. 1931. 


Hor'deum spp. 

The barleys are annual, biennial, or perennial bunchgrasses 
with dense, bearded or bristly heads (spikes). The fact that the 
axis (rachis) of the spike is jointed and readily breaks apart at the 
joints at maturity or on drying is almost a unique feature, the 
squirrel tails (Sitanion spp.) and a few species of wheatgrasses 
(Agropyron spp.) being the only others among the common western 
range grasses with similar characteristics. 

Hordeum is the ancient Latin name for barley (H. wulgaare), 
which is the most important member of the genus and has been 
cultivated since prehistoric times. It is the most important cereal 
of northern countries and is extensively used for food where other 
grains are not sufficiently hardy. However, it is chiefly important 
as a livestock feed and for brewing beer. Pearl barley (H. aegi- 
ceras) is another member of the genus which is also cultivated. 
None of the native western species have been domesticated. Foxtail 
barley (H. jubatum) is a considerable detriment to western agri- 
culture, as it is a weed species occurring in considerable abundance 
in hay and grain fields. The grain of this species is used for food 
by the Shoshone Indians of Oregon. 

In the West, Hordeum is represented by eight indigenous species, 
most of which are perennials. In addition, five annual species have 
been naturalized, including common barley and pearl barley some- 
times seen on the range as volunteers from cultivated fields. The 
introduced species are more common on the Pacific coast. Barleys 
in the West extend from lower elevations to well up into the spruce 
belt. Generally they prefer open sites such as meadows, grasslands, 
and parks, although some species appear in brush types and in 
woodlands. Several species are widely distributed, but as a rule 
are found in local patches and are not generally scattered over the 
range. Foxtail barley, however, is not only widely distributed but 
occurs in abundance. 

The native barleys are fair to fairly good forage for all classes of 
livestock for spring and early summer, but are little grazed after the 
heads are well developed. Some species resume growth when the 
fall rains begin, and as they green up considerably and the trouble- 
some heads have then largely disappeared, are important as fall and 
winter forage. On the whole, however, the barleys are distinctly 
inferior range grasses. 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) in the native western species 
are one-flowered, occur in groups of three at each joint of the rachis, 
the center one being stalkless and seed producing, the lateral ones on 
short stalks and usually not seed producing. The lowest (2) spikelet 
bracts (glumes) are bristlelike, and the outer flower bract (lemma) 
is usually awned in the fertile floret, and in the sterile spikelet often 
reduced to a bristle. 



Hor'deum juba'tum 

Flower heads (spikes) usually nod- 
ding, up to 4 in. long and 2 in. wide, 
with fine, rather soft, straight, spread- 
ing bristles (awns); axis (rachis) break- 
ing up at -maturity 

Individual flower groups .(spikelets) 
1-flowered, in groups of 3 at each joint 
of the somewhat zigzag rachis, of 2 
kinds: middle spikelet of each group 
stalkless, seed-producing, the 2 side 
spikelets short-stalked, not seed-pro- 

Lowest (2) bracts (glumes) of each 
spikelet reduced to slender, slightly 
roughened awns up to 2)< in. long 

Outer flower bract (lemma) of fertile 
spikelet 5-nerved, with an awn about 
as long as the glumes 

Lemma of sterile spikelet smaller, 

Leaves up to 5 in long and V t in. 
wide, harsh 

Stalks (culms) tufted, erect, up to 2 
ft. high 

>: Jli 

Roots fibrous, perennial , underground, 
rootstocks lacking 

Foxtail barley, commonly known as foxtail or squirreltail barley and squir- 
reltail grass, is a pestiferous perennial, from 8 to 30 inches high, growing in 
well-defined tufts or bunches. Indigenous in the Western States, the plant 
is now widely distributed from Alaska to Laborador, New Jersey, Texas, 
and California, growing more commonly at lower elevations on the plains and 
in the lower foothills, chiefly in grass types in moist saline and dry soils but 
also extending upward to subalpine elevations in the spruce belt. It is very 
common throughout the West, especially along roadsides and other waste 

places as well as in grain and hay fields. Its abundance in Montana in the 
early days is evidenced by Dr. Vasey, 1 who, in 1884, stated, 

Hordeum jubatum, or foxtail grass, is common on the low lands (of Montana) especially 
where there is moisture. It is looked upon as one of the worst of weeds. Its presence 
Avith other grasses destroys their value entirely for hay. 

The species is still common in Montana, although not so evident on the range 
as in grain and hay fields, probably because these fields now occupy the sites 
naturally suited to this grass. 

While young, foxtail barley is palatable to livestock and, up to the time 
when heads develop, is fair to fairly good forage for cattle and horses and 
fair for sheep. After the heads form the plants are not grazed. When dry, 
even though immature, the bearded heads are very troublesome because they 
break apart readily, sections of the rachis remaining as sharp points on the 
spikelets which, with the stiff awns, become imbedded in the mouth tissues 
and sometimes in the nostrils and eyes of livestock and game animals that 
consume such forage. In California, foxtail barley is grazed slightly by deer, 
while the blades are young and tender. In Montana and in the Jackson Hole 
country of Wyoming the species is grazed readily by elk as winter forage 
and, when fed as hay, the foliage may be entirely consumed in spite of the 
awns. Such utilization, however, may reflect the near-starvation conditions 
which often prevail on those elk ranges. 

Unquestionably foxtail barley is very harmful to all kinds of grazing ani- 
mals, particularly to elk, deer, and antelope when the seed heads have dried. 
Rush, 2 3 for example, reports that when such game animals eat the seed heads 
the "awns stick into the soft tissues of the mouth" and, subsequently, continue 
to work into the tissues. Infection in these injuries causes necrotic sores and 
a disease known as necrotic stomatitis or calf diphtheria, which, in turn, 
finally attacks the bones and causes an abnormal enlargement (exostosis) 
as well as lumpy jaw and pus-forming abscesses. 

Mr. O. ,T. Murie diagnosed necrotic stomatitis in 70 of 193 post-mortems of 
elk in the Jackson Hole country during the winter of 1928-29 and ascribed 
the mechanical injury which caused the disease to the awns of foxtail barley. 3 
Hay containing an appreciable amount of the dry heads of this species is 
also very injurious to horses, especially when manger-fed, as the animals have 
little chance to avoid eating the foxtail heads. The sharp points and stiff 
awns become imbedded in their gums or collect between their lips and gums, 
causing foul-smelling abscesses. Cattle are injured to a less extent than 
horses, as the mucous membrane of their mouths is thicker and less easily 
penetrated by the awns and sharp head parts of this grass. Experienced sheep- 
men avoid foxtail-infested hay because the dry heads quickly cause sore mouths. 
Some stockmen maintain that hay infested with foxtail barley can be fed 
without danger during wet weather when the awns are somewhat softened by 
moisture. Furthermore, they assert that if such hay is fed liberally so that 
livestock are not forced to eat the foxtail barley heads, little injury will nor- 
mally result even in dry weather. However, Fleming and Peterson 4 advise 
that lambing ewes should not be fed "foxtail" hay. 

Once established, foxtail barley is difficult to eradicate. It is a prolific seeder, 
and the heads or their parts with the seed are blown about by the wind and 
transported in the hair of grazing animals ; thus the species quickly invades all 
suitable areas. Seeding plowable meadows and pastures, after thorough culti- 
vation, to a grass which will quickly form a dense stand should be effective 
in reducing the amount of foxtail barley. On the range, where cultivation is 
seldom practical, conservative grazing which will facilitate the reestablishment 
of the native, palatable perennial grasses is probably the most feasible method 
of reducing the "foxtail." Artificial reseeding of badly depleted areas to aggres- 
sive but palatable grasses may be necessary to expedite range improvement. 

W> M- NORT HERN YELLOWSTONE ELK STUDY. 131 pf>., illuS. MisSOUla, Mont. 


1930 DSH> W ' M ' FOXTAIL GRAS S is KILLING ELK. Mont. Wild Life 3(7) : 10-11, illus. 

Nev. Agr. Expt. Sta. Bull. 97, 18 pp., illus. 1919. 



Hor'deum nodo'sum 

Flower heads (spikes) slender, up to 3 
in. long and % in. thick, the axis (rachis) 
breaking up at maturity 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 
1-flowered, appressed, crowded, in 3's 
at each -joint of the somewhat zigzag 
rachis, of 2 kinds: middle spikelet of 
each group of 3 stalkless, seed-produc- 
ing; 2 side spikelets short-stalked, not 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
bristle-like for both kinds of spikelets 

Outer flower bract (lemma) tipped by 
an erect bristle (awn) up to about X in- 
long in case of the fertile spikelet; 
lemma of sterile spikelet smaller and 
very short-awned or awnless 

Leaves up to 6 In. long and about Y\ 
in. wide, harsh 

Stalks (culms) tufted, erect or spread- 
ing, at base, up to 32 in. high, smooth 

Roots fibrous, usually perennial 

Meadow barley, often known as foxtail, is a fairly tall, leafy 
bunchgrass, which is perennial over most of its range but is some- 
times annual in the South. In the United States it ranges from 
Minnesota and Indiana to Texas, California, and Washington, but 
the species also extends northward to Alaska and occurs in temper- 
ate Europe to Asia. This grass is found chiefly in moist soils along 
streams and in poorly drained meadows and parks, from the plains 
and foothills upward to the aspen and spruce belts, but typically 
attains its best development on sunny, open exposures where it often 
occurs in small, nearly pure stands. It is very common, however, in 
partial shade as among shrubs and in open aspen stands. 

Before the heads are produced, meadow barley is fairly good to 
good forage for all classes of livestock. However, after the heads 
form it is not relished and, since heads develop comparatively early 
in the season, this plant is grazed for only a relatively short time. 
On favorable sites this species produces considerable foliage but, 
because of its localized occurrence and relatively low palatibility 
at maturity, it generally is of secondary importance as a range for- 
age plant. Meadow barley tends to increase and replace the more 
palatable plants in moist meadows and in other sites favorable to 
its growth, especially if such areas are somewhat overgrazed. This 
increase evidently takes place because meadow barley is lightly uti- 
lized and is allowed to mature seed, while the other species are 
closely cropped. 

This bunchgrass often occupies poorly drained areas in native 
hay meadows, generally to the exclusion of other species. Although 
these patches are usually small, meadoAv barley yields about as much 
hay as the other grasses customarily grown in such meadows, and its 
bristly spikes apparently do not injure livetock. Hence, the presence 
of meadow barley unlike foxtail barley neither reduces the yield 
nor seriously impairs the value of the hay. 


Koele'ria crista'ta 


Flower head (panicle) narrow, 
spikelike, 1 to 7 in. long, some- 
what tapering at both ends, 
often interrupted near base 

Stalks (culms) slender, tufted, 
erect, 1 to 2% ft. high, hairless 
except for very fine hairs just 
below panicle 

Leaves mostly basal, numer- 
ous, rather narrow, flat or with 
inrolled edges, 1% to 5 in. long; 
hairiness rather variable 

Roots fibrous, perennial; root- 
Stocks lacking 

Individual flower groups (spike- 
lets) 2- to 5-flowered, num- 
erous, crowded, shining, pale, 
less than K in. long, without 
beards or bristles '(awns) 

Outer flower bract (lemma) 
narrow, lance-shaped, sharp- 
pointed, obscurely 5-nerved; 
inner flower bract (palea) tissue- 
papery, 2-toothed, 2-keeled 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts 
(glumes) similar to lemmas, 
but thicker, about equal, per- 
sistent, 1st glume 1 -nerved, 
narrower than 3-nerved 2d 

Junegrass, also known as mountain junegrass, prairie junegrass, 
and koeleria, is a perennial bunchgrass and the only species of 
Koeleria native to western North America. It ranges from southern 
Ontario to British Columbia and southward to Texas, California, 

and Washington; it also occurs in Europe and Asia. Although June- 
grass rarely forms pure stands and, as a rule, occurs sparsely on 
the higher ranges, it is one of the most common and widely dis- 
tributed of the western grasses, extending over a wide altitudinal 
range and growing on a variety of dry to moist soils. Throughout 
the sagebrush, ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, aspen, and to some 
extent, the spruce belts, this species is often an important forage 
member of the sagebrush, mixed grass, weed, and open timber types. 

In general, junegrass is fairly good to good forage and is relished 
early in the season by all classes of livestock, but sheep do not graze 
the stalks after seed maturity. In some localities it is considered 
very good to excellent forage, but it is doubtful if it is ever as palat- 
able as certain bluegrasses and other leading forage species. June- 
grass is a comparatively low-growing species and, while leaves are 
generally produced in abundance, they are relatively short and 
mostly basal, so that the species does not yield a large amount of 
forage per plant. 

This grass flowers during June and July and seed is disseminated 
from July to September. The seed is of low viability, but the nor- 
mally abundant crop counterbalances this low germination to a con- 
siderable degree. The plants also stool well on areas where compe- 
tition with other species is not too keen. Junegrass matures rela- 
tively early over much of its range, which probably explains why 
it is able to withstand considerable grazing, and yet maintain itself 
in a fairly satisfactory condition on closely utilized ranges. 

Junegrass is variable in appearance throughout its wide range. 
It bears some resemblance to certain species of bluegrass (Poo, spp.). 
The bluegrasses usually have folded leaves w y ith blunt, boat-shaped 
tips, and the stalks below the flower heads are free of hairs. In 
junegrass, on the other hand, the leaves are usually flat or inrolied 
and sharp-pointed, and there are fine hairs on the .stalks just below 
the flower heads. Ordinarily also junegrass flowers and matures 
somewhat earlier than those species of bluegrasses with which it is 
likely to be confused. 

Plains reedgrass ( C alamagrostis montanensis) and spike trisetum 
(Trisetum spicatwn) are sometimes mistaken for junegrass. The 
reedgrass bears a sharp-pointed, stiff leaf just below the head, which 
feature is lacking in mountain junegrass. The heads of spike trise- 
tum are awned, whereas those of junegrass are awnless. 

KOELERI4S (Koele'ria spp.) 

Koeleria includes about 15 species of annual or perennial grasses occurring 
in the temperate regions of both hemispheres. While it has been placed by 
some botanists in the fescue tribe (Festuceae), most authorities prefer to 
place it in the oat tribe of grasses (Aveueae), since its glumes are relatively 
long and it has the other characters of this tribe except for the fact that the 
dorsal awns typical of the oat tribe are lacking. Junegrass is the only repre- 
sentative of the genus native to the Western States. One other species, K. 
phleoides, an annual native to Europe, has become established in western Florida 
and Alabama and in California and Oregon. 

The genus was named for G. Ludwig Koeler (1764-1807), a German botanist, 
one of the first to make a special study of grasses, by Christian Persoon ( 1755- 
1837), father of the science of plant diseases (phytopathology). 



Lycu'rus phleoi'des 

Flower heads (spikelike panicles) nar- 
row, commonly 2 to 4 in. long, about K 
in. wide, straight to flexuous 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 
1-fiowered, in pairs, falling together; 1 
spikelet of pair with seed-producing 
(perfect) flower, other with pollen-pro- 
ducing (staminate) flower 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
smooth to somewhat hairy; 1st, with 2 
bristles (awns), 2d, with 1 awn 

" Outer flower bract (lemma) firmer 
than glumes, soft-hairy, tipped by ter- 
minal awn, enclosing seed" 

Stalks (culmsi-^densely tufted and 
somewhat spreading at base, somewhat 
bent at joints, slender, up to 18 in. tall 

Leaves narrow (less than % in wide), 
up to 12 in. long, rough along the edges 

Roots coarse, fibrous 

Wolftail, also known as Texas timothy, is a grayish green, per- 
ennial bunchgrass which gets its common name from the timothy - 
like panicle that resembles the tail of a wolf. The generic name 
Lycwrus is from two Greek words meaning wolftail, and the specific 
name phleoides refers to the resemblance of this plant to timothy 
(Phlewm). A member of the redtop tribe (Agrostideae) , it is the 
only representative of this small genus in the United States. It 
inhabits western Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, and extends 
southward into Mexico. It is very common in New Mexico and 
Arizona on mesas and sidehills of the woodland and ponderosa 
pine zones at elevations from 4,000 to 8,000 feet. It usually occurs 
in very scattered stands, but occasionally is fairly abundant, grow- 
ing on dry, rocky, open hillsides, in mixture with other grasses, 
weeds, and shrubs. This grass grows on a wide variety of soils and 
exposures but seems to thrive best on sandy or gravelly loams of 
open grasslands and in dry canyon bottoms. Some of its common 
associates are the gramas (Bouteloua spp.), junegrass (Koeleria 
ci^istata) , mountain muhly (MuMenbergia, rrwntana), and oaks 
(Quercus spp.). Wolftail sometimes extends down into the mesquite 
(Prosopis spp.) and catclaw (Acacia greggii) zone. 

In general, about 45 to 75 percent of the herbage of wolftail is 
grazed when the range is properly utilized. It is usually considered 
a good or very good forage grass. Its main growing season comes 
with the advent of summer rains. The foliage cures well on the 
range, and the semiperennial stems green up quickly and produce 
new growth in the spring when palatability of wolftail is highest. 
On closely grazed ranges it is likely to be utilized yearlong but, on 
conservatively grazed range in mixture with other grasses, it is 
grazed lightly in summer and winter and fairly heavily in the 
spring when it resumes growth. 

Wolftail can be readily distinguished from timothy by the more 
conspicuous awns of its spikelets which give the slender lead-colored 
panicle a hairy appearance. The panicle is also less dense and not 
so rigid and erect as that of timothy. Wolftail is occasionally con- 
fused with spike muhly (Muhlenbergia wrightii), but may be dis- 
tinguished from the latter by its more bristly, wolftail-like panicle. 
The spikelets of wolftail are borne in pairs and fall together en- 
tire, leaving the axis of the panicle (rachis) naked. On the other 
hand, the spikelets of spike muhly are borne singly and the glumes 
remain attached after the seeds fall. Furthermore, spike muhly may 
be distinguished by its rootstocks (rhizomes), which are lacking iii 
wolftail. Wolftail usually flowers in July and August and the 
seeds are disseminated during late September and through October. 


Me'lica bulbo'sa, syn. M. bel'la 

(2 leaves) 

Flower heads (panicles) narrow, erect, 
4 to 6 in. long, densely flowered; 
branches short, stiff, erect, mostly 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 3- 
to 9-flowered, about % in. long, papery 
in age; upper 1 or 2 flowers often 

Outer flower bract (lemma) about K 
in. long, reverse-lance-shaped, 7-nerved, 
beardless (awnless) 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
persistent, somewhat unequal; first 
glume oblong, rounded at tip, thin, 
indistinctly 3- to 5-nerved; second 
glume a little longer than first glume, 
reverse-lance-shaped, slightly rough, 
5- to 7-nerved 

Stalks (culms) erect, usually 1 or 2 
ft. high, single or in tufts, usually bent 
and swollen or bulbous at the base 

Roots fibrous 

Oniongrass, often called purple melic, is a rather tall perennial, 
with the base of the stalks frequently enlarged or swollen into a 
bulblike growth. The common name oniongrass, as well as the 
specific name bulbosa, refer to this basal enlargement. This grass is 
widely distributed, from British Columbia and Alberta southward to 
Colorado, and westward to California. Kecently, it has also been 
definitely reported from western Texas; very possibly it occurs in 
northern Arizona and New Mexico, although no specimens have yet 
been collected in those States. Although growing most luxuriantly 
in the ponderosa pine and spruce-fir zones, this species flourishes 
from sea level to an elevation of 10,000 feet. 

This grass usually grows sparingly in mixed grass, weed or brush 
types, being but rarely abundant and probably never occurring as the 
predominating species. It is commonly associated with big sage- 
brush, needlegrasses, bromegrasses, lupines, and aspen. Oniongrass 
inhabits open sagebrush types, open timber stands, and meadows, 
most of which are exposed to full or moderate sunlight. It thrives 
best on moist, rich, sandy or clay loams of meadows and also in 
dense aspen and moderately dense coniferous timber. This plant 
also does well on the better drained slopes and open sagebrush areas. 
Fairly drought-resistant, it often exists on dry, shallow soils during 
rather protracted periods of dry weather. 

Oniongrass is very palatable to all classes of livestock as well 
as to elk and deer. The herbage is relished during the spring and 
summer, but in the fall the leafage becomes harsh and is not as 
closely cropped. This grass rates as good to excellent forage for 
cattle and horses and good for sheep and elk, being also grazed 
lightly by deer. Horses are especially fond of the seed heads and 
flower stalks. Although oniongrass is widely distributed and ranks 
with the bluegrasses and wheat-grasses in palatabilitj^ its scattered 
growth limits its importance as a forage species. 

This grass produces a relatively small crop of poor seed. Seeds 
tested by Sampson 1 in 1908 germinated only 4 percent; those tested 
the previous year failed completely. Apparently, oniongrass is but 
poorly adapted for the revegetation of depleted ranges. The seed 
usually matures during the latter part of August, but this varies 
considerably with seasons and altitudinal range. Oniongrass grows 
in small, loose clumps consisting of a few slender stems. A single 
clump may produce several "bulbs" which appear in clusters similar 
to small onions. The foliage, however, is rather scant. The narrow 
panicles are from 4 to 6 inches long ; the spikelets are few, purplish 
tinged and often somewhat showy, this being emphasized in the spe- 
cific name betta (a Latin word meaning "pretty ) of the synonym. 
The spikelets and panicle branches are erect; the lemmas, awnless. 
The roots are fibrous and well developed. 

TT. S. Dept. Agr. Bull. 545, G'.i pp., illus. 3917. 

(leaf 2) 


Me'Iica spp. 

The melicgrasses, known individually as melics, a group of peren- 
nials belonging to the fescue tribe (Festuoeae), are closely related 
to the bluegrasses, bromegrasses, and fescues. Melica, an old Ital- 
ian and late Latin name for sorghum, is probably a derivative of 
the Greek mcli (honey), melikcrion (honeycomb), and m'eWcos 
(melic, i. e., lyric, or "sweet-singing" poetry). The name, no doubt, 
refers to the sweet juice or sirup which the ancient Greeks, so the 
story goes, obtained from one of the Old World species. Linnaeus 
later applied the name to this genus of grasses. About 60 species 
of melicgrasses are widely distributed throughout the temperate 
regions of the world ; 17 occur ill the United States, with the center 
of distribution in California, where 13 species appear. 

The melicgrasses grow at all elevations from sea level up to 10,000 
feet, throughout mountain meadows, parks, timbered areas, and 
brushlands. They usually grow scatteringly in mixed grass-weed 
types, being commonly associated with bromegrasses, wheatgrasses, 
sedges, pentstemons, mountain-dandelions and bluebells. These 
species are seldom abundant and probably never become dominant 
in any association. Some of the melicgrasses are widely distributed ; 
others occur rather locally. Oniongrass (M. bulbosa) is probably 
the most widely distributed of the western species. Yosemite onion- 
grass (M. inflata) has a very narrow range, occurring only in Cal- 
ifornia. Although most species prefer the more moist and fertile 
soils of the slopes and timbered areas, some are found on the drier, 
infertile, open side hills, and a few occur even on moist meadows 
or along stream banks. 

California melic (M. imper/ec'tcn) extends from central California 
to Lower California and perhaps also into western Arizona, growing 
from sea level to elevations of 6,500 feet. Although its favored home 
is the open foothills in pine and chaparral types, this plant also 
thrives on moist shaded sites, and is occasionally fairly abundant 
on shallow, infertile soils. In California this species produces a 
greater amount of forage than any other melicgrass. 2 It is rated as 
good to excellent forage for all classes of livestock. Horses and cat- 
tle crop the leafage season long and are especially fond of the flower 
stalks and heads, but sheep usually do not graze the foliage much 
until late fall. This plant has strong seed habits, producing a rela- 
tively large quantity of fertile seed. 

Most melicgrasses are of secondary importance as forage species 
since they occur only scatteringly on the range. However, the herb- 
age of most species is relished by all classes of livestock, as well as by 
elk, and deer often crop these grasses lightly. Several species, 
including oniongrass, showy oniongrass, or melic (M. spectaibilis), 
and little oniongrass (M. fugo)x}, rank as good to excellent forage 
for cattle and horses, and good for sheep and elk. Oniongrass and 

2 Sampson, A. W., and Chase, A. RANGE GRASSES OP CALIFORNIA. Calif. Aer. Expt. 
Sta. Kull. 430, 94 pp., illus. 1927. 

showy oniongrass are probably the two most important range forage 
species of this genus in the West, being more widespread and usually 
somewhat more abundant than their sister species. 

These perennial grasses are only moderately resistant to drought 
but withstand grazing fairly well. They usually produce limited 
amounts of rather large seed. Many of the melicgrasses, such as the 
native three-flower melic (M. nitens) and Porter melic (M. porteri}, 
are rather ornamental, with large and handsome panicles, which 
wave back and forth in the wind ; their spikelets are large, often lus- 
trous, and richly colored. The melicgrasses usually grow in dense 
or loose clumps, with simple stalks. The rather large, two- to sev- 
eral-flowered, tawny or purplish spikelets characteristically bear 
from one to three sterile flowers in the form of empty, club-shaped 
lemmas more or less rolled up within each other. The glumes are 
large, unequal, papery, with thin transparent margins and three to 
five, usually prominent nerves. The lemmas may be either mem- 
branous or firm but have thin, translucent edges, and are either awn- 
less or else awned from between the forked apex. This group of 
plants is distinguished from its allied genera by the thin, transpar- 
ent (scarious) margins of the glumes and lemmas, the closed leaf 
sheaths, and the hooded or club-shaped sterile lemmas. The awned 
species of Melica closely resemble some species of Bronws. 


Muhlenber'gia spp., syn. Epicam'pes spp. 

The large genus of the redtop tribe (Agrostideae) includes nu- 
merous perennial and a small number of annual grasses widely 
distributed in both Americas and parts of Asia. It is especially 
typical of the Mexican plateau and of the Southwestern States, 
where it is represented by more species than any other grass genus. 
With very few exceptions, species of this genus do not grow in pure 
stands over extensive areas but are usually scattered over a wide 
variety of types and soils. Their altitudinal distribution extends 
from low deserts to high subalpine parks and timbered areas. In 
this country they are important in the Southwest, the southern parts 
of Nevada and Utah, and in southern and central Colorado, where 
several species often occur in some abundance. Over the remainder 
of the western rangeland the muhly grasses occur sparsely and but 
few species are of economic importance. 

The palatability of the muhly grasses varies greatly with the dif- 
ferent species. Bush muhly (M. porteri), at one time a very abun- 
dant species of the Southwest, is so highly palatable year-long 
that it has been largely killed out by overuse. Spike muhly (M. 
wricfhtii) is one of the choice grasses wherever it occurs but is rather 
limited in abundance. Mountain muhly (M. montana) is fairly 
good forage and abounds on many southwestern mountain ranges 
to the extent that it rates as one of the most important local for- 
age species. Many other perennial species are small, produce but 
little foliage and are only fair forage. The annuals are poor or 
almost worthless as forage. Muhlies are chiefly valuable for spring 
and summer use because the palatability of most species decreases 
greatly as the plants attain maturity. 

The roots of a Mexican species (M. macroura, syn. Eplcampes 
macroura) , known as Mexican broomroot or Mexican whisk, are used 
in making brushes and are exported from Vera Cruz to Europe for 
this purpose. 1 After the roots are cut for brush making the tops 
are thrown away, and an experimental study has shown that 
the dried leaves and stems (straw) of this grass offer promising 
possibilities in the manufacture of paper. 2 

Several rather fine distinctions separate these grasses from their 
close relatives. They have small, one-flowered spikelets (?'. e., each 
floAver and "seed" is borne singly). The narrow outer flower scale 
(lemma) closely envelops the grain and is 3- to 5-nerved, firm and 
sharp-pointed or tipped with a fine beard (awn). This awn, when 
present, is securely attached but not twisted. The lowest two-flower 
bracts (glumes) are usually shorter or about equal to the lemma 
(awned tips longer in M. racemosa) and remain attached to the 
stem after the seed falls. Some of the muhly grasses are often con- 
fused with species of dropseed (/Sporobolus) , ricegrass (Oryzopsis), 

1 Lamson-Scribner, P. ECONOMIC GRASSES. U. S. Dept. Agr., Div. Agrost. Bull. 14, 
rev., 85 pp., illus. 1900. 

2 Brnnd, C. J.. and Merrill, J. L. ZACATON AS A PAPER-MAKING MATERIAL. U. S. Dept. 
Agr. Bull. 309, 28 pp., illus. 1915. 

and certain needlegrasses (Stipa). They may be distinguished from 
dropseeds by their "seeds", which are closely enfolded by the firm 
outer flower scales (lemma and palea). The "seeds" of dropseeds, on 
the other hand, are free from the lemmas and paleas and loose within 
the outer "seed" coats (pericarps). Also the lemmas of the muhly 
grasses have short bristles (awns) or are sharp-pointed while the 
lemmas of dropseeds are awnless and blunt. Ricegrasses have a 
rather large, firm, hardened "seed" with an awn which readily falls 
from the "seed" when nature, separating at a joint at the apex of the 
lemma. Needlegrasses may be readily distinguished from the muhly 
grasses by their twisted and usually bent awns and by the pointed 
bearded base (callus) of the "seed." 

The genus commemorates Rev. Dr. Gotthilf Heinrich Ernst 
Muhlenberg (1753-1815), an American clergyman and botanist, who 
wrote the first treatise on American grasses. Dr. Muhlenberg was 
a member of an unusually distinguished Pennsylvania family. His 
father, H. M. Miihlenberg, was the founder of the Lutheran Church 
in this country. His brother, Gen. J. P. G. Muhlenberg was second 
in command to Lafayette at the siege of Yorktown and is celebrated 
in American history for doffing his ecclesiastical garb in the pulpit, 
at the outset of the Revolution, revealing his colonel's uniform 
underneath and marching off to battle with nearly 300 members of 
his congregation. Another brother, F. A. C. Muhlenberg, was the 
first Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. 



Muhlenber'gia montan'a, syns. "M. gra'cilis", 1 M. tri'ttda 

Flower head (panicle) narrow, spikelike, loose, 
somewhat 1-sided 

-Individual flower groups (spikelets) 1-flow- 
ered, borne along the length of the flower-head 

, I 

V. *"~ Outer flower bract (lemma) 3-veined, longer 
V and firmer than glumes, tipped with a slender, 
straight or bent but not tvyisted, persistent 
bristle (awn) from % to % in. long, tightly 
enclosing the "seed" as it develops 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) oblong, 
nearly equal in size, persistent after grain has 
fallen; 2d, or upper, glume 3-toothed 

Stalks (culms) tufted at base, unbranched, 
usually erect, up to 24 in. high, leafy 

Leaves mostly basal, narrow, rather rigid, 
inrolled, sharp-pointed; sheaths very broad at 
base, papery, loose from stalks 

Roots fibrous; underground rootstocks lacking 

>Of II. S. authors, not (H. B. K.) Trin. 

Mountain muhly, also known as mountain bunchgrass and pine 
bunchgrass, is a bright green, perennial grass growing in very dense 
bunches, commonly 4 to 12 inches in diameter. It ranges from 
Wyoming to California and western Texas and south into Mexico. 

The common habitat of this bunchgrass is under open ponderosa 
pine and in dry parks, parklike draws, and open hillsides of the 
ponderosa pine and spruce-fir belts, where it sometimes grows 
abundantly and becomes the dominant herbaceous plant. Its main 
altitudinal distribution is between about 7,000 ancl 10,000 feet, al- 
though it sometimes grows even higher, and not infrequently also at 
considerably lower elevations where moisture and temperature con- 
ditions are. propitious for its growth. This species occurs on all 
slopes. Its soil preferences are varied, from dry adobe clays to 
black loams, but it is especially characteristic of gravelly or sandy 
loams. Mountain muhly apparently thrives on soils of both granitic 
and limestone formation. It is often associated with pine dropseed 
(Blepkaronewon tricholepis) , Arizona fescue (Festwca) arizcmica} , 
blue grama (Boutelvw gracilis}, needlegrasses (Stip spp.), and 
wild-daisies (Erigeron spp.). 

In general, the palatability of mountain muhly is fairly good, but 
it is grazed chiefly while the foliage is young and succulent. The 
leaves become rather less tender at maturity and are not relished as 
much as some of the better grasses. If grazed closely, it retains a 
fairly high palatability throughout the growing season. All classes 
of livestock graze it freely if more palatable species are not avail- 
able. The large volume of foliage produced enhances its value. 
Because of its great abundance this grass is the most important 
species in the higher ponderosa pine types in many areas of the 
Southwest and Colorado. 

Mountain muhly is a long-lived grass, with rhizomelike roots well 
adapted to withstand grazing. An abundance of seed is produced 
and since, because of the awns, the seed heads are not generally eaten 
by livestock, satisfactory reproduction is favored. The usual flower- 
ing period is July and August, though the plants occasionally head 
out before the middle of June. Seed is usually disseminated by the 
end of October, or the period may begin as early as August or ex- 
tend into November. Mountain muhly is easily distinguished from 
other muhlenbergias upon close examination since it is the only 
native muhly with a three-toothed second glume. 



Muhlenber'gia por'teri 

Flower head (panicle) open, much 
branched, the branches fine, long, 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) : 
1-flowered, borne at the tips of flower- 
head branches 

Outer flower bract (lemma) 3-nerved, 
longer than glumes, tipped with a 
straight or wavy but not twisted, slen- 
der, persistent bristle (awn) % to % in. 
long, in age closely enclosing " seed " 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
thinj 1-veined, narrow, sharp-pointed, 
persistent after grain has fallen 

Leaves up to 2 in. long, narrow, 
finely pointed 

Stalks (culms) freely branching, with 
prominent joints (nodes), wiry, some- 
what sprawling, up to 2 ft. long, knotty 
at the base 

Roots coarse, fibrous, somewhat 

Bush rnulily, a perennial, also known as bush grass, has a variety 
of other local names. It is frequently called black grama in grazing 
literature, although it is neither a grama nor a close relative of the 
grarna grasses. The names bush muhly and bush grass allude to 
its characteristic habit of growing under the protection, of shrubs. 
It is sometimes called mesquite grass because of its occurrence under 
mesquite. Still another name is hoe grass, arising from the fact that 
when it was plentiful early pioneers hoed it for horse feed. 

Bush muhly occurs from Colorado to California and Texas and 
south into Mexico. It is a desert plant, inhabiting the dry mesas 
and foothills under mesquite (Prosopis spp.), catclaw (Acacia gveg- 
ffii}, Wright buckwheatbrush (Erwyonuin wrightii), cactus, and 
other shrubs. Although, at least nowadays, characteristically a 
"brush grass" because of heavy grazing, it occasionally grows in the 
open, especially on ungrazed areas. In Arizona and New Mexico 
it occurs in the lower plains and foothills below 5,000 feet, but in 
Colorado it is occasionally found as high as 6,500 feet. 

This grass is highly palatable to all classes of livestock. It re- 
mains green most of the year (yearlong, if sufficient moisture is 
available) which makes it especially palatable in the winter and 
before the summer rains start when other grasses are dry. Studies 
on the Santa Rita experimental range, southern Arizona, indicate 
that, on conservatively grazed ranges, bush muhly is utilized chiefly 
between December 1 and July 1 ; on heavily grazed range, however, 
it is eagerly sought yearlong. Cattle will force their way into the 
brush to graze it. It is now found only in scattered stands and 
almost entirely under partial protection of shrubs, but according to 
early pioneers it was formerly one of the most abundant and impor- 
tant grasses of southern Arizona and New Mexico. 1 Prof. Thornber 
states : 

The early settlers stoutly maintain that in the pioneer days of stock ranch- 
ing in southern Arizona black grama (i. e., Muhlenbergia porteri) and crowfoot 
grama were the all important mesa grasses ; and that the former species grew 
in such abundance among shrubs and mesquite, and to some extent in the 
open, that with a few minutes work one could gather enough to feed a team 
of horses overnight. They also state that it disappeared rapidly as the country 
filled up with stock. 

It is increasing slowly on some conservatively used ranges but is 
easily killed out by heavy grazing and lacks the necessary vigor and 
aggressiveness to cope successfully with present-day range condi- 
tions and requirements. 

Bush muhly is a perennial, with many weak, much branched, leafy 
stems. When ungrazed it sometimes forms 'a tangled, leafy mass 
1 to 3 feet high and iy 2 to 3 feet in diameter, with the lower parts 
of the slender stems resting on the ground. The stems are partly 
perennial and do not die down entirely during the winter, and new 
spring growth starts from near the base of the previous year's stems. 
It is, therefore, a grass undershrub. The stems are often bent at 
the joints, knotty at the base, and support a fine, many-branched, 
usually loosely drooping, purplish panicle 2 to 4 inches long. 

r. ari J ' J " THE GRAZING RANGES OF ARIZONA. Ariz. AgT. Expt. Sta. Bull. 65 : 

[245]-360, illus. 1910. 



Muhlenber'gia squarro'sa, syn. M. richardso' nis 

Flower heads (panicles) narrow, contracted, 
often spikelike, }{ to 4 in. long 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 1-flow- 
ered, flattened sidewise 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) broad, 
pointed, 1-veined, persistent 

Outer flower bract (lemma) about twice as 
long as and firmer than the glumes, lance- 
shaped, pointed or short-bristled (awned) at 
tip, hairless 

Inner flower bract (palea) 2-nerved; "seed," 
or grain closely enfolded by lemma and palea 

Stalks (culms) erect, up to 20 in. high, some- 
what spreading at base and bent at joints 
(nodes), more or less flattened 

Bract (ligule) at union of leaf blade and 
sheath, membranous, up to }{s in. long 

Leaves short (up to 2} in. long), narrow; 
upper leaves often inrolling; sheaths loose 

Rootstocks slender, extensive, scaly, straw- 

Roots fibrous 

Mat muhly is usually a low, dull-green, perennial grass growing 
in scattered, dense carpetlike or matlike patches. The specific name 
squarrosa refers to the squarrose (i. e., crowded, rigid, and somewhat 
spreading) leaves. It occurs in all of the 11 far-western range States. 
This species is widely known as dwarf muhly but the name mat 
muhly is preferable, especially in view of the Standardized Plant 
Names rule to* restrict the word "dwarf" to horticultural varieties 
or forms dwarfed by plant breeders. Through the central Rockies 
and southward mat muhly is typically a small grass growing in dry 
meadows, parks, and open flats in the ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, 
and spruce-fir belts, occasionally extending down into the sagebrush 
flats. Needlegrasses (Stipa spp.), bluegrasses (Poa spp.), mountain 
muhly (Mibhlenbergia montana), western yarrow (Achillea lanu- 
l&sa) , pussytoes (Antennaria spp.), and cinquefoils (Potentilla spp.) 
are common associates. In Montana and the Northwest ic usually 
grows much more luxuriantly and occurs from the grass plains up to 
the high meadows and grasslands at elevations up to 10,000 feet or 
somewhat higher, associated with other grasses, sedges, and weeds. 
Although it occasionally grows on coarse rocky soils, it is usually 
restricted to the better sandy, gravelly, or clay loams. It also occurs 
to some extent on alkaline soils. 

Mat muhly is usually found in scattered patches and is seldom 
sufficiently abundant in any one locality to be of great importance. 
Mat muhly withstands heavy grazing well because of its sod-forming 
habit. Ordinarily, the plant is rather stemmy in its southern range 
and produces only a small amount of foliage which, while young, is 
eaten readily by livestock but becomes less palatable at maturity. 
It is rated as good to very good forage in its northern range for 
cattle and horses and fairly good for sheep. On the Northern Plains 
it cures well on the ground and is grazed freely by all classes of live- 
stock, especially during winter, 

In Colorado mat muhly is sometimes abundant on heavily grazed 
bottomlands where gully erosion has lowered the water table and 
impaired soil fertility to such an extent that the sites have become 
unfavorable for the bluegrasses and other grasses which formerly 
occupied those areas. In such cases, mat muhly is a useful soil 
binder, although inferior to the previous cover. The usual flowering 
period of mat muhly is July and August and the seeds are dissemi- 
nated mainly in August and September. 

Mat muhly has fine creeping rootstocks and many inrolled, basal 
and stem leaves one-half to 2^ inches long. The numerous stems 
are wiry, commonly bent at the joints (especially the basal joints) 
and are usually 3 to 8 inches long, although sometimes as long as 
16 or rarely 24 inches. The panicle is narrow and about 2 to 4 
inches long sometimes shorter, with very few flowers. 



Muhlenber'gia tor'reyi, syn. M. gracil'lima 

Flower head (panicle) open, with long, spread- 
ing, very slender branches; ultimate branches 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 1-flow- 
ered, somewhat flattened 

Outer {lower bract (lemma) firm, tipped by 
slender bristle (awn) about }( in. long; "seed" 
(caryopsis) closely enfolded by lemma, firm 
but not hard, not cylindrical 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) shorter 
than lemma, unequal, persistent; 2d glume 
longer, awn-pointed 

Stalks (culms) somewhat spreading and 
branched at base, slender, rigid, erect, up to 20 
in. high, simple above 

Leaves mostly basal, up to 4 in. long, strongly 
curved, densely matted, inrolled, finely pointed 

Kootstocks slender, creeping, perennial 

Roots fibrous, perennial 

i Growth habit showing characteristic ring for- 

Ring mulily, also called ring grass, and ticklegrass, get it com- 
mon names from its unusual and characteristic growth habit. As 
each tuft enlarges, the center dies, leaving a border of tufted grass 
2 to 4 inches wide which forms a ring 6 to 18 inches (sometimes a 
few feet) in diameter. The species occurs from Colorado and Kan- 
sas to Texas and Arizona, being most abundant in New Mexico, 
Arizona, and southwestern Colorado. It grows mainly on plains 
and mesas in the woodland and ponderosa pine zones at elevations of 
4,000 to 8,500 feet, but may ascend to 10,000 feet. This grass ap- 
parently prefers sandy or clay loams, although it occurs on coarse 
gravelly or rocky sites and will even grow on soils somewhat impreg- 
nated with gypsum. Blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis}, three-awns 
(Aristida spp.), snakeweeds (Gutierrezia, spp.), and miscellaneous 
weeds are common associates of ring muhly. 

The abundance of ring muhly on some ranges of Colorado, New 
Mexico, and Arizona, coupled with the fair palatability of the plant 
while young and succulent make it of considerable importance. It 
sometimes comes in abundantly on overgrazed range as the more 
palatable plants are killed out and also in dogtown areas. Under 
such conditions, it is regarded as an indicator of range deteriora- 
tion or soil disturbance an indicator easily identified because of its 
ring formation. In. the absence of a satisfactory stand of the better 
grasses ring muhly may partially substitute as a protective soil cover 
until the more desirable species are reestablished. Range manage- 
ment on ring muhly areas should favor the rehabilitation of the 
better species since ring muhly produces only a small volume of 
rather wiry foliage per plant and its season of usefulness as forage 
is short, the leaves becoming somewhat tough and unpalatable at 
maturity. After midsummer the plant is rated as poor forage. The 
seed, which usually matures by August, is produced in abundance 
and, as the fruiting heads are unpalatable, is ordinarily left to 
mature and to extend the stand. 

Ring muhly leaves are 1 to 4 inches long and form dense, some- 
what curly tufts. The stems are slender, erect, usually dark, and 
about 4 to 20 inches high. The panicle is 2 to 9 inches long, open 
and spreading, and brownish purple, with numerous "seeds" on very 
fine, wavy branches. The "seeds" are purplish, one-sixteenth to one- 
eighth of an inch long, and tipped with a very fine awn as long or 
even twice as long as the "seeds." 



Muhlenber'gia wrigh'tii 

Flower heads (spikelike panicles) narrow, 
lead-colored, somewhat blunt at tips, some- 
times densely flowered, sometimes lax, up to 4 
in. long and % in. wide 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 1-flow- 
ered, flattened 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) about 
equal in length, 1-veined, bristle-(awn-) pointed, 

Outer flower bract (lemma) longer and firmer 
than glumes, blackish toward tip, with short 
(usually less than # 8 in. long), straight, per- 
sistent awn 

Inner flower bract (palea) 2-nerved; "seed," 
or grain, closely enfolded by lemma and palea 

Stalks (culms) erect, or somewhat spreading 
at base, up to 30 in. tall, kafy, somewhat 
flattened, smooth 

Leaves narrow (less than % in. wide), up to 
4 in. long, sharp-pointed, slightly rough to 
touch; sneaths often purplish near joints 
of stalks 

Rootstocks short, inconspicuous, scaly, under- 

Roots fibrous 

Spike muhly, a tufted perennial grass, is also known as timothy- 
like muhly, Wright (or black) muhly, black-timothy, wild-timothy, 
and deergrass. It occurs in southwestern Colorado, Arizona, New 
Mexico, and Mexico. This species grows scatteringly through browse, 
woodland, and ponderosa pine types at elevations ranging from 
about 5,500 to 9,000 feet, but is more common and abundant in 
semidry meadows, parks, and flats in the upper woodland and 
ponderosa pine zones. It is adapted to widely varying moisture 
conditions, being found near springs and in moist depressions as 
well as on dry rocky ridges. It occurs on all slopes with soil pref- 
erences ranging from moist clay to gravelly or rocky sites, but is 
more characteristic of sandy or clay loams. Mountain muhly (M. 
montana), side-oats grama (Bouteloua cu7'tipendula) , blue grama 
(B. gracilis), and pine dropseed (Blepharoneuron tricholepis) are 
among its most common associates. 

Spike muhly is relished by all classes of livestock and is one of 
the most palatable members of its genus. It produces a fairly large 
amount of foliage which is grazed freely. Although it is abundant 
only on small localized areas, this species is common throughout the 
Southwest and, in the aggregate, produces a considerable amount of 
forage. The short rootstocks provide a limited means of reproduc- 
tion and aid materially in perpetuating the species. Seed, however, 
is the chief means of reproduction and should be allowed to mature 
occasionally. Spike muhly is valued for its soil-binding qualities, 
especially on untimbered sites. 

The common names spike muhly, timothy-like muhly, black-tim- 
othy, and wild-timothy have originated from the characteristic 
flower head, which resembles the head of timothy somewhat although 
it is darker, and does not usually form a continuous cylinder, but 
is often broken and with the short branches sometimes slightly 
spreading. The stems are somewhat flattened, usually erect, and 
form a noticeably stiff stubble. 



Oryzop'sis hymenoi'des, syns. O. cuspida'ta, Erioco'ma cuspida'ta, E. 


Flower head (panicle) very 
loose, G to 12 in. long; branches 
in pairs, widely and stiffly 
spreading; ultimate branchlets 
hnirlike, slightly zigzag or \v avy, 
bending in opposite directions 

Stalks (culms) 1 to 2 ft. tall, 
erect, rigid, tufted 

Leaves slender, G to 15 in. 
long, flat or inrolled, stiff, 
smooth or somewhat harsh to 
the touch, very numerous 

Individual flower groups (spike- 
lets) 1-flowered, solitary at 
slightly enlarged ends of forked 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts 
(glumes) persistent, equal }'\ 
to % in. long, broad, rounded on 
back, with long, taper-pointed, 
somewhat spreading tips, thin 
and papery, 3- or 5-nerved, 
minutely downy 

Roots fibrous, numerous, deep, 

Outer flower bract (lemma) 
about % as long as glumes, firm, 
hardened, broadly oval, 
bearded (awned) at tip, almost 
black at maturity, densely 
hairy; hairs erect, white, silky, 
exceeding lemmas; awn simple, 
straight, up to % in. long, break- 
ing off at maturity ; inner flower 
bract (palea) enclosed by edges 
of lemma 

Indian ricegrass is one of the most important forage grasses on the western 
desert and semidesert ranges. This hardy, densely tufted perennial is also 
commonly known as Indian mountain-rice, and is locally called Indian millet, 
sandgrass, sandrice, and silkygrass. It belongs to the redtop tribe (Agrosti- 
deae) and is the only one of about 13 species of Oryzopsis in the United States 
to occur in sufficient abundance and wide distribution on the western ranges 
to be of outstanding importance. 

Indian ricegrass is widely distributed over the Western States, ranging from 
British Columbia southward on the east side of the Cascade and Sierra Nevada 
Mountains to southern California, and Mexico, and eastward to Texas, the 
Dakotas, and Manitoba. This species is one of the most drought-enduring of 
the native range grasses. It characteristically grows on dry sandy soils, some- 
times even in sand dunes ; hence the local name sandgrass. This grass reaches 
its highest development from the low-lying desert ranges up through the piilon- 
juniper belt where it grows in association with black sagebrush (Artemisia 
nova), blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis), galleta (Hilaria jamesii), and species 
of wheatgrass, needlegrass, and three-awn. It is also commonly associated 
with the two shrubby species, winterfat (Eurotia lanuta) and shadscale (Atri- 
plex conferti folia) , which indicates that it is at least moderately tolerant to 
alkaline conditions. This species is not confined to desert ranges, however, 
as it also appears scatteringly on the higher grassy plains, in the wheatgrass 
or sagebrush types on the foothills, exposed ridges, and dry sandy or rocky 
mountain slopes. It has been collected at elevations ranging up to about 
10,000 feet in Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico. At these higher elevations 
it almost invariably occurs on dry, open, southerly exposures under full sunlight. 

This grass formerly grew abundantly over many of the desert ranges in the 
West. It sometimes formed almost pure stands and old-timers tell how this 
and associated grasses grew like fields of grain and furnished excellent graz- 
ing throughout the winter. The early freighters found that Indian ricegrass 
was the prevalent grass of the desert region of western Utah and valued it 
highly as a forage plant. Over much of its range Indian ricegrass has largely 
disappeared in the wake of destructive grazing but dead rootcrowns of this 
grass found on the winter ranges give evidence of its former profusion. At 
the present time, Indian ricegrass grows in abundance on some areas which 
have been ungrazed or conservatively grazed because of inaccessibility to 
livestock or because of their remoteness from watering places. It is now one 
of the commonest and most important grasses on some of the semidesert lands 
in the Columbia Basin in eastern Washington where it is locally called Quincy 

On winter range areas, Indian ricegrass is highly palatable to all classes of 
livestock, being rated as good to very good for sheep as well as for cattle and 
horses. The individual plants produce an abundance of herbage which cures 
exceptionally well on the stalk and is very nutritious. The plump seeds aro 
likewise high in food value and are sought after by grazing animals. Stock- 
men regard this plant highly as a winter feed and seek out the prized areas 
upon which it grows. They call it a "warm feed" because of its high value for 
sustaining livestock during severe winter weather. Growth begins early in 
the spring and the tender green leafage is eagerly eaten by livestock during 
the early part of the growing season. Indian ricegrass is of only minor 
importance on the mountainous summer ranges. This is due to its scattered 
occurrence, relative scarcity, and the fact that it is usually not eaten so 
readily on mountain grazing lands as on the arid winter ranges. On the 
former it is generally rated as fairly good to very good for cattle and horses, 
and poor to fairly good for sheep. 

This species produces an abundance of plump, oval seeds which supposedly 
resemble the seeds of common rice. This resemblance explains both the com- 
mon name and the generic name Oryzopsis, which is taken from the Greek 
words oruza, rice, and opsis, appearance. The nutritious seeds of this species 
were formerly one of the food staples of many western Indians ; hence the com- 
mon name, Indian ricegrass. Indians ground the seeds into meal or flour 
which was made into bread. This food was held in high esteem by the Zuni 
Indians of New Mexico who ate the ground seeds alone or mixed them with 
cornmeal. They gathered large amounts of the seed for winter provisions 
especially when their farm crops failed. 1 

1 Stevenson. M. C. ETHNOBOTANY OP THE zuxi INDIANS. U. S. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. 
Ann. Kept. (190S-9) HO :. '{3-102, illus. 1915. 



Pa'nicum spp. 

Panicum, the largest of all grass genera, includes approximately 500 species, 
distributed chiefly in the warmer regions of both hemispheres. Hitchcock 
and Chase 1 list 157 species and 5 varieties as occurring in the United States, 
with the center of distribution in the Southeast. Although about 30 species 
grow in the 11 far Western States only 1 species, cushion witchgrass (P. barbi- 
p-ulvina' 'turn) , occurs in all the Western States. The panic grasses are more 
typical of the warmer parts of the West, with approximately 17 species 
occurring in both Arizona and New Mexico, and 13 in California. The number 
of species found in the other Western States is considerably less, Utah having 
seven ; Nevada, six ; Colorado, five ; Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, 
four each ; and Wyoming, three. 

In the range country, the panicgrasses are more common and abundant 
in the Southwest, where they are of material importance as range plants, 
although abundantly only in local areas. The panicgrasses vary in palatability 
from practically worthless to good or even, in some instances, very good. In 
general, the larger species become coarse and tough as they approach maturity, 
and are chiefly valuable as spring and early summer forage, while the growth 
is still succulent and tender. The palatability of the western species, as a 
whole, probably averages fair to fairly good for cattle and horses, and poor 
to fair for sheep and goats, at least for spring and early summer use. 

The panic grasses belong to the millet tribe (Paniceae), Panicum being the 
Latin name for millet. For the most part, members of the Panicum genus 
are easily recognized, as the stalks of the individual flower group (spikelets) 
are jointed below the lower two spikelet bracts (glumes), so that the entire 
spikelet falls intact. Furthermore, the glumes are usually very unequal, the 
lower one being generally about half as long as the second. However, in 
some .speciesi, the lower glume is minute and, in a very few instances, is 
nearly as long as the second glume. The spikelets usually appear to be one- 
flowered, but actually are two-flowered, as in addition to an upper seed-pro- 
ducing flower, a more or less rudimentary flower consisting of a bract, known 
as the sterile lemma, also occurs and often encloses a male flower. The 
sterile lemma is generally about as long as the upper glume. The leaves are 
mostly flat, frequently hairy, and often have broad, heart-shaped bases, al- 
though this feature is variable. The heads vary from broad and open to narrow 
and spikelike panicles or (more rarely) are spikelike racemes. Some of the 
panic grasses merit special discussion. 

A recent importation from Australia (P. antidota'le), which looks something 
like Johnson grass, is palatable, and will thrive under almost drought condi- 
tions. The plant is still in the experimental stage, but looks very promising, 
especially in connection with erosion-control work in the Southwest." 

Maidencane (P. digitarioi'des, syn. P. wal'teri), native from Delaware to 
Florida and Texas, is used extensively in the southeastern United States as a 
binder along railway embankments. An aquatic or semiaquatie with exten- 
sively creeping rootstocks, it sometimes becomes a pest in cultivated lands. 

Guinea grass (P. maa'imum), a native of Africa, is one of the most famous 
of all tropical grasses. This long-lived perennial was early introduced into 
the West Indies, incidentally with the slave trade. Piper 3 reports that it 
was introduced as early asi 1756 into Jamaica and even then called Guinea 
grass. In the United States it is adapted for cultivation only to a narrow 
strip, extending from Florida to southern California. It has become naturalized 
in some localities, especially in Florida. It probably has little potential value 
as a western range grass. Under irrigation, in the warmer parts of the South- 
west and California, Guinea grass probably would be a valuable forage crop, 
as six to eight cuttings a year of excellent hay can be made. 

1 Hitchcock, A. S., and Chase, A. THE NORTH AMERICAN SPECIES OF PANICUM. U. S. 
Natl. Mus., Contrib. U. S. Natl. Herbarium 15, 396 pp., illus. 1910. 

Clip Sheet 878 : 2. 1935. 

Farmers' Bull. 1433, 42 pp., illus. 1925. 

Proso (P. milia'ceum), also called broomcorn millet and hog millet, is con- 
sidered the type species of the genus, and is believed to have been the first 
cereal cultivated by man. Although not a range grass, proso is an excellent 
soiling crop, yields fair forage, and the grain is good poultry and hog feed. 4 

Para grass (P. purpuras' cens, syn. P. barbino'de), a perennial, probably 
native to South America, is cultivated in Florida, and is coming into increasing 
prominence in Texas and the Gulf Coast region, usually being propagated by 
runner cuttings. It is adaptable to moist places where the temperature does 
not drop below about 18 F., makes good hay and pasture, and is especially 
valuable for planting pond margins and in soils which are too wet for the 
cultivation of other crops. 6 Its possibilities of use in the far West, however, 
seem to be limited to wet sites and those where irrigation is available. 

Among the paniegrasses native to the western range States, bulb panic- 
grass (P. bulbo'sum) and vine-mesquite (P. obtu'sum) are probably the most 
important and are discussed in detail elsewhere in this handbook. The eight 
species noted below are probably the most outstanding of the others. 

Arizona panicgrass (P. arizo'nicum), an annual from 8 to 24 inches tall, 
with branching stems bent at the base and frequently rooting at the joints, 
occurs from Florida to Texas, Mexico, and southern California. The leaves 
are rounded at the base, hairless on both surfaces and rough beneath. This 
species has good palatability and occurs in sufficient abundance in Arizona 
to be of some local importance. 

Cushion witchgrass (P. barbipulvina'tum,) and witchgrass (P. capilla're) 
are very similar annuals, the former being more common in the West. Cushion 
witchgrass tends to be smaller, but otherwise is much like witchgrass, which is 
a variable species from 8 to 32 inches high, with large, open, purplish heads 
partially included in the upper leaf sheath until maturity. At maturity, the 
numerous fine branches of the heads are widely spreading, and bear long- 
stalked spikelets near their ends. The entire head of the plant commonly 
breaks off and is rolled about by the wind. Witchgrass is widely distributed 
in the East and central United States and occurs in Montana, Colorado, and 
California, possibly as an extension of its range. These two annuals have 
about the same palatability and are practically worthless to poor forage after 
the heads develop. In the spring, before the heads develop, these grasses gen- 
erally rate as poor to fair or possibly fairly good forage, although in some 
localities 1 , especially in the Southwest, they occupy somewhat higher rank. 

Pacific panicgrass (P. paci'ficum), the commonest species of the genus in 
California, occurs on sandy shores and slopes and in moist crevices in rocks. 
It ranges northward to Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. During springtime, 
this perennial has erect, light-green stems, but, by autumn, the stems become 
prostrate-spreading and repeatedly branched from the upper and middle stem 
joints. This species is probably of at least fair palatability, although usually 
of negligible forage value, because of its limited occurrence. 

Scribner panicgrass (P. scribncria'num), a widely distributed perennial, 
commonest in the Mississippi Valley, but ranging from Maine to Washington 
and from the District of Columbia through Tennessee, Arkansas, and Texas to 
California, is a palatable and nutritious grass but seldom is sufficiently abun- 
dant to be of importance on the western ranges. 

Switchgrass (P. virga'tum) occurs in every State east of the Mississippi 
River and westward to southern Manitoba, southern Saskatchewan, eastern 
Montana, eastern Nevada, Arizona, and western Texas, and southward, through 
Mexico, to Central America. This grass is common and productive, especially 
on sandy, loose soils, in the Central States. It is occasionally cultivated both 
for pasture and hay but is more valuable as hay. In the Southwest switch- 
grass occurs mainly along stream banks, in moist valleys, canyons, moist up- 
lands, and near tanks and pools but is seldom common in the mountains. 
Northward it has the reputation of producing but few leaves and is too rare 
to be of much importance as a range plant. This species, although palatable 
when young, is practically worthless as forage at maturity when the stems 
become hard. It is an erect, often purplish tinged perennial, from 2 to 5 feet 
high, with numerous, scaly, creeping rootstocks, and is an excellent soil binder. 

4 Martin, J. H. PROSO, OK HOG MILLET. TT. S. Dent. Agr. Farmers' Bull. 1162, 15 r>P , 
illus. 1020. 

5 Piper, C. V. IMPORTANT CULTIVATED GKASSES. U. S. Dent. Ag r . Farmors' Bull 
1254, .",S pi)., illus. 1021'. 



Pa'nicum bulbo'sum 

Flower head (panicle) open, 8 to 25 
in. long, with single or clustered, wavy, 
ascending or somewhat spreading 
branches, long-exserted from top leaf 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 
commonly purplish, about }'% in. long, 
hairless, somewhat pointed at tip, 2- 
flowered; lower flower imperfect; upper 
flower perfect 

Leaves 8 to 24 in. long and # to nearly 
M in. wide, flat, erect or ascending, 
somewhat harsh, especially on upper 
surface, often hairy near base 

Stalks (culms) tufted, erect, 3 to 7 ft. 
high, stout, smooth, with hard, bulblike 
enlargements (".conns") at base 

Roots fibrous, strong 

Imperfect flower reduced to a 5- 
nerved bract (sterile lemma) which 
rarely encloses a male flower 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
very unequal, both falling with "seed"; 
1st, usually 3-nerved, about M as long 
as 5-nerved 2d glume 

Outer flower bract (lemma) about as 
long as spikelet, soon folded around 
"seed", transversely wrinkled 

Bulb panicgrass, thus named from the hard, bulblike enlarge- 
ments, or corms at the bases of the stems, is one of the common 
perennial panicgrasses of the Southwest, occurring typically in 
moist canyons and valleys and in cultivated fields from Arizona and 
New Mexico to western Texas and Mexico. It is found chiefly in the 
upper woodland and ponderosa pine belts and, while usually of 
scattered occurrence, is at times locally abundant. 

On the Coronado National Forest in southern Arizona where this 
species occurs extensively in pure stands, the grass ranks as good 
forage, being grazed by cattle and horses from July to December. 
Generally, it is considered fairly good to good forage for all classes 
of livestock during the spring and early summer while the growth 
is still young and tender. Toward fall, however, it becomes coarse 
and tough, and is little grazed. In localities where bulb panicgrass 
grows in dense stands it is sometimes cut for hay. The hay is of good 
quality although bulky and light in weight. The species flourishes 
and produces valuable hay crops even on alkaline soils. It is one of 
the few hay plants which yield well on such soils. 

Bulb .panicgrass is, unfortunately, sometimes known as alkali 
sacaton, and because of that fact is probably sometimes confused 
with true alkali sacaton (Sporobolus airoides). Although bulb panic- 
grass is commonly a taller, coarser grass than alkali sacaton and has 
longer heads and wider leaves, size is not always the acceptable dis- 
tinction between the two because the smaller specimens of bulb panic- 
grass are not so large as the sizable forms of alkali sacaton. Bulb 
panicgrass, however, is readily recognizable by the cormlike swell- 
ings at the base of the hollow stems, and because the spikelets fall 
from the stems intact. Alkali sacaton shows no swellings at the base 
of its pithy stems, and the glumes of the spikelets are persistent, re- 
maining after the seed falls. Moreover, in bulb panicgrass the 
spikelets include a well developed sterile lemma, and hence are two- 
flowered, whereas the spikelets of all Sporobolus species are 

A variety of this species, little bulb panicgrass (P. bulbosum 
minus, syn. P. bulbosum sciaphilum), occurs along river banks and 
in ravines of mesas and similar situations in the Rocky Mountains 
and Sierra Madre Mountains from New Mexico and Arizona to 
central Mexico. It is a smaller plant than the species, commonly less 
than 3 feet high, with smaller spikelets, narrower leaf blades, and 
smaller corms at the base of the stems. The corms are usually not 
over one-quarter of an inch in diameter and commonly many to- 
gether attached at the base to a rootstock. Its palatability is about 
the same as that of typical forms of the species. 



Pa'nicum obtu'sum 

Flower head (panicle) up to 5 in. long, 
narrow, with a few erect, densely flow- 
ered, racemelike branches; lower end 
partly enclosed by upper leaf sheath 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 
2-flowe'red (1 flower perfect, the other, 
male), usually in pairs on 1 side of 
flower-head axis, short-stalked, hair- 
less, blunt (obtuse) 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
somewhat unequal, about as long as 
spikelet; 1st glume 5-nerved, shorter 
than 7- to 9-nerved 2d glume 

Outer flower bract of male flower 
(sterile lemma) similar to 2d glume 

Outer flower bract of perfect flower 
(fertile lemma) firm-papery, white, 
somewhat blunt, nerves indistinct 

Leaves up to 8 in. long and about % 
in. wide, firm, erect, inrolled and long- 
narrow-pointed at tip, mostly hairless; 
sheaths shorter than spaces between 
stalk joints, hairless except for some of 
lower ones 

Stalks (culms) flattened, leafy, wiry 
hairless, somewhat bent (decumbent 
at base, erect, up to 32 in. high, with 
hairless joints . 

Boots fibrous, coarse, perennial 

Rootstocks underground, knotted, 

Creeping stems (stolons) up to 10 ft. 
long, leafy, often rooting at the swollen, 
woolly joints 

Vine-mesquite is unusual among western range grasses in that it produces 
creeping stems, or stolons, which sometimes are 10 feet long. It is also known, 
especially in Texas, as grapevine-mesquite and, in the Southwest, as vine panic- 
grass. Other local names are ricegrass, vine grass, and wire grass. Obtusum 
is the Latin for hlunt, referring to the rounded spikelets; hence this species 
is sometimes known as hlunt panic-grass. 

This perennial occurs from western Missouri and southern Colorado south 
to Arizona, Texas, and Mexico. It is found typically in sandy or gravelly soil. 
chiefly in moist sites along stream and ditch banks, both in the open and in 
the shade of trees and shrubs. Vine-mesquite extends upward into the pon- 
derosa-pine belt, but is more common at lower altitudes. This grass requires 
warmth and is best adapted to a fine, compact soil but needs more moisture 
than is usually available in the greater part of the Southwest. 

The species varies considerably in the amount and character of the leafage 
produced, which has resulted in rather conflicting reports about its forage 
value. Texans often report that livestock will not eat vine-mesquite if other 
forage is available. On the other hand, most Arizona and New Mexico ob- 
servers agree that it is fair to fairly good forage for all classes of livestock, 
at least while it is green and tender, although some New Mexico investigators 
speak of it as not uncommonly a weedy encroacher in pastures and fields and 
as not very good feed, though stock eat it when it is green and tender or when 
there is nothing better available. 1 The plant is readily established from seed, 
which is produced in abundance and ordinarily disseminated during July. 
August, iand a part of September. Viability of the seed is generally low. 23 
It also reproduces by means of long above-ground stolons as well as by short 
underground rootstocks. Because of its excellent soil-binding qualities and 
prolific reproduction system, the species seems to offer sufficient promise to 
warrant more extensive experiments in its cultivation. 

Recent investigations by Hendricks 4 of the Southwestern Forest and Range 
Experiment Station, United States Forest Service, indicate that vine-mesquite, 
because it spreads rapidly by means of its stolons, or runners, and forms a 
dense mat of vegetation, is well adapted to assist in the control of soil erosion 
in the Southwest, especially in arroyos, gullies, and bottomlands. If already 
present on the area, conservative grazing will permit the natural extension 
of vine-mesquite, as well as other grasses, to form the necessary protective 
cover. Hendricks finds that transplants of seedlings of vine-mesquite usually 
result successfully if made at the beginning of either the spring or fall rainy 
season in years of average or better than average rainfall. Sod containing 
vine-mesquite may also be used to establish spots in critical areas. 

Botanically, vine-mesquite is, at least so far as United States species are 
concerned, a unique species of Panicum, because of its long-creeping stems, 
with their swollen, woolly joints, the joints of the erect stems being quite hair- 
less, and also because of its glumes, which are nearly as long as the spikelets 
and only slightly unequal. The flower heads are usually partially enclosed 
in the upper leaf sheath and consist of a few, one-sided, spikelike densely 
flowered racemes. The spikelets occur in pairs, one on a shorter stem than 
the other, and are usually two-flowered, only one flower producing seed. 
The lemma of the fertile flower is white, firm-papery, and indistinctly nerved, 
which probably explains why the plant is sometimes known as ricegrass. 
Most species of panicgrass lack creeping stems, and have very unequal glumes 
which, as a rule, are conspicuously shorter than the spikelets. The only 
known species which at all closely resembles vine-mesquite is P. repandum of 
Brazil. However, Savannah panicgrass (P. gymnocarpon) , which occurs in 
wet sites from Texas to Florida, is similar to vine-mesquite in that its stems 
are decumbent, root at the joints, and are often widely creeping. The fruit of 
vine-mesquite is almost one-eighth of an inch long and is not notably exposed 
at maturity. 

1 Wooton, E. O., and Standley, P. C. THE GRASSES AND ORASS-LIKE PLANTS OF NEW 
MEXICO. N. Mex. Agr. Expt. Sta. Bull. 81, [17(5] pp., illus. 1912. 

Gaz. 86 : 270-294, illus. 1928. 


Expt. Sta. Bull. 189, 37 pp., illus. 1931 . 

U. S. Dept. Agr. Leaflet 114, 8 pp., illus. 1936. 



Phlo'um alpi'num 

Stalks (culms) erect, 6 to 24 in. tall, 
simple, smooth, hairless, not swollen but 
often bending or somewhat creeping at 

Leaves flat, short (up to 6 in. long), 
up to % in. wide, smooth on under sur- 
face, harsh to the touch above; lower 
eaves usually longer than upper ones 

Leaf sheaths usually shorter than 
space between joints of stem ; upper ones 

Flower head (panicle) dense, spike- 
like, egg-shaped or oblong, short (}{ to 
2 in. long), 1} to 3 times as long as wide, 
usually purplish 

Roots fibrous 

Individual flower group (spikelet) 
1-flowered, small, somewhat flattened 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
persistent, usually equal, about l / s in. 
long, thin, hairy-fringed on keel, 
abruptly bristled (awned) from slanting 
summit; awns up to }'% in. long 

Outer flower bract (lemma) shorter 
than glumes, thin-papery, awnless, 
blunt and slightly toothed on summit, 
3- to 5-nerved 

Inner flower bract (palea) nearly as 

long as lemma, narrow, thin-papery 

Alpine timothy, also known as mountain timothy and wild timothy, is the 
only species of Phleum known to be native to North America. It is a small 
sister species of the well-known cultivated timothy (P. pratense) which was 
supposedly introduced into this country from Europe. The genus belongs to the 

redtop tribe (Agrostideae) and consists of about 10 annual and perennial 
grasses of the Temperate and Arctic regions of the world. Alpine timothy is 
widely distributed throughout the cooler and higher portions of North America, 
ranging from Alaska and Labrador southward to New Hampshire, northern 
Michigan, South Dakota, New Mexico, and southern California. It also occurs 
in Mexico, Chile, Patagonia, and in northern Europe and Asia. 

As the common name and the specific name alpinum imply, this species grows 
principally in alpine and subalpine situations, although it also extends down 
through the spruce-fir zone and into the aspen zone. Alpine timothy also occurs 
at sea level in Alaska and along the Northwest coast where the cool sea breezes 
produce a climate simulating that of alpine regions. It is a moisture-loving 
plant, as is suggested by the generic name Phleum, which is derived from 
phleos, an old Greek name for some kind of water plant or reed. Some authori- 
ties 1 believe that the Greek phleos was the cattail (Typha), and that Linnaeus, 
Latinizing it to Phleum, applied it to the timothies because of the natural habi- 
tat and the cattaillike spikes. This species characteristically grows in moist or 
wet mountain meadows, parks, along stream banks, in swales, around springs, 
and in the rich muck of bogs and marshes. It also appears on relatively well- 
drained soils on grassy slopes, in weed and aspen types, dry meadows, and 
occasionally in moist sagebrush parks. This grass is usually associated with 
other moisture-loving plants such as bluegrasses, bistort, clovers, hairgrass, 
meadow sedges and rushes, redtops, and willows. The stands are often dense 
and almost pure, but in many localities this species occurs scatteringly and 
forms only a minor portion of the range vegetation. 

Alpine timothy is relished by all classes of livestock and is usually given 
a palatability rating of good to very good for cattle and horses, and fairly 
good to good for sheep. It is highly palatable to elk and is one of the grasses 
eaten most readily by deer. The plants produce a fair amount of nutritious 
foliage, which usually remains green and succulent throughout the summer 
and is especially valuable as a late feed. Stockmen consider it a washy feed 
during the early part of the season when it is young and very succulent. In 
some localities sheep make little early use of this grass as they avoid the 
excessively wet situations where it often occurs. However, as the season ad- 
vances the soils usually become drier, and the plants, being less: succulent, 
are then grazed with unusual relish. Alpine timothy is able to withstand 
heavy trampling fairly well, as it reproduces by means of shoots from its 
decumbent base as well as by seed. 2 The fertility of the seed crop, which 
usually ripens during August and September, is considerably above the average 
of typical subalpine herbaceous plants. Sampson's tests of alpine timothy seed 
in northeastern Oregon 3 gave an average germination of 60.5 percent. 

Alpine timothy is often confused with the common cultivated timothy. The 
two species have somewhat the same general appearance, but alpine timothy 
is a much smaller plant. It ranges from 6 inches to 2 feet in height; has 
a short, egg-shaped or oblong flower head about one and one-half to three times 
as long as broad, and short leaves. The leaf sheaths are usually shorter than 
the space between the joints (internodes) on the stem and the upper sheaths 
are inflated. In contrast, cultivated timothy is a tall plant, usually 2 to 6 
feet high, with elongated cylindrical flower heads up to 8 inches long, and 
leaves up to 13 inches in length ; the leaf sheaths are often longer than the 
internodes and are usually not inflated. Furthermore, the awns on the glumes 
of alpine timothy are up to one-eighth of an inch long, or about twice the 
length of the awns of timothy, giving the flower heads a bristly appearance. 
The stems of alpine timothy are not swollen at the base but are often bent 
or decumbent; on the other hand, timothy stems are distinctly swollen or 
bulblike at the base. 

FIGURED. . . . Transl. by A. N. McAlpine. 171 pp., illus. London. 1889. 

2 Sampson, A. W., and Chase, A. RANGE GRASSES OF CALIFORNIA. Calif. Aer. Expt 
Sta. Bull. 430, 94 pp., illus. 1927. 

U. S. Dept. Agr. Bull. 545, 63 pp., illus. 1917. 


Phle'um praten'se 

(2 leaves) 

Leaf sheaths often longer than spaces 
between joints of stein; upper ones 
usually not inflated 

Leaves flat, 3 to 13 in. long, up to %in. 
wide, usually somewhat harsh to the 

Flower head (panicle) dense, spike- 
like, narrowly cylindrical, 1 to 6 or 
sometimes 8 in. long, erect 

Stalks (culms) tufted, erect, usually 2 
to 4 ft. high, from a swollen or bulblike 
base, simple, smooth, hairless 

Roots fibrous, without creeping root- 

Individual flower group (spikelet) 1- 
flowered, small, somewhat flattened 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
persistent, usually equal, up to ?( 6 in. 
long, thin, hairy-fringed on keel, 
abruptly bristled (awned) from slanting 
summit; awn short, about ''(> in. long, 
ess than % length of glume 

Inner flower bract (palea) about as 
long as lemma, narrow, thin-papery 

Outer flower bract (lemma) about }'> 
us long as glumes, thin-papery, awnless, 
blunt and slightly toothed on summit, 
3- to 5-nerved 

Timothy is by far the most important perennial grass cultivated 
in North America. It is best known because of its extremely wide- 
spread use for hay, but also merits recognition as a very important 
forage plant on the western ranges. Whether it is native to parts 
of the North American continent is still somewhat in controversy, 
although the preponderance of belief is that timothy was presumably 
accidentally introduced into America in early colonial times from 
Europe. All authorities, however, seem to be agreed that it was first 
cultivated on this continent; that it bears an American name 
(timothy), and that it was introduced into the Old World as a culti- 
vated plant from this country. Dr. Jared Eliot (1685-1763) writes 
in his Essay on Field Husbandry in New England that a man 
named Timothy Herd had collected seed of this grass and cultivated 
it there as early as 1747 and that, from him, it had come to be known 
as Herd's grass. In a letter to Eliot, dated July 16, 1747, Benjamin 
Franklin states that Herd grass seed received proved to be mere 
timothy. This appears to be the earliest record of the name timothy, 
which supposedly refers to Timothy Hansen, who was responsible 
for the introduction of this grass into Maryland, Virginia, and the 
Carolinas. 1 2 This plant is now known all over the world as timothy. 
The specific name pratense is Latin and refers to the meadow habitat 
of this species. 

Timothy is now distributed throughout most of North America, 
as well as in Europe, Asia, and other temperate regions of the 
world. It is well adapted to cool, humid habitats and does best in 
the northern half of the United States and southward in the moun- 
tains. Its southern limit of successful culture practically coincides 
with the northern limit of cotton culture. 3 This species thrives 
fairly well along the Alaskan coast, produces satisfactorily, and 
survives the winters practically up to the Arctic circle. Timothy 
will grow under a wide diversity of site conditions but grows best 
on well-drained but moist clay or loam soils. It has become firmly 
established on many ranges and is now widely distributed through- 
out the mountains of the west, thriving best at medium elevations 
but growing successfully up to about 10,500 feet in Colorado. In 
the range country this grass usually grows in moist meadows, weedy 
or grassy parks, along stream banks, in moist canyon bottoms, open 
grassy slopes, woodlands, openings in the timber, and along road- 
sides and trails. 

This plant has given better all-around results in the artificial 
reseeding of western mountain range lands than any other species. 
Experiments 4 have shown that it can be successfully and profitably 
used in reseeding inland range lands where the soil is moist and the 
growing season of sufficient duration for seed production. It is 
also suitable for reseeding cutover, burned-over, and overgrazed 
mountain ranges on the west coastal slope where the annual precipi- 

* Piper, C. V. FORAGE PLANTS AND THEIR CULTURE. Rev., 671 pp., illus. New York. 

FIGURED. . . . Transl. by A. N. McAlpine. 171 pp.. illus. London. 1889. 

3 Piper, C. V. IMPORTANT CULTIVATED GRASSES. U. S. Dept. Agr. Farmers' Bull. 12.~)4. 
38 pp., illus. 1922. 

RANGE LANDS. U. S. Dept. Agr. Circ. 178, 48 pp., illus. 1931. 

(leaf 2) 

tation exceeds 40 inches per year. Timothy can usually be intro- 
duced at a lower cost than any of the other highly desirable species 
because the seed is inexpensive compared with that of most other 
cultivated forage plants. Eight to fifteen pounds of seed per acre 
is required to produce a good stand. It seldom, if ever, pays to sow 
less than 8 pounds per acre on the range, since seed can usually be 
obtained for 5 to 15 cents a pound. This grass is especially valuable 
for reseeding, with such a slow-starting perennial as Kentucky 
bluegrass. 4 

Timothy becomes established by the second year after seeding and, 
because of its usual luxuriant growth, produces a great abundance 
of nutritious forage. The herbage is highly palatable to all classes 
of livestock, being rated as very good for cattle and horses and good 
for sheep. Elk consume the plants with relish and deer sometimes 
crop them lightly. This plant stands up very well if properly grazed 
but is not resistant to heavy grazing, as the "bulbs" are easily injured 
by close pasturing and heavy trampling. Timothy is known to have 
held up for 12 years or longer on good range lands, but ordinarily 
the stands tend to die out in about 6 or 7 years. In localities where 
fertile seed is produced the stands usually maintain themselves satis- 
factorily and the seed is often carried by livestock, wind, and other 
agencies to adjoining areas. At the higher elevations where the grow- 
ing season is too short for viable seed to mature, this species does 
not revegetate naturally. However, on such sites where timothy 
may become readily established, the low cost of seed justifies its use 
in artificial reseeding. 

Timothy is an outstanding crop plant in this country, with an 
annual value running into hundreds of millions of dollars. Piper 3 
states that "the extent of its culture is four times as great as that 
of all other hay grasses combined and equal to that of all other 
hay plants, including clover and alfalfa." Timothy hay is the stand- 
ard for all grass hay sold on the market. It has a rather high 
palatability combined with a moderate nutritive value, and because 
of its slight laxative effect it is practically impossible to injure an 
animal by overfeeding. It is especially valued for horse feed but 
is considered inferior to alfalfa and clover for fattening stock or 
feeding dairy cows. 

The bulk of timothy hay grown in the United States is produced 
in the northeastern portion of the country, the region extending 
west to the Missouri Kiver and southward to Missouri and Vir- 
ginia. This grass is, however, also widely grown for hay in the 
West. In most western localities irrigation is necessary for success- 
ful production, although it is grown without irrigation in some of 
the moister valleys and on the northwest coast. This plant is espe- 
cially popular in some of the high mountain valleys too cool for 
the most successful growing of alfalfa. It is often sown in mixture 
with red or alsike clover, redtop, and, in some localities, with alfalfa. 
The mixed hay generally yields better and has a higher feeding 
value for cattle and sheep than timothy alone. 

Timothy alone is not well adapted to permanent pastures but is 
very useiul in mixture with longer-lived pasture grasses. It often 
forms an important element in temporary pastures; timothy hay 
meadows are usually grazed in the fall after the hay is harvested and 
frequently again in the spring. 

In addition to timothy, two other introduced species of Phleum 
occur in America. They are P. grae'cum and P. bellar'di, unim- 
portant and little known annuals found in this country only at a 
few seaports on dumping grounds for ballast. Alpine timothy (P. 
dlpi'num), the only species known to be native to America, and which 
also occurs in Europe and Asia, is discussed separately in this hand- 


Po'a spp. 

The bluegrasses compose one of the largest, most important eco- 
nomically, and most taxonomically difficult genera of the grass family 
(Gramineae). Under the type basis of botanical nomenclature it 
becomes the type of the grass family to which it gives the name 
Poaceae, used in many of the botanical manuals. The bluegrasses 
belong to the immense fescue tribe (Festuceae), which includes the 
broinegrasses, fescues, melic grasses, orchard grass, and numerous 
other well-known genera. The name poo, is a Greek word for grass, 
or .any plant used as fodder by domestic livestock. The common name 
bluegrass refers to the characteristic blue-green color of the foliage 
of many species of Poa and perhaps Avas first applied to the species 
now called Canada bluegrass (P. compressa) . The bluegrasses are 
often called speargrasses, and sometimes also pinegrasses and green- 
grasses. In England they are called meadowgrasses, because they 
are important constituents of most meadow pastures. 

The bluegrass genus is easily the largest and one of the most widely 
distributed groups of western range grasses. On a conservative basis 
about C5 species of Poa occur on western range lands, and between 
about 150 and 200 species grow throughout the world, particularly 
in the temperate and cooler regions. Save only in the hotter and 
drier climates, almost wherever grasses grow, from the seashore to 
the highest limit of vegetation on the loftiest peaks, from the Arctic 
to the Antarctic, the genus Poa, is represented. 1 

Bluegrasses are widely distributed throughout the United States, 
the majority occurring in the mountainous regions of the northern 
and western sections of the country. All but three or four of them 
are perennials. Bluegrasses are relatively unimportant in the South- 
west, because the climate is too dry and the winds too desiccating, 
except in the higher mountains, to permit them to grow successfully. 

While most of the species occurring in the United States are 
native, a few have been introduced and cultivated for pasturage and 
lawns, thus greatly extending their range. Especially prominent 
among these foreign species are Kentucky bluegrass (P. pratensis) 
and Canada bluegrass, which have been planted extensively in 
Canada and the northern half of the United States as far west as 
Missouri and Iowa and, to a more limited extent, in the mountainous 
regions of the South and West. These two cultivated species have 
spread aggressively and are now common along ditch banks, in 
meadows, along roadsides, and are even moderately abundant on 
some of the western ranges. Native species of bluegrass are often 
the most important forage grasses of many of the cooler and moister 
western ranges. They occur in a great variety of sites, from sand 
dunes to mountain meadows. The majority, however, favor rich, 
moist, well-drained soils and are characteristic of meadows, grassy 
parks along stream banks, in shaded woodlands, and in open sage- 

1 Lamson-Scribner, F. ECONOMIC GRASSES. TJ. S. Dept. Agr., Div. Agrost. Bull. 14, rev., 
85 pp., illus. 1900. 

brush and wheatgrass types. A few species occur on the drier, in- 
fertile, open side hills, ridges, and waste places. Several species of 
bluegrass, including Kentucky bluegrass and Canada bluegrass, are 
used for reseeding depleted range lands. These two species are also 
very effective for checking erosion, as they grow and spread rapidly 
and form a continuous sod. 

The bluegrasses are primarily valued for pasturage, although a 
few species are cut for hay. With a few exceptions they are all 
relished by both wild game and domesticated livestock. They rank 
among the most palatable of all range grasses, many of them being 
rated as excellent for cattle, horses, sheep, and elk. Such turf -form- 
ing species as Kentucky bluegrass, Canada bluegrass, "Wheeler blue- 
grass (P. nervosa, syn. P. wjieeleri), and Texas bluegrass (P. 
aracknifera) are well adapted for pasture and lawns. Of these, 
Kentucky bluegrass and Canada bluegrass are by far the most im- 
portant. These two grasses are major components of most lawn and 
pasture grass mixtures except in the far South. They grow 
luxuriantly in humid regions or where ample moisture is supplied, 
readily forming a dense sod cover. Their foliage is dark bluish 
green, and very attractive. Many of the native bluegrasses, such as 
muttongrass (P. fendleriana) , Nevada bluegrass (P. nevadens-ix) , 
Canby bluegrass (P. canbyi] , pine bluegrass (P. scabrella, syn. P. 
'buckleyama] , Sandberg bluegrass (P. secunda, syn P. sandbergii), 
Wheeler bluegrass, and the introduced wood bluegrass (P. nzmor- 
alis), are important range plants because they furnish an abundance 
of tender and nutritious forage. 

Poa is distinguished from other genera in the fescue tribe by the 
following characters : spikelets small, awnless ; lemmas with heavy 
midnerve like the keel of a boat, not bifid at the tip, often hairy or 
cobwebby at the base ; glumes one- to three-nerved, entire ; leaf blades 
flat or folded, with boat-shaped tips. 



Po'a compres'sa 

Flower heads (panicles) 1 to 4 in. 
long, loose, narrow; branches erect or 
ascending, usually less than 1 in. long, 
and densely flower-bearing to near 
their bases 

Outer flower bract (lemma) about X 
in. long, boat-shaped, somewhat cob- 
webby-hairy at the base, bronzed at the 
tips, indistinctly 5-nerved, the outer 
and mid-nerves soft-hairy or hairless 

- Individual flower groups (spikelets) 
3- to 7-flowered, }i to M in. long, stalk- 
less or very short-stalked, purplish when 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
nearly equal, about K in- long, 3-nerved 

Leaves mostly basal, 1 to 4K in. long, 
flat or folded, smooth beneath, rough 
above; sheaths shorter than the space 
between the joints, loose, flattened 

Stalks (culms) K to 2K ft. tall, some- 
what flattened, bent and spreading at 
the base, erect above, wiry, smooth, not 

ft^*** Rootstocks many, slender, running 

Roots fibrous, numerous, extensive 

This hardy perennial grass is generally designated throughout the United 
States and Canada as Canada bluegrass, although it has numerous local names, 
including English bluegrass, flat-stemmed grass, wiregrass, and Virginia blue- 
grass. Canada bluegrass is a rather appropriate name for the following rea- 

sons : (1) Some of the first botanical collections of the species in North America 
were made near Quebec; (2) the species appears to have first attained out- 
standing commercial importance in Canada; (3) it is most abundant in the 
Great Lakes region and particularly in the area bordering their northern shores, 
more especially southern Ontario; (4) probably the chief centers of commer- 
cial production of Canada bluegrass seed are in Ontario and Quebec. Because 
of its characteristic, dark blue-green foliage, this was perhaps the first of the 
poas to be called bluegrass. The Latin specific name compressa refers to the 
flattened (compressed) appearance of the stems (culms) and leaf sheaths. 

Canada bluegrass is distributed widely throughout the cooler regions of 
North America, from Newfoundland and British Columbia southward to Geor- 
gia and California. However, insofar as its United States range is concerned, 
this grass is most common and abundant in that sector extending from New 
England to West Virginia and Ohio, and westward to Indiana and Missouri. 
Since being introduced into the Pacific Northwest, it has increased measurably 
and is now fairly common in many places. 

In the southern United States, particularly the Southwest, Canada bluegrass 
occurs in the higher mountains, and on irrigated lawns and pastures where 
abundant moisture is supplied artificially. Throughout the entire western 
range country this grass occurs sparsely in the mountain meadows, parks, and 
along dry stream banks, but occasionally is abundant on sites where it has 
been seeded. It is very persistent, when once established, and will do better 
than Kentucky bluegrass on the poorer and drier sites. 1 

Although the former conception was that Canada bluegrass is native to 
America, most authorities now agree that it was introduced from the Old World, 
where it is indigenous. 

Canada bluegrass grows better than any other grass commonly cultivated 
in the cooler parts of this country on stiff clay soils of low fertility, does well 
on gravelly areas, and even grows sparsely on sandy soils. This grass often 
occurs in pure, dense stands on the sides of highway and railroad cuts, and on 
eroded areas whose subsoil has been exposed. However, on the better top soils, 
this grass cannot cope with Kentucky bluegrass and other grasses, which fre- 
quently abound on such areas. Kentucky bluegrass and Canada bluegrass do 
not, as a rule, grow naturally intermixed in the sod, though they are often 
associated in neighboring but separated patches. Canada bluegrass reaches its 
greatest perfection and grows most luxuriantly in southern Ontario and 
western New York on glacial soils derived from sand, stone, and clay. 

The lush foliage of Canada bluegrass is highly relished by all classes of live- 
stock, and is also grazed to a considerable extent by elk. It is also cropped 
lightly by deer, especially during the spring and early summer when the 
foliage is tender and succulent. The species rates as choice forage for cattle 
and horses, and from good to very good for sheep. Although not so palatable 
as Kentucky bluegrass, it is highly nutritious. Sampson a states that "extensive 
chemical analysis and some feeding tests indicate that Canada bluegrass is 
nutritious though probably of somewhat less food value than Kentucky blue- 
grass because the former contains more crude fiber, only part of which is 
digestible." Canada bluegrass rates as much better pasturage if it is grazed 
and not allowed to become overly mature, as livestock eat the younger foliage 
with greater avidity. It withstands close use, is resistant to heavy trampling, 
and recuperates rapidly after severe grazing. 

This grass is extensively used on the poorer soils, especially in the north- 
eastern States and Canada, as pasturage, as hay, for lawns and golf courses. 8 * 
However, it does not form so dense a sod or develop such a rich, uniform, dark 
green color as Kentucky bluegrass. Experimental range reseeding tests indi- 
cate that this species has potential value for reseeding certain depleted or 
badly eroded areas where precipitation is adequate and temperatures are cool. 

RANGE LANDS. U. S. Dept. Agr. Circ. 178, 48 pp., illus. 1931. 

Wool Grower 6 (10) : 23-25, illus. 1916. 

3 Oakley, R. A. CANADA BLUEGRASS : ITS CULTURE AND USES. U. S. Dept. Agr. Farmers' 
Bull. 402, 20 pp., illus. 1910. 

* Piper, C. V. IMPORTANT CULTIVATED GRASSES. U. S. Dept. Agr. Farmers' Bull. 1254, 
38 pp., illus. 1922. 


Po'a fendleria'na, syns. 


P. brevipanicula' ta, P. longipeduncula'ta, P. 

Flower head (panicle) 1 to 4 in. long, 
narrow, oblong, densely flowered, erect 
or slightly nodding; branches in 2's or 
3's, ascending, flower-bearing to near 
the base 

Stalks (culms) densely tufted, erect, 
1 to 2 ft. tall, rough just below the 
flower head; many culms not head' 

Leaves mostly basal, pale bluisli green; 
2 to 12 in. long, stiff, often tightly 
folded, rough beneath; stem leaves 
usually less than 1 in. long; sheaths 
usually rough above; bract (ligule) at 
junction of blade and sheath, usually 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 
5- to 7-flowered, about % in. long, 
somewhat flattened, often purplish; 
"A" male (staminate) and "B" female 
(pistillate) flowers, usually borne on 
separate plants 

Outer flower bract (lemma) about ft 
in. long, green or purplish below, with 
jagged, transparent-papery tip, stiff- 
hairy toward tip of midnerve, soft- 
hairy below on the marginal nerves and 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
about % in. long, somewhat unequal; 
first glume rough, 1-nerved, shorter 
than the 3-nerved second glume 

Roots fibrous, numerous, extensive; 
stooling well developed but long-run- 
ning rootstocks lacking 

Muttongrass, also called Fendler bluegrass and mutton bluegrass, 
is one of the most widely distributed and important of native blue- 
grasses. In fact, throughout the central Rocky Mountains it ranks 
among the 20 most important range grasses. The common name 
muttongrass is very appropriate, as it is one of the most nutritious 

forage plants in New Mexico and Arizona, being prized for fatten- 
ing sheep. Its specific name fendleriana is in honor of August Fend- 
ler (1813-83). 

This species ranges from southeastern British Columbia to Manitoba, 
western South Dakota, Colorado, western Texas, northern Mexico, 
California, and Idaho. It has been reported from eastern Washing- 
ton, but the record is very doubtful. In New Mexico and other 
parts of the Southwest this tufted perennial is probably the only 
native species of bluegrass sufficiently abundant to be of much range 
value. In the southern parts of its range this bunchgrass usually 
grows at higher elevations, but does not appear on the lower slopes 
and mesas, where the summers are too hot and dry for bluegrasses. 
However, throughout its more northerly range it frequently occurs 
on the foothills and lower slopes, usually intermixed with needle- 
grasses, bromes, pentstemons, sagebrush, and sedges. 

Muttongrass grows typically from the pifion-juniper belt, through 
the ponderosa pine and aspen types, to the Engelmann spruce-lodge- 
pole pine zone, and reaches a maximum elevation of about 7,000 feet 
in Montana and Idaho, 10,000 feet in Utah, and 12,000 feet in Colo- 
rado. It appears chiefly on ridges and slopes and in open timbered 
areas and well-drained parks and meadows. Although this grass 
grows most commonly on well-drained, rich clay loams, it also in- 
habits drier, less fertile, shallow, gravelly or sandy soils on open hill- 
sides, where it frequently becomes abundant. This species, like 
Sandberg bluegrass (Po& secunda, syn. P. sandbergrii) is one of the 
most drought-resistant of the bluegrasses and, because of its deep 
fibrous root system, it frequently is an effective barrier against ero- 
sion. Germination tests have shown that the seeds of muttongrass 
are of low viability, which doubtless partly accounts for its failure 
thus far in artificial range reseeding experiments. 1 

This bluegrass, which starts growth during the warm days of 
late winter and early spring, is ready for grazing in advance of most 
other range forage plants. During early spring, it is particularly 
relished by all classes of domestic livestock. It rates as excellent 
forage for cattle and horses, and good for sheep, elk, and deer, de- 
spite that its palatability decreases somewhat at maturity, when the 
foliage becomes rather harsh and dry. Cattle and horses relish the 
plant and sheep eat considerable quantities throughout the entire 
summer. During the fall both cattle and horses eat the air-cured 
foliage, more tender and succulent forage being scarce. 

Muttongrass, a perennial, is strictly a bunchgrass, varying from small tufts 
composed of a few stalks to dense tussocks a foot or more in diameter. The 
species is unusual among range grasses in that the male and female spikelets 
are generally borne on separate plants (dioecious). However, the female 
spikelets have only minute, non-functioning stamens. Muttongrass has no 
underground rootstocks, although the stems are often bent and more or less 
prostrate at the base, frequently resembling a short rootstock. This stooling 
characteristic governs the size of the individual tufts and facilitates reproduc- 
tion and spread. This grass flowers from April to June, and matures seed from 
May to July, depending upon the locality and elevation. 

BANGE LANDS. U. S. Dept. Agr. Circ. 178, 48 pp., illus. 1931. 



Po'a nevaden'sis 

Flower head (panicle) 1 to 6 in. long, 
narrow, dense; branches appressed, in 
groups of 2 or more, flower-bearing on 
the upper two-thirds 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 3- 
to 8-flowered, about % to % in. long, 
narrow, not flattened 

Outer flower bracts (lemma) K to # 
in. long, not cobwebby-hairy at the base, 
thin-papery, smooth or rough on the 
back below, often purplish or yellowish 
brown above, often jagged at the tip 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes): 
about Ys in. long, 3-nerved, rough, 
nearly equal; the 2d glume usually 
longer than the 1st 

Stalks (culms) tufted, erect, 18 to 40 
in. high, rough below the panicles 

Leaves mostly basal, flat or folded, 
rough, light green; basal leaves 6 to 12 
in. long; stem leaves shorter (2 to 4 in. 
long); bract (ligule), at junction of 
blade and sheath, thin-papery, about. 
% in. long; sheaths rough 

Roots fibrous, numerous; rootstocks 

Nevada bluegrass, a rather handsome tufted perennial, grows char- 
acteristically in small bunches, but seldom forms large tussocks. It is 

a widely distributed and important species throughout most of the 
range country, except in the Southwest. The grass is distributed 
along the east side of the Cascade and Sierra Nevada Mountains, 
from British Columbia southward to the Mohave Desert and east to 
Colorado, western South Dakota, and Montana. 

The species occurs throughout an unusually wide eleyational range, 
being found from several hundred feet above sea level in Washington 
and Oregon to as high as 11,000 feet in the central Colorado moun- 
tains. It is distributed on plains, dry meadows, and open hillsides, 
but seems to prefer the open woods of the slopes and foothills. Fre- 
quently, however, it is found along partially shaded stream banks 
and creek bottoms. In Washington and Oregon it appears not uncom- 
monly in irrigated fields and meadows mixed with other grasses, 
where it occasionally establishes such a good stand as to produce a 
fair crop of hay. Although Nevada bluegrass grows luxuriantly 
and densely on the rich soils of moist situations, it is most common 
and widely distributed on the drier sites, growing on relatively infer- 
tile, loose, sandy, or loamy soils. Frequently it is a characteristic 
plant of the better scablands of Washington and Oregon and is often 
a conspicuous opponent of the sagebrush type, occurring in associa- 
tion with other grasses and such weeds as western yarrow, cinquefoil, 
lupine, and pentstemon. 

Nevada bluegrass, although seldom abundant, is plentiful enough 
to furnish considerable forage throughout its range. This grass, one 
of the first to resume growth in the spring, is very palatable and 
highly relished by both game animals and domesticated livestock 
during the spring and early summer. At that time the plant is 
cropped closely by livestock. The palatability is somewhat lower 
at maturity, when the stalks and leaves become slightly tough, al- 
though cattle and horses continue to eat it throughout the summer. 
In the fall the air-dried foliage is grazed eagerly by all classes of 
livestock. No doubt the scarcity of more succulent and tender 
forage at that time, coupled with the softening of the dried leaves 
by the fall rains, enhances this late usage. In general, this grass 
rates as excellent forage for cattle and horses, good to excellent for 
sheep, good for elk, and fair to good for deer. Nevada bluegrass 
forage, when air-dried, is equal to timothy in feeding value, although 
the amount produced is somewhat meager. 1 

This grass, with the possible exception of Sandberg bluegrass (P. secunda, 
syn. P. sandbergii), is probably the most drought-enduring of the bluegrasses. 
Remarkably deep, extensive, and fibrous roots enable this plant to grow on 
rather dry sites and to endure extended droughts. Although drought-resistant, 
this grass succumbs to heavy grazing and trampling and hence has been killed 
out or reduced appreciably on many of the western ranges, because of intensive 
utilization. Nevada bluegrass begins flowering in May and matures an abun- 
dance of seed from July to September. The seed has fair viability and, if 
allowed to disseminate, will germinate eventually and grow on favorable sites. 

Nevada bluegrass lacks the ability of Kentucky bluegrass to spread by 
underground rootstocks, and its vegetative reproduction by stooling is not 

1 Knight, H. G., Hepner, F. E., and Nelson, A. WYOMING FORAGE PLANTS AND THEIR 
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION STUDIES NO. 3. Wyo. Agr. Expt. Sta. Bull. 76, 119 pp., illus. 


Po'a praten'sis 

(2 leaves) 

Flower head (panicle)-^open, pyramid-shaped, 
with usually spreading, often horizontal 
branches whorled in distant grgups of 3 to 5 

Oater flower bract Gemma) about }i in. long, 
very cottony or cobwebby-hairy at the b&se, 
5-nerved; mid and outer nerves silky-hairy 
toward the base, other nerves naked and 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 3- to 6- 
flowered, }{ to .% in. long, somewhat flattened, 
crowded at the ends of the branchlets, purplish 
when mature, longer than their stalks 

Lowest (2) spikelets bracts (glumes) slightly 
unequal, boat-shaped, rough only on the keel; 
1st glume 1-nerved (occasionally 3-nerved); 2d 
glume 3-nerved 

Stalks (culms) 1 to 4 ft. tall, erect, round, 
usually smooth 

Leaves more numerous and longer at base, 
dark green, flat or folded, boat-shaped at the 
tip, usually hairless, sometimes minutely hairy 
on the upper surface; sheaths longer than the 
space between the stem joints, overlapping 
below, usually smooth 

Rootstocks many, slender, creeping under- 

Roots fibrous, numerous, extensive 

Kentucky bluegrass, with the exception of timothy, is the most 
important perennial grass cultivated in North America, being par- 
ticularly popular as a pasture and meadow grass ; in fact, it is often 
referred to as "the king of the pasture lands." This plant is known 
by numerous common or local names, including lawn grass, spear- 
grass, junegrass, and greensward. In England, Avhere it abounds, 
the species is usually called meadow grass. Because of its abundance 
and luxuriant growth, throughout Kentucky, and especially near 
Lexington, "the city of the bluegrass", this species is most generally 
known as Kentucky bluegrass. The name bluegrass appears to have 
been first applied to Canada bluegrass (P. campressa) , because of its 
characteristic bluish green foliage. Subsequently the entire Poa 
genus won recognition as bluegrasses. 

The common belief that Kentucky bluegrass is indigenous in the 
United States probably is erroneous. Some agrostologists believe 
that certain bluegrass forms unquestionably native in the northern 
and cooler parts of North America may be varieties or subspecies 
of Kentucky bluegrass. Possibly this is true, although the present 
tendency is to regard such forms as distinct, though related species. 
According to Carrier and Bort x the first American record of what 
we now call Kentucky bluegrass emanated from William Penn who, 
in 1685, made an experimental sowing of the seed, obtained from 
England, in his courtyard. Penn wrote : 

It grew very thick but I ordered it to be fed (grazed) being in the nature <>!' 
a grass plot on purpose to see it" the roots lay firm and though it had been 
mere sand cast off of the cellar but a year before the seed took much root and 
held and fed like old English ground. 

Carrier and Bort (op. tit.) further record that in the same year 
(1685) Thomas Budd also advised farmers to sow English grass 
seed on well-drained low grounds, and the June notes in the New 
England Almanac for 1730 urge farmers to "cut your English grass 
seed." Various other references have been made to planting Eng- 
lish grass seed. These observations, authorities agree, doubtless 
referred to what w r e now call Kentucky bluegrass. 

The indications are that Kentucky bluegrass probably had not 
become widely distributed in Pennsylvania by 1749, since Kalm (as 
quoted by Pinkerton 2 ) wrote as follows: 

This country does not afford any green pastures like the Swedish ones ; the 
woods are the places where the cattle must collect their food * * *. The 
trees stand far asunder ; out the ground between them is not covered with 
green sods; for there are but few kinds of grasses in the woods, and they 
stand single and scattered. 

This vivid description indicates that Kentucky bluegrass, if pres- 
ent, was certainly not abundant. The rich limestone soil of Ken- 
tucky, Virginia, and Pennsylvania provided an ideal habitat, and 
this grass spread rapidly over this humid region, especially on 
abandoned and cleared lands. In many places the species became so 
abundant and aggressive that it was considered a pest. 

CLOVER IN THE UNITED STATES. Jour. Amer. Soc. Agron. 8 : 256-266. 1916. 



(leaf 2) 

Indians referred to it as "white man's foot grass"; they believed 
that, wherever the white man trod, this grass later grew as enduring 
markers of his footprints. The invasion and expansion of Kentucky 
blnegrass were so marked and rapid that early Kentucky pioneers, 
including James Nourse (in 1775), Daniel Boone (in 1784), and 
Imlay (in 1792), wrote about the abundance of grass meadows simi- 
lar to those of Europe. At present most authorities agree that 
Kentucky bluegrass, like timothy and other of our cultivated grasses, 
was introduced into the country from the Old World, where it is 
native throughout Europe, northern Asia, and in the mountains of 
Algeria and Morocco. 

Kentucky bluegrass is now widely distributed throughout most of 
North America north of Mexico, except in the warmer and desert areas. 
It is well adapted to the more humid and cooler temperate regions and 
grows most abundantly from Kentucky to Missouri northward to 
Alaska and Labrador. It also thrives in more arid regions where 
ample soil moisture is supplied. In the central Rocky Mountains it 
sometimes grows abundantly in the valleys but is seldom abundant in 
the mountains, although often common on localized areas, and is 
found at elevations up to as high as 10,000 feet. It occurs sparingly 
on favorable sites in the Southwest; and in California, where the 
summers are hot, is confined to the cool mountainous regions. 

Kentucky bluegrass will grow on a wide diversity of sites, but 
it thrives best on well-drained loams or clay loams which are pre- 
eminently rich in humus. It is outstandingly abundant on the rich 
limestone soils of the historic bluegrass regions of Kentucky and 
Virginia, where the grass frequently attains such density as to 
crowd out all other species. Consequently experts formerly thought 
that Kentucky bluegrass required an abundance of lime. However, 
recent investigations of the United States Department* of Agricul- 
ture at Arlington Farm, Va., show that application of lime to soils 
deficient in that chemical material had little or no effect on blue- 
grass growth. Kentucky bluegrass is frequently found on wet soils, 
but, unlike redtop, it does not thrive on acid soils and it cannot 
survive on water-logged sites. In the West this grass ordinarily 
inhabits the richer mountainous soils and moister sites, often oc- 
curring in meadows, along water courses, and in the more or less 
open and semishaded benchlands. 

Kentucky bluegrass usually produces an abundance of nutritious 
forage and lush herbage which are highly palatable to all classes of 
livestock as well as to elk and deer. It rates as very good for cattle 
and horses, good for sheep and elk, and is one of the better forage 
grasses for deer. These game animals freely graze the tender leaf- 
age during the spring, immediately after growth begins, when the 
leaves are young and succulent. If moisture supply is ample and the 
temperature does not rise above 90 F., the foliage remains green 
and palatable throughout the summer. Kentucky bluegrass sod 
is unusually resistant to heavy utilization, being able not only to 
maintain itself but to increase the stand even on heavily trampled 
areas where the plants are cropped closely. 

Kentucky bluegrass is especially adapted for use in the northern 
half of the United States. Southward to the Gulf of Mexico it is 
often grown in limited amounts but does not endure the prolonged 
summer heat and drought as well as do Bermuda grass (Cynodon 
dactylon), creeping bent (Agrost'is palustris), carpet grass (Ax- 
onopus compresms] , and certain other grasses. In the southern por- 
tions of the United States it often wilts and turns brown during 
the hot, dry summer months. However, after appearing dead, it 
frequently recovers rapidly during rains or when the cooler tem- 
peratures of autumn arrive. Throughout its range Kentucky blue- 
grass comes in voluntarily and occupies lands suited to its growth. 
It even aggressively invades irrigated timothy hay lands and re- 
duces both the quantity and quality of the resultant mixed hay. 
This invasion is so marked that the timothy hay growers often 
class the grass as a major weed. Approximately 90 percent of the 
Kentucky bluegrass pastures in America are volunteer stands. 
Throughout much of its range this grass often dominates both 
fencerows and roadsides. 

The species produces an abundance of high-quality seed. Commercial seed 
comes largely from the Kentucky bluegrass region of Kentucky and the 
Virginias, although recently Missouri and southern Iowa have gained some 
prominence as additional supply sources. Missouri, with approximately 8,000,- 
000 acres of Kentucky bluegrass, reaps an annual grazing income of about 
$24,000,000 from her excellent pastures and also harvests some $500,000 worth 
of seed. 3 The crop usually is harvested between about June 10 and 15 and 
often yields as high as 15 to 25 bushels per acre. The seed, as a rule, is especi- 
ally viable and not uncommonly germinates from 55 to 75 percent. 

By virtue of its strong seeding habits and its vigor in forming sod, Kentucky 
bluegrass is strikingly suitable for erosion control, especially within the north- 
ern part of the United States and in the western mountains. In the West, 
where moisture and fertility conditions are satisfactory, Kentucky bluegrass 
will effectively bind the soil of slopes, and the species is being used on a con- 
siderable scale in erosion control. Uhland * found Kentucky bluegrass very 
effective for checking erosion in Missouri. 

Frequently tins species has been used in reseeding depleted western range 
lands and good results have been secured, especially on fertile limestone soils. E 
Initial growth is slow, but ultimately good forage stands usually result on 
mountain areas, not too warm or too acid, where the annual precipitation 
averages over 20 inches. Kentucky bluegrass becomes established by the 
second year and eventually produces a sod and an abundance of nutritious 
forage. This grass is advisable for planting with early-starting species such 
as timothy, Italian ryegrass (Loliiim multiflorum) , and clover. The chief 
retardents which limit its use are the high cost of seed and the slowness of 
the species in establishing a satisfactory stand. However, its permanence, 
heavy production of nutritious forage, and ability to withstand severe tram- 
pling and grazing probably more than counterbalance these disadvantages. 

Kentucky bluegrass, a dense turf and sod-forming plant, produces an abund- 
ance of slender, creeping rootstockls and a profusion of deep fibrous roots 
which often penetrate the soil to a depth of 3 to 4 feet. The numerous stalks 
(culms) grow from 1 to 4 feet high. These are somewhat tufted, smooth, and 
round. The leaves are mostly basal, smooth, soft, flat or folded, dark green, 
and succulent. The open panicle is pyramid-shaped; the lower branches 
longest, the upper ones successively shorter toward the peak. 

3 King, B. M. KENTUCKY BLUEGEASS IN MISSOURI. Mo. Agr. Expt. Sta. Circ. 155, 
11 pp., illus. . 1927. 

Leaflet 82, 4 pp., illus. 1931. 

RANGE LANDS. U. S. Dept. Agr. Circ. 178, 48 pp., illus. 1931. 



Po'a secun'da, syns. "P. buckleya'na", 1 P. incur'va, P. sandber'gii 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 
short (about y t in. long), 2- to 4-flowered, 
often purplish, borne above middle of 

Outer flower bract (lemma) not cob- 
webby-hairy at base but with very 
fine, curled hairs on lower part, linear- 
oblong, 5-nerved, with papery-, blunt 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
lance-shaped, somewhat pointed; 1st 
glume 1-veined; 2d glume 2-veined 

Flower head (panicle)-: very narrow 
(not more than 1 in. wide even when 
flowers are open), up to 4 in. long, 
with ascending branches; lower branch- 
es unequal in length and arranged in 
groups of 2 or 3 

Stalks (culms) densely tufted or only 
1 or 2, smooth, delicate, slender, 
nearly naked (with usually only 1 or 2 
short stem leaves), erect, 6 to 30 in. 
high but averaging only about 12 in. 

Leaves mostly in a short basal tuft 
and somewhat curly at maturity, 2 to 6 
in. long; blades very narrow, short, 
soft, and usually folded lengthwise as if 
by hinges; sheaths smooth 

Roots fibrous; creeping 


1 Of some authors, in part. 

Sandberg bluegrass, also called little bluegrass, is a perennial and 
strictly a bimchgrass, growing variously in small tufts of but one 
or two stalks (culms) or in compact tussocks nearly a foot across. 
It is a widely distributed and important species in most of the 
western range country, except in the Southwest, where it occurs but 
sparsely and only in the northern part. It ranks among the six most 
important range grasses in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. 

Sandberg bluegrass grows throughout an unusually wide alti- 
tudinal range, being found at elevations as low as 1,000 feet in 
Washington and as high as 12,000 feet in the mountains of northern 
New Mexico. It grows in semidesert areas, in foothills, on grassy 
slopes and ridge tops, and in open timber and well-drained parks. 
In addition to other grasses, such weeds as yarrow and pentstemon, 
and such browse as sagebrush and rabbitbrush, are its frequent asso- 
ciates. Although Sandberg bluegrass will grow luxuriously in rich 
clay loam, it usually inhabits inferior shallow soils; it is often the 
most common and characteristic grass on scablands and on dry, 
rocky, or sandy soils. 

It is one of the most drought-resistant of the bluegrasses and, on 
large areas of western semidesert hill range of the public domain, 
overgrazing has killed out most of the bunchgrasses except Sand- 
berg bluegrass. This is due to the fact that its deeply penetrating 
masses of coarse, fibrous roots enable it to withstand trampling 
unusually well; also it has the ability to make its growth, produce 
its flowers, and mature its seeds early in the season while moisture 
is still available. Moreover, its season-long palatability is slightly 
less than that of some of the choicer grasses with which it grows. 

Sandberg bluegrass is one of the first plants ready to graze in the 
spring, and the entire plant is very palatable and readily grazed by 
all classes of livestock in the spring and early summer. When ma- 
ture its palatability is somewhat lowered, but cattle and horses con- 
tinue to graze it to some extent throughout the summer. In the fall, 
when air-cured, the leaf blades are again eagerly grazed by all 
classes of livestock. 

The leaves of Sandberg bluegrass are narrow, numerous, and 
mostly in a curly basal tuft. The stalks (culms) are rather delicate 
and, except for one or two short leaves, are naked. The flower heads 
(panicles, or inflorescence) are narrow and compact, not exceeding 
an inch in width even while blossoming. Unlike its relative, Ken- 
tucky bluegrass, it has no hair along the veins (nerves) of its 
flowers (florets), nor a tuft of cobwebby hairs at the base of the 
lower floret bracts (lemmas) . It does, however, have fine crisp hairs 
on the lower part of the lemma backs. Sandberg bluegrass does not 
have underground stems (rhizomes, or rootstocks) and, except for 
the vegetative increase in the size of the tufts, it must rely solely on 
seed for reproduction. A fair seed crop, unfortunately of low via- 
bility, is produced in the high mountains and, even at the lower ele- 
vations, seed viability of the species is only fair. Sandberg blue- 
grass much resembles, and is often mistaken for, the closely related 
pine bluegrass (P. scabrella) , though it is somewhat smaller, softer, 
and smoother than pine bluegrass. 


Sita'nion hys'trix 

Flower-head axis (rachis) 
jointed, breaking apart at joints 

Individual flower groups (spike- 
lets) usually 2 at each raehis 
joint, 2- to 6-flowered, stalkless 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts 
(glumes) slender, 2-nerved, 
sometimes 2-divided, extended 
into harsh beards (awns) 2 to 
3J in. long 

Outef flower bract (lemma) 
sometimes 2-toothed, tipped by 
spreading, harsh awn 1 to 3^ in. 

Flower head (spike) up to 8 in. 
long, often partly enclosed in up- 
per leaf sheath, densely flowered , 
bristly with spreading awns 

Stalks (culms) tufted, slender, 
up to 22 in. high, harsh near flower 
heads, with numerous, short, 
leafy, headless shoots at base 

Leaves narrow, flat or inrolled, 
usually rather stiff, erect or 
ascending, prominently veined, 
somewhat harsh above, usually 
smooth beneath, hairless to 
hairy.; sheaths overlapping, the 
basal ones papery 

Roots fibrous 

Bottlebrush squirreltail, sometimes called bristle grass, bushtail, and foxtail 
is a bright green, bristly headed, perennial bunch grass. The specific name 
Jiystriiff (Greek, meaning porcupine) was given to this species primarily because 
of its resemblance to the bottlebrush grasses (Hystrix spp.). Bottlebrush 
sqnirreltail is very variable and has been separated by some botanists into 
numerous "species." This differentiation has been based on such characters 
as size, coarseness, or slenderness of stems; length and shape (flat or iurolled) 

of the leaves; absence or presence, amount and kind of hairs on the leaves 
and sheaths ; the number of shoots produced by the plants ; presence of 
one (as contrasted with two) fertile spikelets at each joint of the rachis, and 
relative length of the awns as compared with the lemma. These characters 
so intergrade that the best current agrostological opinion prefers to regard 
The following as synonyms of 8'. hj/struc: 8. basalticola, 8. brei'ifolium, 8. 
califomicum, S. ciliattim, 8. cinereum, 8. elymsjidc*, 8. glabrum, 8. insulare, 
8. latifolium, 8. Ion-pi folium, 8. marffinatum, 8. minus, 8. moUe, 8. montanum, 
8. pubiflorum, 8. rigidum, 8. strigosum, and 8. velutinum. Under this larger 
concept, the range of this species extends from eastern Washington to South 
Dakota, Missouri, Kansas, Texas, and California. Bottlebrush squirreltail 
grows chiefly on dry, gravelly soils or in saline situations and is fairly com- 
mon in some localities common on hillsides and alkaline flats in grass, weed, 
and brush types. Occasionally it is abundant on small local areas, but is 
mainly of scattered occurrence. 

The palatability of bottlebrush squirreltail varies somewhat according to 
locality and season of the year. In general, it is fair, fairly good, or occasionally 
good cattle forage and fair sheep forage for spring and early summer use before 
the heads develop. In the mountains of Arizona, Utah, and Nevada it ordina- 
rily is grazed more freely than further north or in California. The bristly 
spikes are objectionable to livestock and, when present, the plant is little grazed. 
It tends to green up measurably with the advent of the fall rains and, if the 
objectionable heads have fallen, it is again grazed, use then largely depending 
upon the amount of other forage available. For example, in the desert regions 
of Utah and Nevada it classes as good fall and winter forage. On the Boise 
and Sawtooth National Forests of south central Idaho bottlebrush squirreltail is 
usually stunted, stemmy, and few-leaved, and better forage plants are associated 
with it. 

SQUIRRELTAILS (Sita'nion spp.) 

Sitanion is a small, western North American genus of three species of per- 
ennial bunchgrasses, according to conservative, present-day opinion. By far 
the most common and widely distributed of these species is bottlebrush squirrel- 
tail discussed in the foregoing paragraphs. Big squirreltail (8. jubatum), 
which is now considered to include 8. breviaristatum, 8. nwltisetum, and 
8. villosum, of the botanical manuals, ranges from Washington and California 
eastward to Idaho and New Mexico and is typical of dry, rocky soils, chiefly in 
the mountains. This is also a variable species, but ordinarily is the most robust 
member of the genus and has longer, thicker spikes and longer awns than the 
other species. It is distinguished from bottlebrush squirreltail by its glumes, 
which are divided into 3 to 12 long-awned lobes, those of bottlebrush squirrel- 
tail being entire or sometimes two-divided. 

Hansen squirreltail (8. han'seni), including 8. anomalum, 8. planifoliwn, and 
8. rubescens, the other member of the genus, is typically a west coast species 
ranging from Washington to California, but also occurring inland to Idaho and 
Nevada. This species has three-nerved glumes, either entire or once or twice 
divided, which distinguishes it from bottlebrush squirreltail and its two-nerved 
glumes. Both big squirreltail and Hansen squirreltail have practically the same 
palatability as bottlebrush squirreltail but ordinarily are less common and 
hence less important. 

The generic name Sitanion is derived from an ancient Greek plant name 
silanias used by Theophratus (third century, B. C.) to designate some plant, 
perhaps buckwheat from a stem word sitos, meaning grain, or food. Foxtail 
barley (Hordeum jubattuni) is the only common western range grass which 
closely resembles the squirreltails. The heads of foxtail barley, however, are 
somewhat more delicate, with smaller spikelets and finer awns than those of 
squirreltail. Furthermore, the awns of squirreltails are very rough, while when 
mature the awns of the glumes are bent and stand out at right angles to the 
axis of the head, being strikingly different from those of foxtail barley, which, 
although spreading, are scarcely bent. The three spikelets at each joint of the 
rachis of foxtail barley, with the central spikelet the only fertile one, is a 
positive distinction, as the squirreltails never have more than two spikelets at 
each, rachis joint, those spikelets invariably being fertile and several-flowered. 



Sporo' bolus spp. 

The dropseeds, a large genus of the redtop tribe (Agrostideae), 
containing about 36 species in the United States, are chiefly peren- 
nials, but a few species are annuals. Both the common and scientific 
names of the genus refer to the prompt dropping of the seed as it 
ripens (Greek spora, seed, and ballein, to cast forth). 

These plants grow mainly at lower elevations on desert, semi- 
desert, and plains. They are especially common in the Southwest 
and form a very important part of the forage on the lower ranges. 

Most of the dropseeds are bunchgrasses, but a few of the perennial 
species, such as Mississippi dropseed, or rushgrass (S. inacrus} and 
seashore dropseed, or rushgrass (S. virginicus), have creeping root- 
stocks (rhizomes). Practically all of the dropseeds produce an abun- 
dance of fairly viable long-lived seed, but the seed coats of mosb 
species are almost impervious to water and, when used in artificial 
reseeding, should be scarified for best results. Jackson 1 found that 
scratching or pricking the seed coats of Sporobolus seeds hastened 
germination greatly. Soaking affected the seed coat but little, and 
shaking in sand, even for 9 hours, had little effect. Alkali sacaton. 
Avas the only dropseed tested which did not require puncturing the 
seed coat for good germination. 

The large number of range dropseeds, their wide distribution, and 
the local abundance of several species give this genus a rather high 
forage rating, especially in the Southwest. Many of the dropseeds 
are good-sized, leafy grasses, and produce a large volume of forage. 
In general these plants are iairly palatable, although the foliage of 
most species tends to be rather too coarse to rank with that of some 
of the choice range grasses. However, black dropseed (S. inter- 
ruptus] is an exceptionally good species, highly relished by live- 
stock, and on some ranges sand dropseed (S. cryptandv'us) is rated 
as very good forage. A few species are so coarse and harsh that they 
are of little value as forage except while young. The palatability of 
dropseeds is greatest while the plants are young and succulent, but, 
as they cure well on the ground, the perennial species which do not 
become too harsh when mature furnish good winter forage. Some 
dropseeds are important on certain ranges because they thrive on 
dry, alkaline soils where other grasses will not grow. The few 
annual species of dropseed on our western ranges are unimportant as 
forage plants. They are small, low in palatability, and their abun- 
dance, depending upon the variation in climatic conditions, is very 
uncertain. Even during favorable years their -forage production ia 
very low. 

The flower heads (panicles) of the dropseeds are either spreading 
or spikelike. The small flowers and "seeds" are borne singly on a 
slender stem (in one-flowered spikelets), the "seeds" falling readily, 
leaving the empty lowest two flower bracts (glumes) attached to the 

Gaz. 86 : 270-294, illus. 1928. 

stein. The dropseeds resemble some species of redtop (Agrostis) 
and muhly grass (Muhlenbergia) , but are distinguishable from such 
species by the fruit. The one-nerved, awnless, thin, shining outer 
flower bract (lemma) is usually longer than (or at least as long as) 
the usually unequal glumes, and loosely encloses the grain until 
maturity, at which times the grain is allowed to fall free. In Muhl- 
enbergia the lemma closely envelops the grain and is awned (some- 
times only sharp-pointed). In Agrostis the glumes are nearly equal 
and are longer than the lemma. The stalks in many species of 
Sporobolus are solid (pithy, like cornstalks), which feature, though 
not common for the entire genus, may aid in distinguishing those 
species 'from redtops and many muhly grasses. Canfield 2 found that 
74 percent of the grasses on the Jornada experimental range, in 
southern New Mexico, where the dropseeds are well represented, have 
solid stems and states that 

The solid stem is characteristic of the grasses which are apparently best able 
to survive under the semiarid conditions of the Jornada region * * *. 
Hollow stemmed grasses have not the ability to withstand the long dry periods. 

He further suggests that the solid stem may be an index as to the 
suitability of grasses for introduction into semiarid regions. 

Bot. Gaz. 95(4) : 636-648, illus. 1934. 



Sporo'bolus airoi'des 

Flower head (panicle) spreading, 
pyramidal, 4 to 16 in. long 

Individual flower group (spikelet) 

"Seed", or fruit free from the flower 
bracts (lemma and palea) and loosely 
enclosed by the outer "seed" coat 

Flower bracts (l emrna an 

firm, without beards (awnless), smooth, 

about equal, lacking basal hairs 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
awnless, persistent; 1st glume % as long 
as lemma; 2d glume equal to the lemma 

Stalks (culms) ^stout, erect, 1 to 3 ft. 
tall, smooth, solid 

Leaves wide at the base, tapering to a 
long, slender point; sheaths smooth, 
sometimes sparsely but not densely 
hairy at the throat 

Roots coarse, fibrous 

Alkali sacaton, also known as bigplume bunchgrass, finetop saltgrass, and 
hairgrass dropseed, is a robust, perennial grass, widely distributed from Wash- 
ington to South Dakota, western Texas, and California, and south into Mexico. 
Throughout its northern range this grass grows very scatteringly and is of 

little importance, but in Hie Southwest it occurs in sufficient abundance to be 
of considerable importance as a forage plant. Its most common habitat is 
the lower, slightly moist, alkaline flats where it frequently develops in almost 
pure stands. Although this species will endure much alkali, it is not restricted 
to alkaline soils but grows on rocky sites, open plains, valleys, and bottom lands, 
and is common in scattered stands along drainages in the desert and semi- 
desert areas. It abounds on some of the lower, open plains of New Mexico 
and Arizona and, not infrequently, occurs along the roadsides and fences of 
cultivated areas. Other species of Sporobolus, tobosa (Hilaria mutica), galleta 
(H. jamesii), and side-oats grama (Boutcloua curtipcndula) are commonly 
associated with alkali sacaton. 

An abundance of herbage is produced by this species, which is eaten freely by 
cattle and horses and, in the absence of more palatable forage, is often utilized 
closely. To obtain the maximum use of alkali sacaton, it should be grazed 
during the growing season, because the foliage becomes coarse, tough, and 
unpalatable as it matures and does not provide good winter forage, although 
it has some value at that time if there is a dearth of other forage. In some 
parts of the Southwest, where moisture is adequate to produce a good cover, 
patches of alkali sacaton are fenced for pasture and, if the species is kept 
closely cropped, it affords good grazing. Wooton and Standley 1 state: 

It is said to be detrimental to sheep at certain stages of its development, causing 
them to bloat. 

Griffiths, Bidwell, and Goodrich 2 report : 

In the Pecos Valley of New Mexico injury has been done to cattle by allowing them 
to graze upon this grass at certain seasons of the year. It is the opinion of close 
observers, however, that the grass was not at fault, but that the injury was done by the 
soluble salts of the soil, these salts, by creeping up the grass stems during moist weather 
and by being eaten along with the grass, produce the deleterious effects. 

In this connection, it is of interest to note that the chemical analyses of 
alkali sacaton 2 show a conspicuously high mineral (ash) content. 

This species is typically a bunchgrass but, in moist sites, the plants develop 
extensive stooling, which measurably facilitates the perpetuation of the species, 
and increases its resistance to grazing. Alkali sacaton produces an abundant 
supply of exceptionally long-lived seed, which enable this species to extend 
its stand rather vigorously on favorable areas. According to Campbell : 3 

Its seeds remain viable for several years, because of the hard, waxy seed coats. Seeds 
collected in 1925 and tested that year showed only 77 percent germination, whereas 100 
percent germination was obtained from the same sample a year later. 

Jackson 4 found that the seed coats of alkali sacaton were more permeable 
than the seed coats of the other four southwestern species of Sporobolus 
tested, and was the only one which did not require pricking or scarifying the 
seed coats to expedite satisfactory germination. This species withstands the 
encroachment of shifting sand better than most of its grass associates, and 
is a very good soil binder. 

Alkali sacaton has deep, coarse roots, and often pronounced stooling, which 
sometimes gives the appearance of short, thick rootstocks. The stems are 
smooth, solid, stout, leafy, 1 to 3 feet high, are spreading at the base and 
grow in dense bunches commonly from 8 to 12 inches in diameter. On the 
more favorable sites, when not overgrazed, it may sometimes form a uniform 
cover approaching a sod. The numerous basal leaves are up to 18 inches 
long and about one-eighth of an inch wide at the base and taper to long, 
slender, inrolled points. The leaf blades are smooth beneath but rough above, 
with the sheaths sparsely hairy at the throat. The upper leaf sheath some- 
times loosely encloses the base of the much branched and usually widely 
spreading panicle. Alkali sacaton is similar to sacaton, although smaller 
and less coarse throughout. 

1 Wooton, E. O., and Standley, P. C. THE GRASSES AND GRASS-LIKE PLANTS OP NEW 
MEXICO. N. Mex. A>*r. Expt. Sta. Bull. 81, [176] pp., illus. 1912. 

2 Griffiths, D., Bidwell, G. L., and Goodrich, C. E. NATIVE PASTURE GRASSES OP THE 
UNITED STATES. U. S. Dept. Agr. Bull. 201, 52 pp., illus. 1915. 

NEW MEXICO. Jour. Agr. Research [U. S.] 43:1027-1051, illus. 1931. 

86 : 270-294, illus. 1928. 



Sporo'bolus cryptan'drus 

Flower head (panicle) partly enclosed 
m the topmost leaf sheath, spreading 
above, lead-colored or purplish, 3 to 14 
in. long 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) ' 

"Seed" free from the flower bracts 
(lemma and palea) and loosely enclosed 
in the outer "seed" coat (pericarp) 

Flower bracts (lemma and palea) thin, 
firm, hairless, nearly equal, 1-veined, 
lacking bristles (awns) 'and basal hairs 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
very unequal, sharp-pointed, harsh on 
the keel; 2d glume about as long as 
flower bracts 

Stalks (culms) tufted, smooth, solid, 
leafy, \% to 3% ft. high 

Leaves up to 12 in. long, flat; sheaths 
densely bearded at the throat, the 
upper ones somewhat overlapping 

Roots perennial, fibrous; rootetocks 

Sand dropseed, a tufted perennial, is widely distributed, occurring 
from Maine to Washington, Arizona, Mexico, Texas, and North 
Carolina. Although this species is common in all the western range 
States, except California, it is most important in the Southwest and 
in certain parts of the Snake, Salmon, and Clearwater river drain- 
ages in Idaho and Oregon. It most commonly appears at Blower 
elevations and, as the common name implies, on sandy soils; it also 
grows on dry coarse soils up to an elevation of 8,000 feet. In its 
northern range sand dropseed occurs scatteringly with downy chess 
(Brorrws tectorum), bluebunch wheatgrass (Agropyron spicatum,), 
and Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis] , and grows sparsely in the 
sagebrush type on plains and foothills and in canyons throughout the 
Great Basin. However, on sandy plains, mesas, and foothills in the 
woodland and ponderosa pine belts, it is common and is frequently 
associated in the Southwest with oaks, side-oats, and other gramas, 
muhly grasses, and beardgrasses (Andropogon spp.). 

Sand dropseed produces a fairly large amount of foliage which is 
palatable to all classes of livestock. Its palatability, depending upon 
the association in which it occurs, is rated from fair to good on 
properly grazed range in the Southwest, but in Idaho this perennial 
is considered very good. In many places this species has been killed 
out on overgrazed range because of continued close cropping. The 
herbage cures rather well on the ground and furnishes fair to fairly 
good winter forage. This plant is a prolific seeder and, when 
protected or grazed properly, tends to increase on depleted range. 

On the Nezperce National Forest, Idaho, sand dropseed occurs as 
scattered bunches or in large patches within heavy stands of downy 
chess and is rapidly replacing that less desirable species according 
to careful observers. The seeds, which mature in late summer or 
early fall, are produced in abundance and are remarkably long-lived, 
as shown by Gross x who found that the seed of sand dropseed had, 
in some samples, a high germination after having been buried in 
pots at 42 inches below the ground surface for 20 years. The highest 
germination out of 6 samples was 74.5 percent and the average of 
the 6 samples was about 26 percent. This was the highest germina- 
tion secured from the 22 grasses used in the experiment. The seed 
coat of sand dropseed is very hard, and scarifying the seed before 
planting results in better germination. 

Sand dropseed has erect or sometimes spreading, leafy, solid 
(pithy, like cornstalks) stems, often spreading at the base. The 
uppermost leaf sheaths partially, often almost entirely, enclose the 
panicle. The portion of the panicle not enclosed is somewhat 
spreading and open but is usually rather narrow. The panicle 
branches are densely flowered, often in pairs and sometimes 
hairy at the axils. The spikelets are less than one-eighth of an 
inch long, lead-colored, with unequal glumes one about as long as 
the lemma and the other about half as long. Often after maturity 
a large amount of seed will be found in the enveloping leaf sheath. 

1 Goss, W. L. THE VITALITY OP BURIED SEEDS. Jour. A.a;r. Research [U. S.] 29 : 349-362. 



Sporo'bolus interrup'tus 

Flower head (panicle) dark-colored, 
narrow but loosely flowered, 4 to 7 in. 
long, with short, slightly spreading 
branches, free from the top leaf sheath 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 
about % in. long, 1-flowered, borne 
toward ends of branches 

Outer flower bract (lemma) 1-veined, 
lacking hairs at the base, sharp-pointed 

Inner flower bract (palea) similar to 
lemma, but slightly notched at the tip 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
thin, sharp-pointed, shorter than the 
lemma and palea, unequal; 1st glume 
% to K as long as 2d 

"Seed", or fruit free from the flower 
bracts (lemma and palea), loosely en- 
closed in the outer "seed" coat (pericarp) 

Stalks (culms) unbranched, solid, 1 to 
2K ft. tall 

Leaves flat or folded, somewhat rigid, 
mostly less than % the length of culm; 
sheaths soft-hairy at the throat 

Roots: fibrous 

Black dropseed, also called black sporobolus because of its dark- 
colored panicle, is an erect, densely tufted perennial with bright, 
light green foliage. This species is limited in distribution to Ari- 
zona and grows on thinly wooded areas, open parks and hillsides 
chiefly in the ponderosa pine and upper woodland belt of the Colo- 
rado Plateau south of Flagstaff, and in the White Mountains. 

Although preferring the better loam soils on comparatively level 
sites, black dropseed also grows on a wide variety of soils from 
clayey to somewhat rocky, and is not uncommon on moderately 
steep slopes at elevations of from. 6,000 to 8,000 feet. It sometimes 
occurs abundantly over rather extensive areas in nearly pure stands, 
or else associated with other grasses, particularly blue grama (Bou- 
teloua gracitis), fescues (Festuca spp.), bluestem (Agropyron 
smithii), and mountain muhly (Muhlenberyia, montana). 

This plant is one of the most palatable grasses of the Southwest 
and is a key species on ranges where it occurs in sufficient abundance 
to be of importance. It is always grazed closely and is preferred to 
any of its associates. Black dropseed produces a fairly large volume 
of foliage which greens up early and retains its palatability through- 
out the grazing season. Talbot and Hill * report : 

Black sporobolus * * * showed a net gain of almost as much under 
overgrazing as under fence, indicating its high resistance to heavy grazing. 
* * * The data are meager and the tendencies seem puzzling at first glance, 
but by the aid of wider observations it is believed that the same rule will 
probably apply to this grass as to blue grama, i. e., it will thrive under proper 
intensity of grazing and resist overgrazing in marked degree, but can be killed 
out by long continued overgrazing. 

When not grazed too closely, black dropseed produces a large 
amount of viable seed which assists in the satisfactory reproduction 
of the species. Management should be such as to encourage the 
spread of this valuable grass. Reseeding experiments are now being 
made with black dropseed to increase its abundance and extend its 
range. These plantings are giving some promise of success, but the 
cost of seed collection is rather high. 

Black dropseed can usually be distinguished from other drop- 
seeds by its rather narrow, brownish, lead-colored panicle, its bright, 
light green foliage, and by the spikelets which are exceptionally 
large for a dropseed, being about one-fourth of an inch long. The 
panicle branches are short, alternate, and densely flowered near the 
tips but bare along the lower portions. With the autumn frosts, the 
foliage fades to a yellowish green color. 

There has been considerable difference in opinion in the litera- 
ture as to whether this grass possesses rootstocks. The fact that it 
forms a sod over small areas has led to the common belief that 
rootstocks are present. Actually, however, the plant does not have 
rootstocks, and the sod-forming habit is made possible by excep- 
tionally pronounced stooling. The repeated development of new 
shoots from the base of the culms gives the appearance of short 
stout rootstocks. 

In an unpublished note regarding this species, R. R. Hill, assistant 
chief of range management, United States Forest Service, states : 

Black sporobolus is, in my judgment, the best grass that grows within its 
limited range ; the most palatable season-long to all classes of livestock ; very 
resistant to drought and grazing and capable of spreading vegetatively (I 
believe it has possibilities as a lawn grass). It greens up early and remains 
so continuously until late in the season. It richly deserves extensive experi- 

NATIONAL FOREST. 33 pp. 1923. [Unpublished ms.] 



Sporo'bolus microsper'mus, syn. 5. confu'sus 

Flower head (panicle) open, 
diffusely and finely branched, 
often more than half the.' length, 
of the plant ' 

y/f* Individual flower groups (spike-; 

.ton lets) 1-flowered, purplish, less 

// .than H in- long 

"Seed", or fruit free from the 
flower bracts (lemma and palea) 
and loosely enclosed in the 
outer "seed" coat (pericarp) 

Flower bracts (lemma and 
palea) nearly equal and simi- 
lar, firm, blunt-pointed 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts 
(glumes) nearly equal, the tips 
usually blunt, shorter than the 
flower bracts 

Stalks (culms) tufted, freely 
branching below, up to 10 
(rarely 15) in. high 

Leaves few, usually less than 
2 in. long 

Roots annual, fine, fibrous 

Sixweeks dropseed, also called tufted annual dropseed and six- 
weeks sporobolus, is one of the few annual species of Sporobolus and 
it is the only common and abundant one of our western ranges. This 
delicate grass grows in small, few-leaved tufts which often appear as 
fine, bushy masses of panicles. The specific name microspermus, 
meaning small seed (micrvs, small; sperma, seed), is aptly chosen 
for this grass. The common phrase sixweeks is often applied, espe- 
cially in the Southwest, to short-lived annual plants whose growth 
period, from germination to dissemination and death, usually occupies 
only about. 6 weeks or so. 

Sixweeks dropseed is widely distributed, occurring from Washing- 
ton to Montana, western Texas, and California, and south into Mexico, 
but is most common and abundant in the Southwest. It varies widely 
in habitat but is very common along the edges of streams and in 
moist places in the woodland and ponderosa pine belts, and some- 
times at higher elevations. In the Southwest it occurs sporadically 
on a wide variety of soils and sites, but is commonest on moist, sandy, 
gravelly, or clayey loam soils in sheltered places and rocky cliffs at 
elevations from 3,000 to 9,500 feet. 

The abundance of this annual, as is the case with most annuals, 
depends largely upon climatic conditions and the extent of depletion 
of the normal plant cover. It produces a very plentiful supply of 
seed when conditions are favorable and, when summer rains are ade- 
quate, it springs up abundantly in open sites and on bare ground. 
At times it comes in thickly on open, overgrazed areas during favor- 
able growing seasons. Sixweeks dropseed is often associated with 
weeds and other annual grasses and also occurs sparsely with sedges 
(Carex spp.}, gramas (Bouteloua spp.), hilarias (Hilaria spp.), and 
other perennial grasses. 

Although sixweeks dropseed is worthy of mention here chiefly 
because of its commonness and local abundance, its forage value is 
slight or distinctly minor. The larger plants may be grazed to some 
extent but, because of its very small size, sparse leafage, and bushy 
panicles, it is ordinarily unattractive to grazing animals. If grazed 
early in the season it may furnish a small amount of fair forage in 
the absence of more palatable plants. 

This grass has a few narrow leaves from 1 to 2i/ inches long, and 
several to many slender, often poorly developed stems 2 to 10 inches 
high; occasionally, however, under favorable conditions, relatively 
luxuriant growth, as much as 15 inches high, may occur. The 
panicles are spreading, with many very fine branches, and are often 
more than half the length of the entire plant. Frequently, the 
upper two-thirds of the plant is a fine, loose mass of flowers or seeds. 


Sporo'bolus wrigh'tii 


Flower head (panicle) oblong 
in outline, commonly 1 to 2 
(occasionally 2.'.?) ft. long, erect, 
with ascending or spreading 

Individual flower groups (spike- 
lets) 1 -flowered, numerous 

Flower bracts (lemma and pa- 
lea) firm, thin, about equal, 
longer than the glumes, smooth, 
without bristles, lacking basal 
haiis; "seed" free from the 
flov.-er bracts and loosely en- 
closed by the outer "seed" coat 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts 
(glumes) unequal, without 
bristles (awnless), persistent 

Leaves narrow, the margins 
inrolled, 1 to 2 (occasionally 
3%) ft. long; sheaths smooth 
or sparingly hairy at the throat 

Stalks (culms) stout, tufted, 
erect, 2 to 6 (occasionally 8) ft. 
tall, leafy, solid 

Hoots perennial, coarse, 

Sacaton is an exceptionally robust perennial bimchgrass, occur- 
ring from Arizona to western Texas and south into Mexico, mainly 
on low, alluvial flats, bottomlands, and arroyos subject to flooding. 
In such locations it is sometimes abundant. Unlike its relative, al- 
kali sacaton (/$>. airoides), this species will not grow on soils which 
are highly impregnated with alkali and it is more exacting in its 
water requirements, although fairly drought-resistant after becom- 
ing established. Griffiths, Bidwell, and Goodrich 1 state: 

In former times it (i. e., sacaton) was a beautiful, characteristic species of 
the river bottoms of the Southwest, forming dense growths 6 and even 8 feet 
in height, through which it was difficult to ride on horseback * * * As near 
as can be judged, it made a quite uniform stand over portions of the Santa 
Cruz bottoms in southern Arizona in early days, but of late years it grows 
almost invariably in large tussocks and at present there is very little of it left. 

The young shoots of sacaton are highly relished early in the season by cattle 
and horses. Their popularity declines measurably as they become coarse and 
tough with maturity. Stockmen sometimes burn off the coarse, dead stems* in 
late winter to increase the accessibility of the early growth for livestock. A 
large volume of herbage is produced which cures well and constitutes fairly 
good winter forage, despite its coarseness. If cut at the right time and cured 
properly, sacaton furnishes good, nutritious hay, especially for horses, as indi- 
cated by the relatively high protein and carbohydrate content shown in the 
following analysis made in the Bureau of Chemistry and Soils. United States 
Department of Agriculture : 1 Ash, 8.53 percent ; ether extract, 1.70 percent ; crude 
fiber, 32.27 percent; nitrogen-free extract. 47.93 percent; pentosans, a form of 
carbohydrates, 25.89 percent ; protein, 9.57 percent. The analyses were made 
of air-dry material cut 4 inches above ground at the flowering period. 

Sacaton is promising for cultivation on restricted areas which depend on 
floodwater for moisture and which are otherwise too dry for alfalfa and other 
more desirable crops. 2 This grass is a long-lived plant and produces an abun- 
dance of viable seed, which sprouts readily under proper moisture conditions. 
Thornber, 3 in a reseeding experiment with sacaton during a favorable year, 
secured practically no growth on areas receiving only the annual rainfall, 
although good stands of sacaton seedlings resulted on the lower adjacent areas 
that were occasionally flooded with stonn water. On many areas where sacaton 
was once fairly abundant it now occurs sparsely, because of overgrazing. Under 
heavy grazing trails are trampled through stands of sacaton and tussocks are 
formed. When overgrazing is continued, rain and floodwater cut the trails 
deeper and deeper until the tussocks are finally left high and dry and eventually 
die. Russell 4 states that until sacaton was exterminated from the river banks, 
where most of their villages are located, the Pima Indian women made hair 
brushes from the roots of this grass. 

Sacaton is similar to alkali sacaton, with which it is sometimes confused on 
the range, but typically is a much larger and coarser grass, growing in dense 
clumps, often forming hummocks 1 to 2 feet in diameter, with exceptionally 
robust leafy stalks 2 to 6 (commonly 5 and occasionally as much as 8) feet tall. 
The panicle of sacaton is generally 1 to 2 feet long, somewhat oblong-shaped, 
and densely flowered, while the panicle of alkali sacaton is commonly 4 to 16 
inches long, pyramidal-shaped, and less densely flowered. 

Sacaton is a Mexican name which appears to be derived from the word zacate, 
a grass or grass forage. The ending on gives it the meaning, a coarse grass, 
which is aptly applied to this species. There is a town named Sacaton, in Final 
County, Ariz., which appears to be named after this grass, although there is 
a small village of the same name in Spain of which it may be a namesake. 

1 Griffiths, D., Bidwell, G. L., and Goodrich, C. E. NATIVE PASTURE GRASSES OF THE 
UNITED STATES. U. S. Dept. Agr. Bull. 201, 52 pp., illus. 1915. 

2 Wooton, E. O., and Standley, P. C. THE GRASSES AND GRASS-LIKE PLANTS OF NEW 
MEXICO. N. Mex. Agr. Expt. Sta. Bull. 81: [176] pp., illus. 1912. 

3 Thornber J. J. THE GRAZING RANGES OF ARIZONA. Ariz. Agr. Expt. Sta. Bull. 65 : 
[245]-360, iilus. 1910. 

1 Russell, F. THE PIMA INDIANS. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Ann. Kept. (1904-05) 26 : 
3-[390], illus. 1908. 


Sti'pa spp. 

Needlegrasses are chiefly perennial bunchgrasses and are of world- 
wide distribution in temperate regions, mainly on plains and steppes. 
The genus belongs to the redtop tribe (Agrostideae) and includes a 
large number of species (about 100), of which about 30 (all peren- 
nials) occur in the West. The scientific name Stipa is from the 
Greek word stupe (tow, the coarse part of flax), referring to the 
feathery beards (awns) of some species. A number of our range 
species of Stipa, such as sleepygrass and needle-and-thread, have 
individual names, but most of them are called needlegrasses. The 
name porcupinegrass is sometimes applied to the whole genus but 
is best restricted to those species (particularly S. spartea) which 
have very large, coarse, and quill-like awns. A few species have 
conspicuously feathery (plumose) awns and are called feather- 
grasses; some of these are cultivated as ornamentals. 

The needlegrasses are widely distributed over the Western States 
from the Great Plains to the Pacific coast but are most common and 
abundant in the Great Basin and in the Southwest. They also ex- 
tend north into Canada and south into Chile. The number of species 
increases from north to south, the approximate distribution being 
as follows : Alaska, 1 species ; Washington, 8 ; Utah and Nevada, 18, 
and Arizona, New Mexico, and California, about 15 each. 

Taken as a group, the needlegrasses rank fairly high as forage 
plants on our western ranges. Their foliage tends to be somewhat 
wiry and occasionally coarse, especially when mature, lessening the 
palatability to some extent. On the other hand, their foliage usually 
remains green over a long growing period and cures well on the 
ground, making the needlegrasses valuable for late fall and winter 
grazing. Moreover, their abundance, wide distribution, and leafiness 
enhance their value. Most of them are prolific seeders, have deep, 
fibrous roots, and withstand grazing well. 

The seeds are mechanically injurious to grazing animals. They 
sometimes work into the tissues of the mouth and tongue and also 
into the ears and nose of livestock and game animals, causing con- 
siderable trouble. Some of the Old World species of Stipa are 
poisonous and produce a narcotic effect upon grazing animals. Thus 
far only one of our native range species, sleepygrass (S. robusta, 
syn. S. vaseyi}, has been found to be poisonous. Knowledge of the 
genus is not sufficiently complete to warrant the assumption that 
other western species are wholly free from narcotic properties, al- 
though there now appears to be no reason for suspecting any except 
sleepygrass. A European species, S. tenatissima, together with 
Lygewm, spartiim, make up the esparto of commerce, used in the 
manufacture chiefly of paper, and also of cordage, coarse cloth, 
shoes, and baskets. 1 

1 Lamson-Scribner. P. ECONOMIC GRASSES. U. S. Dept. Agr., Div. Agrost. Bull. 14, 
rev., 85 pp., illus. 1900. 

Needlegrasses have narrow or inrolled leaves and usually narrow, 
but open, occasionally spreading flower heads (panicles). The most 
outstanding feature by which the needlegrasses may be distinguished 
is the long, single beard (awn) which is twisted, bent, and, though 
securely attached at the tip of the "seed", has a distinct line of union. 
The "seeds" are hard, slender, and cylindrical (not plump as in rice- 
grass (Oryzopsis spp.)), and have a sharp-pointed base (callus) 
covered with fine, rather stiff, short hairs. This sharp point, witli 
the accompanying hairs, aids effectively in planting and burying the 
seed. The process of self -planting is furthered by the long awn 
which reacts readily to moisture, untwisting when wet and twisting 
again when dry, thus screwing the seeds into the soil. Each seed 
is borne in a separate spikelet end singly on a slender stem (pedicel) ; 
the two spikelet bracts (glumes) are very thin, of about equal length, 
and remain attached to the stem after the seed has fallen. 



Sti'pa columbia'na, syn. S. mi'nor 

Flower head (panicle) narrow, spike- 
like, often purplish, up. to 8 in. long, 
not enclosed in leaf sheath when mature 


IKj Individual flower groups (spikelets) 
JKy 1-flowered, short-stalked 

Stalks (culms) tufted, erect, up to 32 in. 
(or as much as 40 in. in var. nelsoni) high, 
with few, often purplish joints (nodes) 

Leaves flat or sometimes inrolled when . 

dry, hairless; sheaths hairless; collar 
/ (ligule) at junction of blade and sheath 
/ very short 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
about ?g in. long, narrow, tapering to a 
fine point, persistent after "seed" falls 

Outer flower bract Gemma) firm, about 
% in. long, evenly covered with short, soft 
hairs throughout, tipped with a securely 
attadhed beard (awn); awn twice-bent, 
twisted below, % to IK (usually % to 1) 
in. long, not at all feathery 

"Seed" (caryopsis) hard, cylindrical, 
with sharp-pointed, bearded base (cal- 
lus), closely enfolded by tb<j lemma 

Roots fibrous 

Subalpine needlegrass, also called Columbia needlegrass, and small mountain 
porcupinegrass or hairgrass, is one of the fine-leaved, slender-stemmed needle- 
grasses. This species grows in all 11 western range States, having the central 
Rocky Mountain as its center of distribution. This grass inhabits dry soils 
in canyons, and on open hillsides, mountain parks and plains. It is common 
from the upper sagebrush and woodland types to the dry, open parks and hill- 
sides at subalpine elevations, and is often associated with lanceleaf yellow- 
brush (Chrysothanwus lanceolatus) , bluegrasses (Poo, spp.), western yarrow 
(Achillea lanulosa), and other grasses and weeds. 

Although the palatability of this needlegrass, under different conditions, 
varies from fair to very good, it is usually good forage for all classes of 
livestock. Cattle and horses, as a rule, graze it a little more closely than do 
sheep. On some ranges, especially where a shortage of highly palatable forage 
exists, subalpine needlegrass is grazed very closely. The fairly large amount 
of fine leafage produced remains green throughout the growing season and 
sometimes even until snow falls, thereby increasing the palatability of this 
grass to cattle and horses. The plant is particularly palatable in the spring 
and early summer. 

At the limits of its range, subalpine needlegrass grows mainly in scattered 
stands, but through the central Rocky Mountains it is abundant over large 
areas and is a valuable forage plant for spring use on lambing grounds as well 
as for cattle and horses. Subalpine needlegrass often occurs abundantly on 
ranges where wheatgrass and bluegrass have been killed out by excessive use. 
It is considered a valuable replacement plant under such conditions. This 
grass is among the last of the fairly good grasses to disappear from the range 
under serious overgrazing and is among the first to reappear with the im- 
provement of badly depleted areas. Subalpine needlegrass withstands heavy 
grazing by sheep in the central Rockies because its "seeds", although not trouble- 
some, are usually left to mature. However, in the Southwest, where this grass 
occurs rather scatteringly and with less palatable species, it is sometimes 
cropped so closely that seed maturity is prevented and, under such use, it is 
rather easily killed out. 

Sampson 1 lists subalpine needlegrass as one of the most important and valu- 
able species of his so-called porcupinegrass-yellowbrush consociation (mixed 
grass and weed stage), in the Intermountain Region. He states that the cover 
of small mountain porcupinegrass (i. e., . columbiana) and yellowbrush 
(Chrysothamnus lanceolatus) next to the wheatgrass consociation, constitutes 
the highest and most stable forage type. Accordingly where conditions become 
unfavorable to the maintenance of the wheatgrass cover but not so adverse as 
drastically to change the fertility and available water content of the soil, 
porcupinegrass (i. e., S. columMana) and yellowbrush soon gain dominion. 

Subalpine needlegrass is a variable species, and has been divided by some 
authors into two or more species. The best current authorities now recognize 
only one variety, 8. columMana nelsoni. This variety differs chiefly in its larger 
size (up to 40 inches tall), broader culm blades, and larger, denser panicle. 

In Montana, spike oat (Avena hookeri) is sometimes confused on the range with sub- 
alpine needlegrass because of a general similarity in appearance. They may be readily 
distinguished, as the spikelets of spike oat are two- to several-flowered, the glumes are 
longer than the florets, and the awn, though twisted and bent, is attached to the back of 
the lemma. 

Letterman needlegrass (8. letter ma' ni) is very similar to subalpine needlegrass botani- 
cally and economically, and it is often difficult to distinguish between the two in the field. 
The distribution of the two species is about the same, but Letterman needlegrass is less 
abundant at the northern and southern extremities of their range and does not extend to 
as high altitudes. Letterman needlegrass, however, is not uncommon in the spruce-fir 
zone, extends down into the sagebrush areas, and is an abundant and valuable plant on 
many ranges. 

The forage value of Letterman needlegrass is usually rated approximately equal to that 
of subalpine needlegrass, varying from fair to very good. However, being a little smaller 
and more delicate, some observers rate it slightly higher than its dose relative. 

Letterman needlegrass differs from subalpine needlegrass in being somewhat smaller 
(8 to 24 inches high), with very narrow, tightly inrolled leaves, 2 to 8 inches long, form- 
ing a rather crowded tuft at the base of the slender, wiry culms. The panicles are usually 
shorter and fewer-flowered, the seeds slightly smaller, and the glumes slender, thin, and 
prominently nerved on the back. 

Agr. Bull. 791, 76 pp., illus. 1919. 



Sti'pa coma'ta 

Flower head (panicle) 5 to 10 in. long, 
open, often loosely spreading, the base 
usually enclosed by uppermost .leaf 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 
1-flowered, borne toward the ends of 
panicle branches 




Outer flower bract (lemma) firm, pale,, 
without tuft of hairs at apex, about }i 
in. long, awn-tipped; awn securely at- 
tached, commonly 4 to 5 (occasionally 
9) in. long, wavy and indistinctly bent, 
the lower part tightly twisted and 
sparsely short-hairy, the upper part 
harsh and hairless 

"Seed" (caryopsis) hard, cylindrical, 
with a long, sharp-pointed, bearded 
base (callus), closely enfolded by lemma 

Stalks (culms) 1 to 4 ft. high, erect, 
rather stout, leafy. 

Leaves harsh, flat or with inrolled 
edges; sheaths loose, hairless, the up- 
permost inflated; collar (ligule), at 
junction of blade and sheath, conspic- 
uous, K to % in. long 

Roots fibrous 

/ *- Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
J nearly equal, about % to 1 in. > long, 
. / / 5-nerved, papery, narrow,' tapering to 
l/\| soft bristlelike point, persistent after 

Needle-and-thread, an erect leafy bunchgrass, 1 to 4 feet high, is 
so named because of its most distinguishing feature, the exception- 
ally long, twisted, and tapering beards (awns) which suggest a 
threaded sewing needle. The specific name comata, from the Latin 
coma, head of hair ; also refers to the effect of a tangled head of these 
awns. The plant is also called long-awned porcupmegrass, common 
or western needlegrass, sandgrass, and silkgrass. This grass is very 
widely distributed over the Western States and the Great Plains and 
also occurs in the upper valley of the Yukon. It is common on dry, 
sandy, or gravelly plains, mesas, and foothills and sometimes extends 
into the mountains up to elevations between 4.000 and 8,500 feet. It 
commonly occurs in the sagebrush, juniper-pinon, and ponderosa 
pine types of the Rocky Mountains and on semidesert plains and 
foothills of the Southwest. 

The forage value of needle-and-thread varies in different regions, 
at different seasons, and with varied plant associates. In the South- 
west and California, it is rated very high during the early season 
before the beards (awns) develop, and again after the seeds are 
dropped. This grass is valuable because it begins growth early in 
the spring when other grasses are dry. Furthermore, it greens up 
and produces new growth in summer and fall with the advent of 
sufficient precipitation. In some sections of the Southwest and Cali- 
fornia, it is grazed so closely that its extermination threatens because 
of deficient seed production. An abundance of leafage is produced 
which remains green during most of the grazing season, cures rather 
well and often is closely eaten on winter ranges. It is cut for hay 
in parts of eastern Wyoming, the Dakotas, and Nebraska where it 
rates as very good forage. When found in mixture with an abun- 
dance of choice forage, it is considered only fairly good spring and 
fall feed, as compared with other grasses, because of its coarseness 
and the tendency of the leaves to toughen rather early. If grazing 
occurs while the "seeds" are mature and before they are dropped, they 
may be mechanically injurious, especially to sheep. 

This species is a deep-rooted bunchgrass which depends upon seed for repro- 
duction. Although it does not reproduce readily 011 the drier ranges and is 
rather easily killed out by overuse, in the more favorable areas it usually repro- 
duces very well and satisfactorily withstands heavy grazing in spring and fall 
when the plants are allowed to mature seed during the summer. 

The basal leaf blades of needle-and-thread are narrow, usually inrolled, and 
3 to 12 inches long; the stem leaves are shorter and broader. The uppermost 
leaf sheath is elongated and loosely encloses the base of the panicle. The 
panicle is 5 to 10 inches long, loosely spreading, with one-flowered spikelets 
(i. e., each flower or seed is borne singly) out near the ends of long branches. 
The "seeds" are about three-eights of an inch in length, tipped with a slender 
awn commonly 4 to 5, but occasionally as much as 9, inches long. The lower 
part of the awn, below the bend, is tightly twisted and has some very fine soft 
hairs. The upper part is rough to the touch, nearly straight or only slightly 
twisted, and tapers gradually to a fine point. Seed matures in midsummer 
and drops in late summer or early fall. 

New Mexican feathergrass (S. neomexicdna) , also known as New Mexican 
needlegrass and porcupinegrass, is very closely related to needle-and-thread both 
botanically and economically, differing from it mainly in having a distinctly 
feathery awn (beard). This species is found from Colorado and Utah to Cali- 
fornia and western Texas. It was originally known from New Mexico, to which 
its English and scientific names refer. 



Sti'pa occidenta'lis, syn. S. oregonen'sis 

Flower head (panicle) loosely spike- 
like, up to 9 in. long 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 1- 
flowered, on erect stalks 

Outer flower bract (lemma) about }{ 
in. long, fine-hairy, closely enclosing 
the "seed" (caryopsis), tipped by a 
twice-bent beard (awn); awn twisted, 
feathery to 2d bend, 1 to 1% in. long, 
jointed at point 'of attachment to 
lemma, persistent 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
nearly equal, a little less than M in. 
long, thin, 3-veined, sharp-pointed, 
hairless, persistent after "seed" has 

Stalks (culms) tufted at base, slender, 
erect, 1 to 2% ft. high, hairless 

Leaves mainly . basal, narrow, with 
inrolled edges; sheaths hairless; collar 
(ligule) between blade and sheath very 
short and inconspicuous (fa in- long or 

Roots fibrous, deep-reaching 

Western needlegrass, often called western porcupinegrass, grows 
from, about 1 to 2^ feet high in fairly small clumps and, as the 
names (both scientific and common) imply, is a western species rang- 
ing from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho to Wyoming and Cali- 
fornia. It usually inhabits dry, well-drained soil on plains, ridges 
and in open, timber types, extending from the upper foothills into 
the higher mountains. It usually occurs in scattered clumps but 
sometimes forms the most conspicuous vegetation on restricted areas 
of open hillsides and ridgetops. 

Like many of the needlegrasses, this species starts growth early, 
is slow in maturing, and remains green until late in the season 
usually until fall. It produces a fairly large amount of leafage 
which is usually of good, although not choice, palatability for all 
classes of livestock. Its highest palatability is in the spring and 
early summer while the plants are young and succulent. As the 
species matures, the leaves become somewhat tough for sheep but are 
still grazed to some extent even after that condition develops. The 
value of western needlegrass as forage is relatively higher in the 
fall than in midsummer because it remains green after most of the 
grasses have dried up. Although the seeds apparently are not in- 
jurious, grazing animals avoid them when they begin to mature. 
Livestock, especially sheep, sometimes graze the leaves closely, leav- 
ing the stems untouched. Since a good share of the seed, which is 
usually of fair viability, is left to mature, reproduction is commonly 
fairly good, although this species is not so aggressive as some of the 
other needlegrasses. Western needlegrass has a spreading and 
deeply penetrating root system which makes it resistant to trampling 
and capable of withstanding considerable drought. "Its seedlings 
develop somewhat deeper roots than do the majority of the species, 
and because of this fact they have thrived during dry periods in 
certain places where other species able to exist in soils of slightly 
lower water content have died." 1 

This grass has numerous narrow, inrolled leaves crowded at the base. Al- 
though mostly basal, a few leaves also occur on the slender stems. The leaf 
sheaths are not hairy. The panicle is loose but narrow, almost spikelike, and 
about 4 to 8 inches long. The "seed", covered with soft hairs, is tipped with an 
awn 1 to I~y 2 inches long, twice bent, and also covered with hairs which make it 
feathery to the second bend. This species closely resembles Thurber needle- 
grass (S. thurberiana) but the leaves of western needlegrass are not so 
rough, the "seeds" are smaller, and the small bractlike appendage (ligule) at- 
tached at the junction of the leaf blade and sheath is but a minute membrane. 
In Thurber needlegrass, this ligule is conspicuous, being about one-eighth to 
one-fourth of an inch long. 

U. S. Dept. Agr. Bull. 545, 63 pp., illus. 1917. 



Sti'pa pul'chra, syn. "S. seti'gera" 1 

Flower head (panicle) nodding, open, 
spreading, the slender branches flower- 
ing toward the ends 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 
1 -flowered 

Stalks (culms) erect, up to 40 in. 
high, hairless except just below nodes 

Leaves long, narrow; collar (ligule), 
at junction of blade and sheath, evi- 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
slightly unequal, narrow, long-pointed, 
purplish, 3-nerved 

Outer flower bract (lemma) about % 
in. long, with crown of stiff, erect hairs; 
tipped by a beard (awn) up to 3H in. 
long, which is somewhat hairy but not 
feathery, twice-bent, and twisted up 
to 2d bend 

"Seed" (caryopsis) hard, cylindrical, 
with a sharp-pointed, bearded base 
(callus), closely enfolded by lemma 

Roots fibrous 

l Of United States authors, not Presl. 

California needlegrass, a conspicuously awnecl grass, is sometimes 
called purple needlegrass, nodding needlegrass, southwestern porcu- 
pinegrass, and beargrass. It is chiefly a California species, com- 
monly found on the warmer, open, well-drained flats and on sparsely 
timbered foothills and valleys at altitudes varying usually from 
about sea level to 5,500 feet. It is most abundant in the coast 
ranges of central California and extends south into Lower Cali- 
fornia, occurring but sparsely in northern California. 

This species ranks high in forage value, being palatable to all 
classes of livestock, and particularly to cattle and horses. In some 
parts of California it is regarded as one of the most valuable grasses. 
Although its palatability is highest in the spring, it is grazed 
throughout the summer by cattle and horses and to some extent 
by sheep. It produces a large amount of comparatively fine leafage 
which remains green long after its commonly associated annuals 
have dried up. This plant also cures well on the ground. The 
seeds mature in early summer, after which the awns may be some- 
what troublesome to sheep. When not grazed down during the 
summer, the species provides very good fall and winter forage. 

California needlegrass is one of the most abundant needlegrasses 
in California. It is believed to have been formerly even more plenti- 
ful und one of the main grasses of the original bunchgrass cover 
in central California. It depends chiefly upon seed for reproduc- 
tion and on many ranges has been largely killed out by being grazed 
so closely that seed could not mature. Under conservative use, 
California needlegrass reproduces well and will replace the annual 
grasses if given a chance. 

California needlegrass has numerous slender rough stems 24 to 
40 inches high, often ascending at an angle (not erect) from a 
tuft of long, slender, basal leaves. The panicle is commonly one- 
third to one-half the length of the stems, has slender, loosely spread- 
ing branches and, as a common name of the plant implies, has a 
distinctly nodding habit. The glumes are purplish, three-nerved, 
narrow, and long-tapering. The awns (beards) are 2 to 3y 2 inches 
long, twisted, and twice-bent; the portion of the awn between the 
first and second bend is relatively short and the last segment is 
slender, tapering, and slightly curved. 



Sti'pa robus'ta, syn. S. va'seyi 

Flower head (panicle) somewhat 
spikelike, robust, densely flowered,, pale 
green, 8 to 18 in. long; lower joints 
of panicle hairy 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 
1 -flowered, on erect stalks 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
firm, narrow, indistirictly nerved, equal, 
about X in. long, persistent after "seed " 

Outer flower bract (lemma) with 
short, soft, white hairs throughout, 
about X in. long, terminating in an ob- 
scurely twice-bent, harsh but not feath- 
ery awn which is about % to IX in. long 
and twisted to the 2d bend 

"Seed" (caryopsis) hard, cylindrical, 
with a blunt-pointed, densely bearded 
base (callus), closely enfolded by lemma 

Stalks (culms) robust; smooth, light 
green, 3 to 6# ft. tall, with 1 to 3 joints 

Leaves usually broad (X in.), up to 2 
ft. long; sheaths smooth, except at' the 
densely hairy "throat"; collar (ligule), 
at junction of blade and sheath, very 

Roots fibrous 

Sleepygrass, so called because of its narcotic or sleep-producing 
effect upon livestock, is also known as Vasey needlegrass and robust 
porcupinegrass. It is a coarse, leafy, bright green grass which 
grows in thick bunches. The species, which usually is present in 
scattered stands and sometimes occurs over fairly large areas, is 
commonly found in open canyons or hillsides, and in parklike draws 
of timbered mountains at elevations between 5,000 and 9,000 feet. 

Although its precise range is unknown it is typically a southwestern 
plant, and is known to occur in Colorado, western Texas, New Mex- 
ico, Arizona, and Mexico; it also occurs on San Nicolas Island, off 
the southern California coast. 

Although Old World and South American species of Stipa are 
poisonous to domestic livestock, yet, so far as is known, sleepygrass 
is the only species in the United States known to be poisonous to 
livestock. While scientific analyses have thus far failed to uncover 
any poisonous principles in sleepygrass, its narcotic effect has long 
been recorded by many credible authorities. It is reported chiefly 
as affecting horses, but also causes sleepiness in cattle and sheep, and 
interferes with animal locomotion somewhat as does loco poisoning. 
The narcotic influence is usually only temporary but, in some cases, 
has been reported to last 48 hours and occasionally to be fatal. 1 
Marsh and Clawson 2 report: 

The grass has been shown by experimental feedings to produce a narcotic 
effect on horses. * * * While it may produce profound slumber, it does not 
cause death. Cattle showed no effect from the plant, and sheep, although 
slightly affected, did not show the typical symptoms of drowsiness. 

The degree of narcotism depends upon the amount of grass eaten, 
which, in turn, is no doubt influenced by the scarcity of more 
palatable forage. Apparently sleepygrass produces different effects 
in different localities under similar conditions and utilization. 
Marsh and Clawson (op. tit.} state that 

definite cases of sleepygrass poisoning have been reported from only two 
general localities, the Sacramento and the Sierra Blanca Mountains in Otero 
and Lincoln Counties, New Mexico. 

On the other hand, in various New Mexico and Colorado localities 
this grass is eaten by livestock without any apparent narcotic effect. 1 
Although it has been reported * that sleepygrass loses its poisonous 
properties when dried, Marsh and Clawson (op. cit.) state that 

the green and the dry plant are about equally toxic if allowance is made for 
the loss of moisture in the dry plant. 

Crawford 3 calls attention to some species of Stipa on the high 
plateaus of Argentine Republic which contain a glucoside which, 
when split up. yields hydrocyanic acid. He suggests the possibility 
that some North American species, particularly sleepygrass, may 
also on occasion yield hydrocyanic acid. 

Sleepygrass is low in palatability but is sometimes grazed closely 
by cattle and horses in the absence of other more palatable forage. 
Wooton and Standley (op. cit.} state that animals brought into the 
region will consume it unless restrained. 

This species produces an abundant supply of seed which results in 
satisfactory reproduction. It sometimes spreads over heavily grazed 
ranges after the better grasses have succumbed, but is not aggressive 
when in direct competition with them under controlled grazing. 

1 Wooton, E. O.. .and Stniullpy. P. C. FLORA OP NEW MEXICO. U. S. Natl. Mus., Contrib. 
U. S. Natl. Herbarium 19, 794 'pp. 1915. 

PLANT. U. S. Dept. Agr. Tech. Bull. 114, 20 pp., illus. 1929. 

GRASS AND CREOSOTE BUSH. Pharm. Rev. 26 : 230-235. 1908. 



Sti'pa viri'dula 

Flower head (panicle) narrow, some- 
what spikelike, greenish, 4 to 8 in. long 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 
1-flowered, numerous from near the 
base of the erect flower-head branches 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
equal, }' t to % in. long, thin, papery, 
tapering to slender point, with 3 promi- 
nent, green veins 

Leaves mainly basal, with somewhat 
hairy, inrolled margins, 4 to 12 in. long; 
upper leaves broader, sometimes flat; 
sheaths smooth, hairy at the throat and 
on margins 

Stalks (culms) mostly smooth, erect, 
up to 3) (usually 2 to 3) ft. high 

Outer flower bract Gemma) evenly 
and sparingly soft-hairy, about %e in. 
long, tipped with a securely attached 
bristle (awn) which is % to 1} in. long, 
twice bent, twisted to the second bend, 
and harsh but not feathery 

"Seed" (caryopsis) hard and cylindri- 
cal with a rather blunt-pointed, white- 
bearded base (callus), closely enfolded 
by lemma 

Boots fibrous 

Green needlegrass, a perennial bunchgrass, is sometimes called 
green porcupinegrass and feather bunchgrass. The specific name 
viridula is a diminutive of the Latin word viridis, meaning green, 
and refers, as does the accepted common name, to the rather uniform 
bright green color of both herbage and flower heads. This species 
ranges from British Columbia to Minnesota, Kansas, New Mexico, 
Arizona, Nevada, and eastern Washington. It does not occur in 
California and perhaps is also absent from Oregon. Apparently 
it is more common in Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado than in the 
other western range States. It inhabits plains and foothills at 
fairly low elevations and is common on mountain meadowlands and 
open hillsides up to 9,000 feet in Wyoming and Montana. At the 
southern limit of its range, the species occurs in dry, open parks 
and canyons through the timbered mountains, chiefly in the ponderosa 
pine belt. 

Green needlegrass is usually regarded ag good forage, being one 
of the first grasses of its associations to start spring growth and 
remaining green until late in the season, thus supplying succulent 
forage over a long period. In general, this bunchgrass seems to be 
more palatable to cattle and horses than to sheep because sheep feed 
upon it chiefly in the spring and early summer, whereas cattle and 
horses graze it rather freely season-long. Thisi species is sometimes 
regarded as more palatable to cattle and horses than are certain of 
the smaller needlegrasses. Although the sharp-pointed mature 
"seeds", or fruits, of this grass annoy grazing animals to some extent, 
especially sheep, they are not known to cause serious injury. They 
are usually avoided by livestock, being left to mature and replenish 
the stand. Although not abundant over large areas, green needle- 
grass supplies a fair amount of forage on many ranges in mixture 
with other grasses. It is also an important constituent of hay on 
some grass meadows of Montana. 1 This grass flowers from May to 
August, and the seeds are disseminated from July to September, 
depending upon climatic conditions. 

Green needlegrass is a rather coarse, conspicuously fine-awned bunch- 
grass growing iy 2 to 3 feet high or occasionally taller. The leaves 
are mainly basal, inrolled, about one-third to one-half as long as 
the stems and hairy at the junction of the blade and sheath. The 
stem leaves are somewhat shorter. The greenish panicle is 4 to 8 
inches long, narrow, loosely spikelike, and rather densely flowered. 
The awn is commonly three-quarters to iy^ inches long, slender, twice- 
bent, twisted to the second bend, and is not feathery. The two 
nearly equal glumes are thin with three prominent green nerves. 
The species closely resembles sleepy grass (S. robusta) in fact, 
some authors regard sleepygrass as a variety of it but green needle- 
grass is smaller, less robust throughout, and is mainly a northern 
grass, whereas sleepygrass occurs principally in the Southwest. 

1 Office of Grazing Studies. Forest Service. NOTES ON NATIONAL FOREST RANGE PLANTS, 

PART 1, GRASSES. 2'-'4 pp. 1914. 



Tricha'chne califor'nica, syn. Valo'ta sacchara'ta 

Flower head (panicle) narrow, 4 to 8 
in. long, with erect branches 

Individual flower groups (spikelets) 
very silky with silvery-white or pur- 
plish-tinged hairs up to about % in. 
long, lance-shaped, in pairs, 2-flowered; 
upper flower imperfect; lower, perfect 

Imperfect flower reduced to a single 
bract (sterile lemma) 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) 
very unequal, thin, falling with "seed"; 
1 st glume minute, hairless ; 2d glume long- 
silky-iairy, about same length as "seed " 

Outer flower bract (lemma) brown 
with broad, flat, white, thin margins, 
about l /, in. long, abruptly narrowed to 
a long slender point, soon wrapped 
around "seed" 

Leaves usually 3 to 5 (sometimes up 
to 10) in. long; upper leaves shorter 
than lower 

Stalks (culms) 1.2 to 40 in*, tall, tufted, 
usually branched below 

Rootstocks strong, scaly, woolly, 
knotted, perennial 

Roots fibrous 

Arizona cottongrass, a coarse, leafy perennial also called cotton- 
top, silky panicgrass, sugargrass, and small feathergrass, is a mem- 
ber of a small genus of the millet tribe (Paniceae), and is the only 
common species of the genus oil the western ranges. Most of its 
common names originate from the silky-cottony appearance of the 
panicle. The generic name Trichachn,e is from the Greek trick, 
hair, and achne, chaff, referring to the hairy second glume and sterile 
lemma. This species, common on the deserts and foothills of south- 
ern New Mexico and Arizona in the woodland and semidesert types, 
occurs from Colorado to central Texas and Arizona and south into 
Mexico. It was originally described from Lower California, a fact 
imperfectly alluded to in the specific name calif ornica. There is no 
record of its occurrence in California proper. It frequently is pres- 
ent on rocky ridges and along the edge of fields, as well as under cac- 
tus and other shrubs. Although seldom growing in extensive stands, 
this grass commonly constitutes from 2 to 5 percent of the ground 
cover in association with gramas (Boutel&ua spp.), three-awns 
(Aristida spp.), and cane beardgrass (Andropogon barbinodis). 

This plant responds quickly to spring and summer rains, makes 
rapid growth and thus, although scattered, provides <a considerable 
amount of highly palatable green forage at an earlier date than 
most of its associates. However, its season of maximum palatability 
is short, as the foliage becomes rather hard and tough when the 
plant stops growing. Consequently, its palatability decreases until 
the plant greens up again the following spring. The foliage cures 
on the ground and, generally speaking, the species ranks as both a 
good winter and summer grass although its winter use depends 
largely on the presence of more palatable forage. On conservatively 
grazed range Arizona cottongrass is utilized chiefly while green. 
It is, however, also a valuable grass in combination with the slower 
growing grama grasses, its common associates, as livestock will con- 
centrate on young Arizona cottongrass and thus give the other 
grasses a better chance to develop. Propagation by rootstocks aids 
in the perpetuation and maintenance of this species under arid con- 
ditions and heavy grazing. Although a good seed crop is usually 
produced, the plant is not an aggressive spreader. 

While reseeding tests have not yet given good results on the open 
range this species is believed to have good possibilities under favor- 
able conditions. Wilson x states : 

Of all the native range forage plant seeds tested at the experiment station, 
this has given the best germination. One sample of Valota sacclmrata (i. e., 
Trichachne californica) seed tested in October 1930, a little over 10 years after 
maturity, gave a germination of 92 percent. A percentage of 70 to 85 percent 
for this species is not uncommon. 

Arizona cottongrass has slender, erect stems 12 to 40 inches high, 
arising from strong, woolly, knotted rootstocks. The most outstand- 
ing character is the slender, silky-cottony panicle with its lance- 
shaped spikelets which grow in pairs and are covered with long, 
silky white (occasionally purplish) hairs. 


Sta. Bull. 189, 37 pp., illus. 1931. 



Trise'tum spica'tum, syn. T. subspica' turn 

Individual flower groups (spike- 
lets) small, numerous, crowd- 
ed, usually 2-flowered 

Outer flower bract (lemma) 
keeled, 2-toothed at tip, with a 
short (about % in. long), slender, 
bent, twisted bristle (awn) aris- 
ing from below the tip between 
the teeth, short-hairy at base 

Lowest (2) spikelet bracts 
(glumes) somewhat' unequal, 
persistent, without awns; 1st 
glume 1-nerved; 2d glume 
broader, 3-nerved 

Flower heads (panicles) dense, 
spikelike, erect, greenish or 
purplish, shining, 1 to 6 in. long 

Leaves flat or inrolled in age, 
rather narrow, about 2 to 6 in. 
long, usually more or less hairy; 
sheaths hairy 

Stalks (culms) densely tufted, 
erect, hairless to downy -hairy, 
up to 20 in. high 

Roots fibrous, perennial 

Spike trisetum is a densely tufted perennial grass, which varies considerably 
in general appearance. However, it is easily recognized by its spikelike heads to 
which the tine, bent awns give a fuzzy appearance. Specimens from alpine 
situations are usually short, with thick stems and heads and densely hairy 
stems and leaves, in decided contrast to die taller, often nearly hairless plant, 
with slender steins and heads, of the lower altitudes. 

This species is widely distributed in the mountainous regions of North 
America, Europe, and Australia and occurs in all the Western States, where it 
is typical of open, moist, alpine, and subalpine sites. However, it has a wide 
altitudinal range, and also occurs on dry soils, and in varying degrees of shade, 
among shrubs, aspen, oi>en spruce, lodgepole pine, and ponderosa pine. It 
grows at elevations of from 7,500 feet to 13,000 feet in Colorado and extends 
down to an altitude of 6,000 feet in Utah. Spike trisetum ranges between 
5,000 and 10,000 feet in California, and between 2,500 and 7,000 feet in Wash- 
ington and Oregon. This grass is a common constituent of old burns and cut- 
over lands, but practically never occurs in dense, pure stands. However, from 
the standpoint of wide and general distribution over the western mountain 
ranges, spike trisetum ranks among the first four or five grass species. 

The palatability of spike trisetum varies markedly in different regions, it 
being regarded as good to very good forage in the Northwest, where it is classed 
as somewhat more palatable to cattle and horses than to sheep. In California, 
where it is common in the higher mountains, it is relished by livestock, little 
being left even on areas not pastured until in the autumn. 1 In the Rocky 
Mountains from Montana southward this forage rates as fairly good to good for 
cattle and horses, and poor to fairly good for sheep. Growth begins early in 
the spring, and the plants remain green late in the fall. Presumably the 
grass is more readily grazed early in the season before the heads develop, and 
again in the fall after most other sj>ecies are dry. Ordinarily, only a rela- 
tively limited amount of seed of low viability is produced. Dr. Sampson, 2 in 
his bulletin on range plants from which the illustration accompanying this 
article was taken, states that in the Blue Mountains region of northeastern 
Oregon seeds of this species ordinarily do not begin to ripen before about August 
25, and generally are not all matured before inclement weather prevents further 
development. As a result, viable seed are produced only on the earliest flower- 
ing stalks and, in the tests made, had a very low germination percent. "In 
1907 the seed crop averaged 11 percent germination, and in 1909 28 percent." 
The plants, however, stool well and are resistant to trampling and considerable 
close grazing. 

TRISETUMS (Trise'tum spp.) 

Trisetum is a genus of perennial or rarely annual grasses, widely distrib- 
uted in the temi>erate and cooler or mountain regions of both the Northern 
and Southern Hemispheres. The name is derived from Latin tri, three, and 
setum, bristle, alluding to the three bristles (awns), which are borne on the 
outer flower bracts (lemmas) of many species. The awns of some species are 
very short and are hidden by the bracts of the spikelet; by some authors, 
those species are considered a distinct genus G-raphcpIionim. The only com- 
mon species of this type in the western United States is Wolf trisetum (Tri- 
ne' turn, irolf'ii, syns. T. brande' gel, Graphe'pliorum mn'tioum). 

The species of trisetum found in the Western States have similar palata- 
bility and are all fairly good to good forage, although somewhat less palatable 
to sheep than to cattle and horses. 

Trisetums belong to the oat tribe of grasses (Aveneae). The leaves are 
usually flat, and the flower heads are narrow and spikelike or somewhat open, 
with numerous, small, three- to five-flowered individual flower groups (spike- 
lets). The lowest (2) spikelet bracts (glumes) are unequal, sharp-pointed, 
and without awns, the second glume commonly being longer than the lowest 
lemma of each spikelet. Generally, the lemmas are short-hairy at the base, 
two-toothed at apex, and bear short, straight awns or longer, bent, and twisted 
awns from the back below the tip and between the teeth. The teeth of the 
lemma are themselves also frequently elongated into awns. 

1 Sampson. A. W.. and Chase. A. RANGE GRASSES OF CALIFORNIA. Calif. Agr. Expt. 
Sta. Bull. 430, 94 pp., illus. 1927. 

U. S. Dcpt. AST. Bull. 545, 63 pp., illus. 1917. 


(2 leaves) 

Ca'rex spp. 

The sedges vie with the groundsels (Seneeio spp.) for the honor 
of being the largest genus of flowering plants in the world. It is 
true that more species of hawkweeds (Hieraciwn\ spp.) have been 
described than for any other plant genus, but, on a conservative 
nomenclatural basis, there is little question but that Caress and 
Seneeio outrank all others. Sedges are herbs of world-wide distribu- 
tion, occurring on all continents, especially in temperate climates. 
On western ranges they lead all other genera in number of species. 

As a group, these plants resemble the grasses somewhat, having 
flat, grasslike leaves, and, frequently, similar growth habits. On 
this account the members of the genus Carex, as well as other genera 
of the sedge family (Cyperaceae) and the rushes (Juncaceae), are 
commonly referred to as grasslike plants. The sedges, however, 
have a number of characteristics which distinguish them definitely 
from other genera. For example, they are perennial by rootstocks, 
have solid, unjointed, and usually three-angled stems, mostly basal, 
closed sheaths, and leaves arranged in three ranks corresponding to 
the angles of the stem. The flowers are small, solitary in the axils 
of scales, without floral parts (perianth), and are always aggregated 
into a spike or spikes at or near the end or upper third of the stem. 
The grasses (Gramineae) growing on the ranges have cylindrical, 
jointed, and mostly hollow stems and the sheaths of the 2-ranked 
leaves are split or open. The flowers, however, are similar morpho- 
logically, being small, irregular, and subtended by a scale (glume) ; 
the fruit (achene) is dry and one-seeded. 

The differences between the sedges and the rushes, however, are 
not always so obvious as these fundamental distinctions between the 
sedges and grasses. The stems of the rushes may be simple or 
branched, spongy-pithed or hollow, and naked or leafy. The leaves 
likewise vary, being round, flattened, or flat. The significant and 
constant difference is in the flowers, which, although brownish, and 
somewhat sedgelike in aspect, are lilylike in structure. They have 
a floral envelope (perianth) composed of six glumelike and regular 
segments. The stamens are six or sometime three, and the fruit is 
a three-celled capsule containing many small seeds. 

The form of the aerial growth of a sedge depends largely on the 
character of its root system. Such a. species as ovalhead sedge (C. 
festivel'la) , which has very short rootstocks, produces stems and 
leaves at very short intervals, becomes tufted and looks much like a 
bunchgrass. Others, like the Douglas sedge (C. dougla'sii) , have run- 
ning rootstocks, from which a single group of stems and leaves arise 
at intervals of several inches, with each one having the appearance 
of a separate plant. Either type may develop a sodlike cover in 
dense stands, such as threadleaf sedge (C. filifo'lid) produces on dry 
sites, a condition particularly common in sedge meadows. 

Sedge leaves are usually rather long, thin, and narrow. Some 
species, such as threadleaf sedge and its allies, have very fine, thread- 
like foliage, and a few species, typified by the eastern white-bear 

sedge (C. albursi'na, syn. C. laaci-flora latifolia), have leaves up to 
iy 2 inches wide. The leaves of most species on the western ranges, 
however, are less than one-fourth of an inch wide. In general, the 
dryland species have very fine, dull, or brownish-green foliage; the 
moist-soil species characteristically possess thin, bright green leaves 
less than one-fourth of an inch wide; and the wet, swampy, or bog- 
inhabiting species, broad, long, tough, brownish-green leaves. 

The stems, of course, vary in height and size with the various 
species. A few of the more robust, western, wet-site sedges com- 
monly attain a height of 3 feet or more, but most species range 
from 8 to 20 inches in height. The dryland species in the West, 
however, are principally less than 8 inches high. The stems may 
or may not be leafy, but when leafy the upper leaves become bract - 
like and subtend the flower heads, or spikes. The flower cluster in 
its simplest form, as in threadleaf sedge, consists of one terminal 
spike. In ovalhead sedge and similar species several spikes are 
closely aggregated into a head which has the general appearance of 
one large terminal spike. Other sedges, as beaked sedge (C. rostra! ta) 
and Nebraska sedge (C. nebrashen' sis) , have two types of spikes: 
(1) terminal, relatively small, staminate or male, and (2) lower, 
axillary, larger and pistillate, or female. In many species, as in 
threadleaf sedge, both male and female flowers are borne in the 
same spike, with the male flowers uppermost, but in many others 
the female flowers are in the upper half of the spike. 

The individual flowers are small, inconspicuous, and relatively 
simple in structure. Each flower, whether male or female, is sub- 
tended by a small scale, which corresponds to the glume of the grass 
flower. Although these scales are small, their variations in length, 
shape, color, and other characteristics are used frequently in botani- 
cal keys to separate species. The male flowers, with three or some- 
times two stamens, are little used in species differentiations, as 
botanical keys are based largely on the character of the female 
flower, especially the mature fruit. The female flowers terminate 
in two or three threadlike stigmas. The often three-angled seed, 
which is an achene, is enclosed in a saclike body called the peri- 
gynium. The length, shape, and character of the surface, margins, 
and beak of the perigynium are all commonly used in botanical keys 
to separate major groups as well as species. 

The popular impression that sedges are plants which occur ex- 
clusively in moist and wet situations lacks verity. Some species, 
notably elk sedge (C. grey'eri), grow on well-drained and dry 
slopes, and in timber. Threadleaf sedge and similar species com- 
monly form dense and extensive, sodlike areas on open and dry 
plains, benches, and flats. Other species, such as Douglas sedge, 
inhabit meadow borders and other semimoist soils, and frequently 
form a distinct zone between the dryland vegetation and the wet 
meadow or other moist-soil types. 

Sedges are usually adaptable to soils of various origins, provided 
they are moderately fertile and moisture conditions are favorable. 
Ordinarily, however, these plants are limited wholly to soils of 
neutral or acid reaction. Frequently, the extremely wet, highly 
organic soils of bogs and swamps are distinctly acid. Sedges are 

(leaf 2) 

sometimes important in soil formation, especially on very boggy 
or wet sites, where the ungrazed and rank growth accumulates year 
after year. Many of the organic and peatlike mountain meadows 
and lake shore soils have been developed largely in that manner. 

Despite that most sedges grow in full sunlight, there are various 
examples, both in dry and moist situations, of species which are 
shade enduring. The elevational range of Carex is probably as 
great as for any plant genus, species occurring from near sea level 
to the highest extension of flowering plants above timberline. 

A common tendency exists to underrate the forage value of sedges 
on the western ranges. This is due, in part, to the difficulty of 
identifying the numerous species of sedges, and also to the fact 
that many species are mistaken for grasses, as may be noted in the 
erroneous use of such common names as hairgrass for threadleaf 
sedge and elkgrass for elk sedge. A common practice, even among 
technically trained men, is to group the sedges in one to several 
large classes according to leaf width or moisture requirements, but 
without regard to taxonomic relationships. Such treatment is con- 
venient and often desirable, but has the obvious tendency to per- 
petuate inaccurate generalities. Furthermore, under such condi- 
tions, the characteristics and forage value of individual species are 
not accurately observed or recorded. 

The discussions of several species of Ccerex in this handbook 
emphasize some of the forage and habitat variations within the 
genus. Elk sedge is representative of a small group of slope- and 
timber-inhabiting species, which ordinarily start growth, early and 
remain green until fall and, although grazed season-long, are usually 
most valuable as spring and fall feed. The small-leaved, rather low, 
dry land species represented by threadleaf sedge, the similar short- 
hair sedge (G. exser'ta) and other species are often abundant and 
provide an important source of forage on many ranges. They start 
growth early and ordinarily mature before midsummer, and hence 
are most palatable in the spring. However, depending on local 
conditions, their use in certain cases may be either seasonlong or 
chiefly in the fall. The moist-meadow species, such as ovalhead 
sedge, are probably the most palatable of the genus, usually provid- 
ing fine, green, and comparatively tender foliage, which remains 
succulent until fall, and is relished by sheep and even more so by 
cattle. Some of the wet-site species, including Nebraska sedge and 
the like, are generally good forage for cattle, but ordinarily are 
located in situations too wet for sheep. The more robust, large- 
leaved, and wet-site .sedges, as beaked sedge, are of low palat ability 
to sheep, and only fair forage for cattle. Because of favorable 
moisture conditions, they generally remain green longer than most 
range plants, and also show a marked tendency to produce replace- 
ment growth when grazed, which is relished by livestock especially 
after midsummer. This recurrent harvesting improves, as a rule, the 
palatability of the species. 

The sedges, such as Douglas and Nebraska sedge, which commonly 
reproduce by rootstocks, withstand close use unusually well. Their 

strong root systems are well adapted to supply water and nutrients, 
as well as to hold the plant in position and to bind the soil. Seed 
production is obviously unnecessary for the maintenance of such 
species. The tufted, bunchlike species, characterized by threadleaf 
and ovalhead sedges, do not resist close use as well. Although the 
fibrous feeding roots are numerous and long, they do not bind the 
soil compactly unless the individual plants are so numerous as to be 
crowded. Seed production is probablv at least occasionally neces- 
sary for satisfactory reproduction of the species in this group, 
although the very short rootstocks increase the size of the parent 
plant and, under proper management practices, should maintain the 
stand satisfactorily during the life of the parent plants. 

Sedges are frequently important to wildlife. In Alaska they 
supply forage during both summer and winter for reindeer. 1 Elk 
graze sedges rather freely, especially on the summer ranges at higher 
altitudes, and they are also generally grazed by moose. In most 
localities deer, apparently, do not utilize sedges very much. 2 

Various species of moist- and wet-meadow sedges comprise a large 
percentage of the hay crop in such western areas as the agricultural 
mountain valleys, where livestock are winter fed. Although natural 
in most of the hay meadows, the sedges have, in many instances, in- 
creased greatly as a result of overirrigation. Conversely, on some 
swampy lands drainage has sometimes resulted in their replacement 
by grasses. Most species cure well and make a palatable hay, but, 
because of their light weight and short, smooth leaves and stems, are 
more difficult to handle than grain hays. Experimental work indi- 
cates that sedges deteriorate less than grasses as a result of late cut- 
ting. 3 They also show a less rapid decline in protein content than 
the common, associated, and introduced bluegrasses and bromes. An- 
other interesting discovery is that the nutritional value of sedges, at 
least so far as crude protein and nitrogen-free extract (carbohy- 
drates) are concerned, apparently increases with altitude more than is 
the case with grasses. Comparative chemical analyses of various 
species of Ccvrex and of grasses show that their nutritive properties 
are similar in most cases, the sedges tending to produce less crude 
fiber and ash and more crude protein and nitrogen-free extract. 4 5 

Sedges are generally very effective in soil protection. The dense stands, both 
on dry and moist sites, prevent erosion and soil loss. The intertwining of the 
rootstocks and roots on meadows and swampy areas is usually so complex and 
thick that it resists even the passage of a shovel. This matlike layer, unless 
undermined, as from a gulley head or side, will usually protect and build up the 
soil and prevent washing. 

The Indians formerly used sedge roots in basketry production. 6 

1 Hadwen, S., and Palmer, L. J. REINDEER IN ALASKA. U. S. Dept. Ascr. Bull. 1089, 
74 pp., illus. 1922. 

FORNIA. PART 2, FOOD HABITS. Calif. Fish and Game 20(4) : [315]-354. illus. 1934. 



Agr. Expt. Sta. Bull. 146, 89 pp., illus. 1926. 

4 Knight, H. G., Hepner, F. E., and Nelson, A. WYOMING FORAGE PLANTS AND THEIR 
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION ; STUDIES <NO. 2. Wyo. Agr. Expt. Sta. Bull. 70, 75 pp., illus. 

5 Knight, H. G., Hepner, F. E., and Nelson, A. WYOMING FORAGE PLANTS AND THBIR 
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION; STUDIES NO. 3. Wyo. Agr. Expt. Sta. Bull. 76, 119 pp., illus. 

Pubs., Amer. Archeol. and Ethnol. 20 : 215-242, illus. 1923. 


Ca'rex festivel'la, syn. "C. fes'tiva" * 


Flower head (compact group of up to 
20 spikes) terminal, somewhat 
rounded or egg-shaped, up to about 1 
in. long, inconspicuously bracted at 

Flowers without petals or outer flower 
parts (sepals), solitary in axils of thin- 
papery, scalelike bracts, of 2 kinds: 
male (staminate) at spike bases, and 
female (pistillate) toward spike tips 

Female flowers several to many in 
each spike, each with 2 threadlike 
pollen-receiving organs (stigmas), seed- 
producing, borne in the axil of an egg- 
shaped, blunt to somewhat sharp- 
pointed, chestnut or brownish black 

Male flowers each with 3 stamens and 
borne in axil of a bract similar to that 
of female flower 

"Seed" (achene) lens-shaped, en- 
closed in a flattened sac (perigynium) ; 
perigynium a little less than % in. long, 
egg-shaped, wing-margined, thin- 
walled, beaked; beak 2-toothed at tip, 
about ^ to K length of perigynium, 
conspicuous in the flower head 

Leaves 3-ranked, grasslike, shorter 
than flower-head stalks, up to about % 
in. wide, bright green 

Stalks (culms) up to 40 in. high, 
tufted, rather slender, 3-sided, solid, 

Rootstocks-^short-creeping, dark-col- 
ored, perennial 

Roots fibrous 

1 Of western United States authors, not Dewey. 

Ovalhead sedge, a rather common, tufted, and green-leaved sedge, 
which occurs from Alberta to New Mexico and westward to Arizona, 
the Sierra Nevadas of California, eastern Oregon and British Co- 
lumbia, is one of the most important forage sedges in the western 
mountains. It grows in moist situations but not in shallow water 
or swamps. This species prefers such sites as meadows and springy 
slopes, especially at higher elevations, growing on usually deep, 
loamy soils in the meadows, but it is also common on shallow arid 
rocky soils on slopes and about springs. Occasionally, this sedge 
even grows in rock crevices, if the moisture supply is adequate. 
Where it appears to be growing in bogs and swampy areas, a closer 
examination usually shows that the sedge really is confined to ele- 
vated and moist areas such as hummocks and on the sides of rocks 
and logs. It normally grows in the full sunlight, although fair 
stands sometimes occur in the shade. The elevation*] range is great 
because of the wide distribution of this plant. Strange to say, in 
the Northwest and Canada this species grows within several hundred 
feet of sea level, yet in the southern Rockies it occurs at timberline 
(12,000 feet). Although sometimes abundant in the meadows of the 
ponderosa pine belt, it is most common in the high mountain 
meadows between the upper edge of that belt and timberline. 

In general, ovalhead sedge is classed as fairly good for sheep and 
good to very good for cattle, although its palatability apparently 
varies widely with locality. It has relatively fine and tender, bright- 
green leafage which normally remains green until fall. It is usually 
entirely available to both sheep and cattle, growing on moist but 
solid soils, a feature particularly important to sheepmen, whose 
flocks and bands intuitively avoid wet and miry range. Although 
often abundant, this sedge does not ordinarily grow in pure stands, 
the tufted individuals usually being well-distributed among various 
other sedges and such grasses as bluegrasses and redtops. 

Ovalhead sedge will not withstand close use. It has a tufted or 
bunch habit of growth, because of its very short rootstocks which 
increase the size of the parent plant but do not, as a rule, extend 
far enough to produce new plants. As a result, reproduction is al- 
most wholly from seed (achenes) ; if this plant is grazed so closely 
that seed production is prevented, the stand soon succumbs. Over- 
grazing, leading to the ultimate destruction of the grasses and seri- 
ous range depletion, gradually reduces the vitality of the clumps of 
this sedge until eventually they die. This sedge is frequently an 
important constituent of the meadow hays harvested in the moun- 
tain valleys for winter feeding, because it cures well, is light but 
bulky, and is eaten readily. 

Ovalhead sedge is a member of a large group of closely related 
sedges (O vales section), including C. ciJbrurpta, C. ebenea, C. /estiva, 
and C. microptera. On the range many of these species are so similar 
in form, color, and habitat that few grazing men are able to dis- 
tinguish between them. Even some botanists maintain that the 
slight differences in the fruit and other characters which separate 
these forms are doubtfully sufficient to warrant the recognition of 
many of them at least as separate species. 



Ca'rex filifo'lia, syn. C. oreo' charts 

Flowers small, inconspicuous, each in 
axil of a flower bract, borne in narrow, 
solitary end cluster (spike); flowers of 
2 kinds: male (staminate) and female 

Male flowers borne on upper part of 
spike, each with 3 stamens 

Female flowers 5 to 10 on lower part 
of spike, each enclosed in saclike organ 
(perigynium), somewhat rounded-tri- 
angular, 2-ribbed, stout-beaked, tipped 
by 3 threadlike, pollen-receiving organs 

Flower bracts thin-papery, brownish, 
with conspicuous, shining white, trans- 
parent edges, broadly oval, blunt- 
tipped or abruptly sharp-pointed 

"Seed" (achene) triangular, enclosed 
$ in perigynium 

Leaves 3-ranked, threadlike, rather 
stiff; basal sheaths dry, brown, at 
length breaking up into fibers 

Stems (culms) densely tufted, solid, 
3-angled, 3 to 14 in. high, longer than 

Roots fibrous, black, wiry, often form- 
ing dense sod 


Threadleaf sedge, sometimes called niffgerwool, hair sedge, and 
shorthair sedge, is a small grasslike plant of the sedge family 
(Cyperaceae). The name shorthair sedge is perhaps preferably 
applied to the closely related Pacific species, C. exserta. The specific 
name filifolia refers to the fine, threadlike leaves characteristic of 
this plant. This sedge has a wide range from Yukon Territory to 
Saskatchewan, Texas, and California. It is found at elevations of 
from 3,000 feet up to nearly 12,000 feet and is typically a dryland 
sedge, occurring in great abundance on the dry soils of open prairies 
and rolling grasslands. On its favorite sites this plant occasionally 
forms almost pure stands, but usually is intermixed thoroughly with 
a variety of grasses. In the mountains this sedge is seen most com- 
monly on dry open ridges, but it also occurs in open timber types 
and, at the higher elevations, sometimes grows in rather moist 
meadows. Threadleaf sedge is common on the east slopes of the 
ponderosa pine type of California, growing on the open, rather dry 
sandy flats, and in. the gently rolling, open forest. The Oregon 
ground squirrel (Citellus oregorms] builds its furrows in north- 
eastern California in the threadleaf sedge stands on sandy flats. 

Threadleaf sedge not only withstands grazing well but is also con- 
siderably drought-resistant. In portions of the western Great Plains 
this sedge is considered invaluable in the prevention of erosion, 
especially wind erosion. Its many, black, fibrous roots are very 
tough and wiry and form a heavy sod which is highly resistant to 
heavy trampling. Even after the individual plants die their roots 
remain intact for many years and continue to hold the soil against 
the onslaughts of destructive run-off. 

In general, the forage value of this sedge on the mountain ranges 
in the West varies from, fair to fairly good for sheep, cattle, and 
horses, often being somewhat more valuable for sheep. Threadleaf 
sedge, shorthair sedge, and Brewer reedgrass (C alamagrostis 
breweri] compose the famous shorthair range of the high Sierra 
Nevada Mountains in California. On some of the dry open grass- 
land ranges threadleaf sedge takes position as one of the best sedges, 
being of particular value early in the season, and at that time rates 
in palatability from good to very good for sheep, cattle, and horses. 

Shorthair sedge (C. eaaser'ta) is very difficult to distinguish from 
threadleaf sedge, and for all practical range purposes it is not neces- 
sary to separate the two. Shorthair sedge has a somewhat limited 
range, occurring only in southern Oregon and California. It grows 
on the same or similar sites as threadleaf sedge and is of equal 



Ca'rex gey'eri 

Flower head (spike) solitary, cyan- 
dric, terminal, light rust-colored 

Flowers without petals or outer flower 
parts (sepals), solitary in axils of thin- 
papery, scalelike bracts, of 2 kinds: 
male (stamuiate) at top of spike, and 
female (pistillate) at base of spike 

Male flowers with 3 stamens; each 
flower in an oblong-egg-shaped, ribbed, 
somewhat pointed or rounded bract 

Female flowers 2 or 3 in each head, 
with 3 pollen-receiving organs (stig- 
mas), seed-producing, each borne in 
the axil of a short-bearded (awned), 
straw-colored, transparent-papery- 
margined bract 

"Seed" (achene) tightly enclosed in a 
sac (perigynium); perigynium oblong, 
triangular, smooth, shiny, 2-ribbed, 
rounded at top, tipped with a small, 
stout beak 

Leaves 3-ranked, grasslike, 2 or 3 
to each stalk, erect, thick, flat, rough 
on the edges-, sheath forming a tube 
around stalk; stalk leaves developing 
after the flowers 

Stalks (culms) sharply 3-angled, 
slender, solid, up to about 16 in. high, 
with rough edges 

Rootstock underground, 
sca'ly, elongated, creeping 

Roots fibrous 


Elk sedge, sometimes known as Geyer sedge, pine sedge, or un- 
fortunately pinegrass and elkgrass, is a grasslike plant oelonging 
to the sedge family (Cyperaceae) This sedge is the most abundant 
of the comparatively few dry-land sedges, ranging from British 
Columbia to Montana, Colorado, Utah, and northern California. It 

occurs in a variety of sites on well-drained sandy, gravelly, or rocky 
soils at elevations of from about 1,000 up to 10,000 feet. Although 
most prominent on exposed hillsides, it grows well on open grass- 
lands and open timber types and sometimes also in fairly dense tim- 
ber. This species, on parts of its range, appears typically in open 
ponderosa pine and lodgepole pine stands, frequently being inter- 
mixed with pinegrass ( C aLawiagrostis rubescens). It commonly 
forms a heavy sod in almost pure stands on open hillsides and burns, 
which it readily invades. 

Elk sedge withstands grazing exceptionally well, because it 
reproduces from woody, elongated, creeping rootstocks, forming 
dense, almost inseparable tufts. This plant is very drought-resist- 
ant, being close to the van among sedges in ability to withstand 
adverse moisture conditions. 1 

It abounds over much of its range and is one of the earliest forage 
plants on the lower ranges. Early in the season this foliage is 
eaten to some extent on most ranges when the leaves are relatively 
tender, although livestock prefer other forage, if such is available. 
The forage value of elk sedge for domestic livestock varies greatly, 
because it is considered worthless on many ranges, although, due to 
its abundance, early appearance, and its ability to remain green the 
entire season its average palatability rating is from poor to fair for 
sheep and from fair to fairly good for cattle and horses. In parts 
of the Pacific Northwest, where elk sedge occurs in great abundance, 
it is considered a valuable forage plant, with a palatability of from 
fair to good for sheep and from fairly good to very good for cattle 
and horses. In this same region, where elk sedge is found inter- 
mixed with pinegrass, livestock seek the former species but reject 
the pinegrass. Sheep, apparently, graze elk sedge more readily on 
those ranges where the more palatable weeds and browse species are 
rather deficient. The palatability for elk is fair to good but some- 
what lower for deer. 

Elk sedge and pinegrass are sometimes confused, perhaps because 
they grow in similar sites and have somewhat similar leaves. When 
flower or seed heads are in evidence, the sedge, with its short, narrow, 
cylindrical, terminal, brownish flower cluster borne on 3-angled, 
pithy stems, is not readily mistaken for the grass with its 3 to 6 
inch long, spikelike, reddish or pale green heads borne on hollow, 
round stems. It is rather characteristic of pinegrass, especially 
when growing in timber, rarely to produce flower heads, and, of 
course flower heads of the sedge are usually undeveloped in the 
spring and may largely disappear later in the season. However, 
the leaves of elk sedge are 3-ranked, erect, thick and rough on the 
edges, whereas those of pinegrass are mostly gracefully drooping, 
harsh or rough on both surfaces, and with a ring of stiff hairs at the 
collar (junction of blade and sheath). 

U. S. Dept. Agr. Bull. 545, G3 pp., illus. 1917. 



Ca'rex nebrasken'sis 

Flower heads (spikes) several, of 2 
kinds: male (staminate) 1 or 2 on 
top, above the female spikes, stalked, 
up to \Yi in. long; female (pistillate), 
more or less stalked, up to 2% in. 
long, up to 5 in number 

Male flowers numerous, each with 3 
stamens, and borne in axil of a bract 

Female flowers numerous, each borne 
in axil of a bract, usually crowded, 
ascending, each with 2 threadlike 
pollen-receiving organs (stigmas) which 
soon wither and fall 

Flower bracts lance-shaped, blackish, 
tapering-pointed, each with a promi- 
nent, light-colored midrib 

"Seed" (achene) lens-shaped, en- 
closed in a sac (perigynium) ; perigyn- 
ium ribbed, leathery, greenish straw- 
colored, rounded and almost stalkless 
at base, narrowed at tip into a short, 
2-toothed beak 

Stalks (culms) up to about 40 in. 
high, 3 1 sidcd, solid, jointless, arising 
from center of previous year's tuft of 
dried leaves 

Leaves grasslike, 3-ranked, flat, very 
variable in length, sometimes about as 
long as culm, usually about % in. wide, 
pale green, with sheathing, pimple- 
dotted (nodulose) bases 

Rdotstocks long-creeping, perennial 

Roots rather coarse, fibrous 

Nebraska sedge, one of the commonest western sedges inhabiting 
wet situations, ranges from South Dakota and Kansas to New Mex- 
ico, California, and British Columbia. Although this species is 
more important in the States west of Nebraska, it is called Nebraska 
sedge and Carex nebraskensis because the first specimens of it ap- 
pear to have been collected in what is now that State. It occurs 

on the plains of Nebraska and contiguous States, and up to an ele- 
vation of 10,000 feet in Colorado and the southern Sierras of Cali- 
fornia. Nebraska sedge is found in favorable locations throughout 
the sagebrush and piiion belts but is, perhaps, most common in the 
ponderosa pine belt in mountainous regions. It is apparently not 
common in the coastal mountains of the Pacific States. 

Throughout its range this sedge occurs exclusively in such wet 
sites as along slow streams, near springs, in shallow, swampy areas, 
and wet meadows. In the wet sedge meadows of the mountains 
it is frequently one of the dominant plants. After midsummer it is 
sometimes seen in places that are apparently dry, although invari- 
ably these locations are wet in the spring 1 and early summer and 
probably are subirrigated during the rest of the season. It some- 
times grows in wet gravelly soils, but generally inhabits water- 
deposited loams or highly organic, often peatlike, marshy soils. 

The palatability of Nebraska sedge varies with the amount and 
distribution of palatable grasses and other plants associated with it, 
with the season of the year, and with the amount of moisture in 
the soil. As a rule, it is poor to fair forage for sheep and fairly 
good to good or occasionally very good for cattle. In general, the 
absolute palatability is perhaps greatest in the spring and early 
summer when the foliage and stems are tender, but this is affected 
by the factors mentioned above. Sheep sometimes make heavy use 
of the green foliage when it is readily available. Generally, how- 
ever, the sites where this sedge grows are too wet for sheep until 
fall, when the mature foliage is coarse and of low palatability. 
Unless the soil is too boggy, cattle readily graze the moist areas where 
Nebraska sedge grows. However, if sufficient palatable grass and 
weeds are available, cattle often will avoid extensive wet sedge 
meadows containing Nebraska sedge and related species until after 
midsummer. In such cases, and on properly stocked range, the sub- 
sequent late summer and fall use of Nebraska sedge by cattle is usu- 
ally such that satisfactory utilization is secured. A very different 
condition frequently obtains on cattle ranges and even sheep ranges, 
where sedge meadows provide but a small percentage of the forage. 
On such ranges livestock will often concentrate on the Nebraska 
sedge areas and utilize them so closely that the leaves are grazed 
almost to the ground and the production of stems and flowers is 
prevented. Despite such close use, this species, because of its strong 
root system and the prerequisite favorable moisture conditions, con- 
tinues to send out new growth throughout the growing season. Its 
strongly developed rootstocks, from which new plants arise, make it 
particularly well adapted to withstand abusive grazing. 

Nebraska sedge is commonly an important component of native meadow 
hay, particularly in the lower mountain valleys, where a large volume of natural 
and irrigated meadow hay for winter livestock feeding is harvested annually. 
In some sections, overirrigation has suppressed the grasses and greatly en- 
couraged this and other sedges. Nebraska sedge hay cures well, but is not 
easily handled, being bulky and difficult to fork. Chemical analyses furnish 
evidence that, although this hay contains less than half as much crude pro- 
tein as alfalfa, it yet ranks high in potential nutritive properties. 1 

1 Knight, H. G., Hepner, F. E., and Nelson, A. WYOMING FORAGE PLANTS AND THEIR 
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION STUDIES NO. 2. Wyo. Agr. Expt. Sta. Bull. 70, 75 pp., illus. 1906. 


Juncoi'des parviflo'rum, syn. Lu'zula parviflo'ra 

(2 leaves) 

f Flowers small (less than % in. long), 
solitary (sometimes- 2 or 3 in a group), 
bracted, slender-stalked, borne in a 
bracted, nodding, much-branched end 
cluster (decompound panicle) up to 
about 4 in. long 

Bractlike flower parts (perianth) in 2 
series of 3 each, similar, lance-shaped, 
sharp-pointed, green or more or less 
tinged with brown 

Stamens 6, attached to base of 

Seed pod (capsule) ^gg-shaped, green 
to reddish brown, slightly longer than 
persistent perianth, 1-celled, 3-seeded, 
splitting when ripe 

Leaves mostly basal, grasslike, up to 
about 6 in. long, from % to about $ in. 
wide, thin, shining, tapering to a sharp 
or blunt tip, hairless; sheaths with 
united edges, often sparsely long-white- 
hairy at the throat 

Stems solitary or tufted, hollow, erect, 
usually from 1 to about 2 ft. high, 2- to 

Rootstocks slender, somewhat woody, 
matted, perennial 

Roots numerous, matted, fibrous 

Millet woodrush, one of the most common members of this mod- 
erately large genus of perennial, grasslike plants, is widely dis- 
tributed in Europe and Asia as well as in North America. It grows 
in low woods and on open mountain slopes from Alaska to Labrador, 
south to New York, Minnesota, New Mexico, and California, occur- 
ring through the mountains of the 11 far Western States. The 
specific name pccrviflorum means "small-flowered", and the plant 
is sometimes called "small-flowered woodrush." However, since this 
species was originally described in 1791, several other west- American 
species, such as Piper woodrush (/. pi' peri) and Donner woodrush 
(J. subccmges' turn) , with even smaller flowers, have been collected 
and described. People without botanical training frequently mis- 
take /. parmflonmi for a P(micum (the grass genus to which broom- 
corn millet the original "millet", P. mUiacewn, oldest of cultivated 
cereals belongs) ; it has a rather milletlike head, and the English 
name millet woodrush is here suggested as appropriate. 

The altitudinal range of millet woodrush in the Western States 
is extensive. In the coastal region from Alaska as far south as 
Washington, at least, it descends to sea level. In the interior its 
range is largely restricted to the moist, high mountains up to about 
6,000 feet in California, 6,500 feet in Washington and Oregon, 7,500 
feet in Idaho, 8,500 feet in Montana, 10,500 feet in Utah and Nevada, 
and 12,000 feet or over in Colorado and New Mexico. Although 
seldom abundant, except perhaps in the coastal region of the North- 
west, it is usually a common and characteristic plant of meadows, 
moist woods, and bogs. Its favorite sites are wet, highly organic, 
oozy soils, such as around seeps and the like, and where it is a 
common associate of tufted hairgrass (Deschampsia ca-espi-tosa) in 
moist meadows and other areas. Millet woodrush apparently does 
equally well under all light conditions, from full sunlight, to rather 
dense shade. Distribution of this species is usually governed by 
favorable moisture conditions. 

The forage value of millet woodrush on summer ranges is usually 
regarded as poor to fair for sheep and fair to fairly good, or occa- 
sionally good, for cattle. In general, its utilization tends to increase 
somewhat as the grazing season advances, due largely to the greater 
consumption of its more palatable grass associates during the spring 
and summer and to the partial drying of the areas its occupies. 
Frequently this plant is not available to livestock because of its 
occurrence in soft, miry areas, which range livestock intuitively avoid. 
In other instances, although the species is readily available in some 
parks and meadows, it is not utilized due to the isolation and non- 
use of those areas. Even where the range is rather closely grazed, 
millet woodrush is often only slightly utilized. The reason for this 
local neglect, where it occurs, is obscure, as this species has the 
abundant succulent leafiness characteristic of a good forage plant. 
The individual plants of millet woodrush, though normally scattered, 
commonly form a several-stemmed, densely leafy tuft from the 
slender rootstocks (this species is less accurately referred to in some 
manuals as "stoloniferous") in simulation of the better range bunch- 
grasses. Furthermore, the foliage is still green and tender when 
most of the associated plants have matured. 

(leaf 2) 

Juncoi'des spp., syn. Lu'zula spp. 

The woodrushes, with the rushes (Juncus spp.) , comprise the North 
American representatives of the rush family (Juncaceae) whose 
members are chiefly distinguished from the sedge family (Cy- 
peraceae) and the grass family (Gramineae) by their regular, per- 
fect flowers composed of six similar perianth segments, usually three 
or six stamens, and a three- to many-seeded fruit (capsule). Al- 
though small and dull-colored (greenish or brownish), the flowers 
are essentially lilylike in structure. The woodrushes, although simi- 
lar to the rushes in many respects, differ chiefly in that the leaves 
are softer and flatter than in Juncus and not infrequently are hairy, 
the leaf sheaths are closed, the stems are hollow and conspicuously 
leafy, and the capsules are one-celled and one- or three-seeded. The 
stems of true rushes (Junci) are often leafless or, when leafy, the 
leaf sheaths are open, and the capsules are one- or three-celled and 
contain several to many seeds. In contrast to the soft, flat, grass- 
like leaf blades of the woodrushes, those of the rushes are usually 
stiff and may be flat, round, or channeled. Junooides is composed 
of approximately 65 widely distributed species, with about 12 native 
to the western range States. The common name woodrush was ap- 
plied to this genus because of its resemblance to the true rushes, 
and its frequent habit of growing in wooded areas. The generic name 
Jutiooides is of Greek origin and means "like Juncus" Under the 
International Code of nomenclature, generic names with the -aides 
suffix are rejected under the theory that they are of doubtful scien- 
tific propriety. Hence, under that Code, the next oldest name, Luzula 
is adopted for this genus. The U. S. Department of Agriculture, 
under the leadership of Dr. Frederick V. Coville, the foremost living 
American student of Juncaceae, has accepted the American Code 
name Juncoides for these plants. 

The other species of woodrush growing in the West are similar 
in many ways to millet woodrush. They generally inhabit moist 
to wet situations, either in the open or 1 shade, with the exception 
that Piper and Donner woodrushes are largely limited to drier, 
sandy, or gravelly soils. Although the forage value of the individual 
species varies considerably, the palatability of the group as a whole 
is similar to that of millet woodrush, and they are seldom grazed as 
much as might be expected, considering their desirable and luscious- 
looking foliage. 

Two other species, common on the western ranges, deserve mention. 
Field woodrush (/. oam<pes'tre] , sometimes called common woodrush 
and timber woodrush, is one of the most important, occurring, as it 
does, in the mountains and colder regions almost throughout North 
America, as well as in Europe and Asia, Like millet woodrush, it 
is common, but not abundant, in moist and wet situations both in 
open meadows and in the shade of willows and timber; it occasion- 
ally even grows in drier habitats. The stems of field woodrush are 
densely tufted and from 4 to 16 (occasionally 20) inches in height, 

with 2 to 4 stem, leaves. The leaf blades are from 3 to 6 inches long, 
flat, and taper to a blunt tip ; they are sparingly hairy, especially 
when young, and are densely hairy at the throat. The flowers are 
borne in rather dense, oblong clusters on the stalks of the usually 
loosely branched inflorescence, which spreads but does not nod. 
The entire inflorescence is subtended by several bracts, the largest 
of which is leaflike, often surpassing the inflorescence in length. In 
general, this species is probably utilized more than millet woodrush, 
because it appears to be somewhat more palatable and also is more 
likely to occur in areas grazed by both cattle and sheep. A. A. Han- 
sen 1 mentions a case of sickness and loss among cattle and horses 
pastured in a Pennsylvania area where a third of the herbage was 
composed of this species. He states that no poisonous plants could 
be found, and that an autopsy showed a large accumulation of the 
"seeds" of this plant in the digestive tracts of the dead animals. 
"The verdict of the veterinarian was that death was due to eating 
the stalks and indigestible fruits of the woodrush, which so clogged 
the alimentary tract that food could not pass through." 

Spike woodrush (/. spied' 'twn} , which grows mainly in the spruce 
and alpine belts throughout the western mountains, has its dense, 
stalkless flower clusters aggregated into a nodding, spikelike inflo- 
rescence. It occurs widely in North America, ranging from Alaska 
to California, New Mexico, Colorado, and Montana, and. in the East, 
from the Arctic regions south to New Hampshire and New York. 
It is also native to the Old World. This species is commonly 4 to 
16 inches in height with the stems closely tufted, although the indi- 
vidual plants are relatively small as rootstocks; are lacking. The 
leaves are erect, narrow, often inrolled, and mostly less than 4 
inches long. This plant prefers moist, sandy loams and is often 
associated with tufted hairgrass, bluegrasses, and aspen. Its pala- 
tability is moderate, about the same as that of millet woodrush, al- 
though, as it produces less herbage, its forage value is also less. 

Acad. Sci. Proc. (1924) 34 : 229-254, illus. 1925. 


Jun'cus bal'ticus 

(2 leaves) 

Flowers small (less than K in. long), 
each 2-bracted and slender-stalked, 
numerous, borne in a flattened, loose, 
branched side cluster (panicle) up to 
2% in. long, the erect, green bract at 
its base appearing like a prolongation 
of the stem beyond the cluster 

Bractlike flower parts (perianth) in 
2 series of 3 each, similar, lance- 
shaped, sharp-pointed, usually pur- 
plish brown with green, midrib and 
white, papery margins 

Stamens 6, shorter than perianth; 
pollen sacs (anthers) longer than their 
stalks (filaments) 

Seed pod (capsule) about as long as 
persistent perianth, pale to dark brown, 
narrowly egg-shaped, conspicuously 
and abruptly -sharp-pointed at tip, 
3-celled, many-seeded, splitting when 


Stems usually 8 to 32 (sometimes up 
to 42) in. high, smooth, dark green, 
leafless, round, soft-pithy inside 

Leaves basal, reduced to bladeless 

Rootstock stout, perennial, long- (of- 
ten several ft.) creeping, giving rise to 
stems at intervals along its length 

Roots fibrous, numerous 

Wire rush, one of the more common species of Jwncus, and gener- 
ally known in the western range States as wiregrass, is very widely 
distributed in both Europe and Asia as well as in North America, 
where it occurs from Newfoundland and Labrador to Alaska, Cali- 
fornia, New Mexico, Nebraska, Missouri, and Pennsylvania. The 
distinguished German botanist Carl L. Willdenow (1765-1812) ap- 
pears to have named this plant Junvus 'balticus because of its com- 
monness along the German shore bordering the Baltic Sea. Baltic 
rush, a translation of the scientific name, is sometimes used as the 
common name. 

As indicated by its extensive distribution, wire rush occurs under 
a wide variety of environmental conditions and consists of a number 
of races or forms. It appears near sea level, through the valleys and 
deserts and almost to timberline in the mountains, growing on a 
variety of soil types. This species prefers moist or wet, deep, organic, 
meadow soils, where it usually appears in association with various 
sedges, bluegrasses, and willows, or sometimes occurs in pure stands. 
It is frequently common in shallow ponds or in other wet sites, where 
the water may stand until midsummer or longer, but is also occa- 
sionally found in rather dry situations such as sage flats and dry 
meadows. The plant grows on soils which are either shallow or 
gravelly, or a combination of both types if the moisture supply is 
ample, but the dry-site soils it inhabits are usually deep and fertile. 
The wet mountain meadows, bogs, and other cold, organic soils on 
which wire rush grows are often high acid, although this species 
also appears in soils that are alkaline or neutral. However, the 
densest and most vigorous growth apparently results on neutral or 
slightly acid soils. 

The forage value of wire rush depends on a number of factors, 
such as stage of maturity, density of stand, and intensity of use. 
The wiriness of the mature stems, which are rather tough even when 
young, is so characteristic that the frequently used common name, 
wiregrass, is appropriate although, of course, Baltic rush is not a 
true grass. Its stems are so tough that they often pull free from 
the rootstocks when livestock, especially cattle, are tugging to nip 
them off. As might be expected, the palatability of this species is 
greatest in the spring, and gradually decreases as the stems become 
increasingly tough and mature. 

On most ranges, wire rush is used advantageously by livestock 
if it composes less than 20 percent of the plant cover and is well 
distributed amidst other forage plants. Possibly, some of this use 
may be unintentional, wire rush being eaten along with the other 
forage plants. Under these conditions, it is usually rated as good 
for cattle and fairly good for sheep. Utilization normally decreases 
as the density of this species increases, until ultimately any area com- 
posed of 80 percent or more is very likely to be avoided, unless that 
area is small or the range overstocked. On ranges where the meadow 
type constitutes but a small portion of the forage, wire rush is usually 
closely grazed season-long, especially by cattle. Sometimes, patches 
of this species, which would be poor forage on the open range, are 
grazed closely when in pastures. This is particularly true in certain 
valleys where livestock are wintered. 

(leaf 2) 

Ordinarily, wire rush remains green all summer, even on such seem- 
ingly dry situations as flats and eroded meadows, but this probably 
results because of little competition with other species and the abil- 
ity of its deep root system to obtain ample moisture. On some sites, 
however, this plant customarily matures by midsummer. This is 
particularly true of certain meadows which are extremely wet in 
the spring but later become exceedingly dry. Naturally, the pala- 
tability is greatest while the plant is green; in fact, under most 
range conditions, the forage is practically worthless after attaining 
maturity, when it turns brown. 

Wire rush withstands close use longer than most forage plants, 
because of its strongly developed system of underground stems. In 
addition to numerous and extensive fibrous roots, it has thick, strong, 
long-creeping rootstocks from which leaf -bearing (aerial) stems arise 
at frequent intervals. As long as these rootstocks remain vigorous 
and continue to elongate and send up new leafy shoots, the produc- 
tion of seed is not necessary to maintain the stand. Under continued 
cropping and where the moisture supply is at all favorable, wire 
rush produces new growth throughout the growing season. Ordi- 
narily, this process may continue for many years before the plant 
finally loses its vigor and dies. 

Its ability to withstand close use often makes this species invalua- 
ble in soil protection, as it is one of the last plants of the original 
meadow association to disappear on overgrazed and eroded areas. 
Where dense, the numerous rootstocks and roots compose a matlike 
layer, which protects the surface soil very effectively. Unless this 
mat is undercut, as by a gulley, or its strength decreased through 
death of the plants, it will ordinarily protect the meadow soil against 
destructive erosion for an indefinite period. 

Wire rush is probably one of the most common rushes occurring 
in the meadow hays of the Western States. 1 2 It is usually inter- 
mingled with sedges and grasses, but sometimes, particularly on wet 
or overirrigated areas, it may form the bulk of the harvest. Ordi- 
narily, it cures well as a green-colored hay, which frequently is much 
more palatable than the herbage of the living plant in pasture or on 
the range. Chemical analysis 2 seems to indicate that wire rush 
ranks high in potential nutritive value, and. is similar to timothy 
and alfalfa in proportions of nitrogen-free extract and crude fiber. 
It is definitely superior to timothy in crude protein content, but 
alfalfa excels wire rush in crude protein by about 3 percent. 

Many of the American Indian tribes used the wiry stems of wire 
rush in manufacturing various articles. The Klamath Indians of 
Oregon, 3 and the White Mountain Apaches of the Arizona Plateau, 4 



Plant Indus. Bull. 38, 52 pp., illus. 1903. 

2 Knight, H. G., Hepner, F. E., and Nelson, A. WYOMING FORAGE PLANTS AND THEIR 
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION STUDIES NO. 2. Wyo. Agr. Expt. Sta. Bull. 70, 75 pp , illus 

U. S. Dept. Agr., Div. Bot., Contrib. U. S. Natl. Herbarium 5 : 87-108. 1897. 

TEXTILE ART WITHOUT MACHiNBBi. U. S. Natl. Mus. Kept. 1901-1902 : 171-548, illus. 1904, 

for example, made baskets and mats from the stems of this plant. 
Because of its abundance, it was often used by the Indian children, 
when learning to weave. 


Jun'cus spp. 

Juncus, the largest genus (about 215 species) of the rush family 
(Juncaceae), is of world-wide distribution, being most abundant in 
the North Temperate Zone. Jwncus^ the classical name for the rush, 
is derived from the Latin jungo (meaning join, or bind) and refers 
to the use of these plants as a binder in matting and basketry. The 
rushes are grasslike, usually perennial plants, which chiefly occur in 
swamps or other wet places. The typically unbranched and hairless 
stems are either scapelike, with all the leaves basal, or else bear 
some leaves on the stem. The leaf sheaths, when present, are open ; 
the leaf blades are stiff, with free margins as in the grasses, and are 
rounded, channeled, or flat and, in some species, are conspicuously 
cross-partitioned. The clustered flowers are perfect and, though 
small and homely, essentially lilylike in form; their perianth parts 
(referred to as sepals and petals by some authors) are greenish 
or brown and often chaffy, and are in an outer and inner series of 
three each. The fruit is a one- to three-celled capsule containing 
from several to many small cinnamon-colored seeds often with tailed 

Wire rush is representative of the group of species with an ap- 
parently lateral flower cluster, subtended by a leaf (involucral bract), 
which appears to be a direct prolongation of the main stem that 
otherwise is leafless. Rocky Mountain rush (/. saximonta'nus], 
occurring from Alberta to British Columbia, California, and New 
Mexico, is a good example of those range rushes which have a 
terminal flower cluster whose inflorescence leaf does not resemble a 
continuation of the main stem or, if so, is conspicuously channeled 
on the upper side. 

In general, the palatability of the more tender species of range 
rushes ranks as fair to good or occasionally very good for cattle, 
and as fair or fairly good for sheep. The highest utilization of 
rushes, as a rule, is obtained with the fine-leaved, meadow type 
species, especially when growing mixed with other plants rather than 
in pure stand. 


Triglo'chin mari'tima, syn. T. mari'tima de'bilis 

(2 leaves) 

Flowers small, greenish, perfect, 
bractless, stalked, numerous, in .an 
end cluster (raceme) 

Petals 3, egg-shaped, slightly cupped 

Outer flower parts (sepals) 3, similar 
to petals 

Leaves all basal, half-cylindric, grass- 
like or rushlike, narrow, linear, with 
broad sheaths at base, shorter than 

Seed pods (carpels) 6, united but 
separating from base upward when 
ripe; each carpel egg-shaped, 3-angled, 
1-seeded, tipped by a short, persistent* 
bent-back stalk (style) 

Stem- leafless, stout, hairless, often 
ridged and spirally twisted, up to 3 ft. 

Rootstock perennial, short, thick,, 
mostly concealed by leaf sheaths; 
runners lacking 

Roots fibrous 

Seaside arrowgrass is a perennial herb of the arrowgrass family 
( Scheuchzeriaceae, syn. Juncaginaceae) . Unfortunately, the com- 
mon name arrowgrass is not entirely appropriate ; the plant, while 
somewhat grasslike, is not, of course, a true grass ; moreover, marsh 
arrowgrass (T. palustris] is the only North American species of this 
genus which has 'arrow-shaped fruits. To correct this, it has been 
suggested that podgrass be adopted as the English name for Tri- 
glochin, T. maritima to be known as shore (or seaside) podgrass, 
and T. palicstris as arrow podgrass or arrowpod. The generic name 
is derived from the Greek words tri, three, and glochin, point, and 
refers to the three points of the ripe fruit of marsh arrowgrass. The 
specific name mcvwtima, a Latin adjective meaning belonging to or 
found in the sea, refers to the frequent seashore habitat of this plant. 
In North America the species occurs in salt marshes near the coast 
from Alaska to Lower California and Mexico, and from Labrador 
to New Jersey ; it also grows in the interior and across the continent, 
particularly from the Great Plains westward, in wet alkaline soils, 
along sloughs, and in wet meadows and seeps. It is also widely 
distributed in Europe, Asia, and northern Africa. It is replaced 
by T. striata in the Southeastern States. In the western United 
States this plant occurs from sea level up to elevations of 8,000 feet. 
It grows in clumps or small patches and is often found covering 
large areas, particularly in low-lying meadows utilized for hay, as, 
for example, in Utah and Wyoming. 

Seaside arrowgrass is poisonous to cattle and sheep ; large annual 
losses o,f cattle have been due to this plant. Deer and other game 
animals are sometimes killed by eating arrowgrass. Heavy losses 
of livestock have occurred on meadows after hay harvest, because 
seaside arrowgrass revives quickly after mowing, is more prominent 
than the second growth of the associated grasses, and furnishes an 
abundance of saline and succulent, though poisonous, forage. 1 
Chemical analysis of this plant shows a high common salt content; 
lack of salt on the range would naturally lead livestock to the selec- 
tion of this plant for their requirements. 2 Moreover, it frequently 
lacks the flowering stalks, and its clusters of leaves are often mis- 
taken for wiregrass. 2 Although the matter is controversial, it 
seems prudent to avoid, as far as practical, the use of seaside arrow- 
grass in hay. Fleming et al. 3 in 1920 presented evidence that cut and 
dried plants of seaside arrowgrass are more deadly than the green 
plants. Marsh et al. 1 reported in 1929 that the air-dried plant used 
in the experimental work gradually lost most of its toxicity in dry- 
ing, and they drew the conclusion that stock losses result only from 
eating the green plant and that there is no danger from hay contain- 
ing arrowgrass. They further report that the people in Goshen, 
Utah, who have had long experience with the effect of the plant 
on cattle, state that they have never known cases of poisoning to 

1 Marsh, C. D., Clawson, A. B., and Roe, G. C. ARROW GRASS (TRIGLOCHIN MARITIMA) 
AS A STOCK-POISONING PLANT. U. S. Dept. Agr. Tech. Bull. 113, 15 pp., illus. 1929. 

2 Beath, O. A., Draiz<e, J. H., and Gilbert, C. S. PLANTS POISONOUS TO LIVESTOCK. Wvo. 
Agr. Exp. Sta. Bull 200, 84 pp., illus. 1934. 

3 Fleming, C. E., Peterson, N. F., Miller, M. R., Wright, L. H., and Louck, R. C. ARROW- 

98, 22 pp., illus. 1920. 

(leaf 2) 

result from eating the plant in hay. In 1933 Beath et al. 4 found 
that the poison resides chiefly in the leaves; that the drying of the 
plant results in the loss of varying amounts of HCN, but that this 
is partly counterbalanced by the tact that the acid is more readily 
and completely released than in the green plant ; that frosted, wilted, 
and stunted plants are less toxic than normal growth, and that, for 
some unknown reason, air-dried samples cured in hay differ mate- 
rially in their retention of toxicity. 

Beath et al. 4 regard this plant as the most rapidly acting poisonous 
species found on the western stock ranges. Hydrocyanic acid is the 
active poisonous principle. To produce poisoning, the toxic dose 
must be eaten in a short period of time. The sickness comes on very 
quickly, lasts a comparatively short time, and in cases of recovery 
seems to have no permanent effect. 1 The usual symptoms of poison- 
ing by seaside arrowgrass are typical of hydrocyanic acid poisoning 
in general, i. e., brief stimulation followed by depression and paraly- 
sis. Colic often occurs accompanied by stupor, difficult breathing, 
and frequent convulsions. Death results directly from respiratory 
paralysis, and frequently the heart continues to beat after breathing 
has ceased. 5 

Remedies for cyanide poisoning are as yet in the experimental 
stages. Recent experiments have shown that injections of a combi- 
nation of sodium nitrite and sodium thiosulphate are effective in 
the treatment of cattle and sheep poisoned by arrowgrass. 6 How- 
ever, death in most cases occurs so quickly that there is little oppor- 
tunity to apply remedial measures. Certain feeds, such as alfalfa 
hay and linseed cake, seem to retard the production of hydrocyanic 
acid in the animals' stomachs and may prevent poisoning. The best 
way to prevent losses is not to pasture livestock on meadows con- 
taining an abundance of the plant and to refrain from cutting arrow- 
grass for hay. 

Seaside arrowgrass is apparently poisonous throughout its entire 
growth period. Differences of opinion among stockmen about the 
poisonous properties of this species are no doubt largely attributable 
to the latent factors which increase or decrease the potential amount 
of hydrocyanic acid in the various plants. Hydrocyanic acid does 
not actually occur in any appreciable quantity in healthy growing 
plants, but two chemical substances are present, which, though not 
poisonous individually, combine to form hydrocyanic acid. 6 The 
amount of potential hydrocyanic acid in the various plants capable 
of producing hydrocyanic acid poisoning varies with the stage of 
growth and climatic and soil conditions; the damaging effects of 
drought, frost, trampling, or mowing tend to stimulate the formation 
of the poison in the plants. 6 

4 Beath, O. A., Draize, J. H., and Eppson, H. F. ARROW GRASS CHEMICAL AND PHYSIO- 
LOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS. Wyo. Agr. Expt. Sta. Bull. 193, 36 pp., lllus. 1933. 


U. S. Dept. Agr. Leaflet 88, 4 pp. 1932. 

6 Bunyea, H., Couch, J. F., and Clawson, A. B. THE NITRITE-THIOSULPHATE COMBINA- 
528 532. 1934. 

Seaside arrowgrass has an oblong or ovoid fruit consisting of 6 
carpels. The Klamath Indians called this plant gil-len-a. They ate 
the parched seeds and sometimes used them as a substitute for 
coffee. 7 

Triglochin is a small genus of herbs widely distributed in sub- 
arctic and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere and in 
northern Africa, growing mostly along seashores and in brackish or 
marshy places. In addition to seaside arrowgrass, two other species 
occur in the United States. All three are poisonous, but seaside 
arrowgrass, because of its abundance, is most important in the West. 
These species are perennial herbs with long, narrow, grasslike or 
rushlike leaves which sheath the base of the plants. The greenish or 
yellowish green flowers ? individually small and inconspicuous, are 
borne on a leafless stalk in a long, spikelike raceme. 

Marsh arrowgrass (T. pcdus'tris} occurs in brackish marshes, bogs, 
and alkaline meadows from Alaska to Washington and from Green- 
land to New Brunswick and New York; it is found inland along 
the St. John and St. Lawrence Rivers, about the Great Lakes, and 
in the Rocky Mountain region. It also occurs in South America, 
Europe, and Asia. It is the type species of the genus, the generic 
name Triglochin referring to the characteristic three narrow seed 
pods with taper-pointed tips. 

Ridged arrowgrass (T. stria! td) has only three flower (perianth) 
parts and three anthers (instead of six) ; its fruit is globular, con- 
sisting of three carpels, each ribbed on the back. This species has a 
more restricted range in the United States than the other two species, 
occurring in salt marshes in two widely separated strips: In the 
East, from Maryland to Florida and Louisiana, and, in California, 
from Mendocino County to Santa Barbara. It is also found in 
Mexico and in South America, 

U. S. Dept. Agr., Div. Bot, Contrib. U. S. Natl. Herbarium 5 : 87-108. 1897. 


Achille'a lanulo'sa, syn. A. millefo'lium lanulo'sa 


(2 leaves) 

Flower heads small, numerous, 
stalked, in compact, branched, ter- 
minal, flattened or round-topped clus- 
ters (panicles or compound cymes) 2 to 
4 in. across 

Bracts in a series (involucre) sur- 
rounding base of flower heads, greenish 
with pale brown or straw-colored pa- 
pery margins, overlapping in 3 or 4 
rows, outer and lower ones much 
shorter than inner and upper ones 

Outside (ray) flowers of the heads 
broadly strap-shaped, white, petal- 
like, few, spreading, seed-producing 

Center (disk) flowers of the heads 
small, numerous, yellow, tubular, per- 
fect, seed-producing, inner ones partly 
enclosed at base by membranous chaffy 
bracts (paleae) 

Stems densely white-woolly (lanulose), 
somewhat furrowed, unbranched, erect, 
up to 3 ft. high 

Leaves tansylike, lanulose, narrowly 
lance-shaped in outline, much divided 
and subdivided into very fine, narrow, 
crowded, ultimate divisions; upper 
leaves stalkless 

Kootstocks underground, extensive 

Roots numerous, fibrous 

''Seeds" (achenes) hairless, margined, 
oblong or reversely egg-shaped, without 
bristles or scales (pappus) at tips 

Western yarrow, also called milfoil, wild-tansy, and woolly yar- 
row, is a strong-scented, occasionally turf-forming, perennial herb 
of the mayweed-tansy-sagebrush tribe (Anthemideae) of the huge 
aster, or composite family (Asteraceae, or Compositae). Its generic 
name AchiHca is in honor of the legendary Greek hero Achilles, 
who is credited with first using yarrow to cure wounds ; the specific 
name Ianiilo8a is a diminutive of the Latin adjective for woolly 
(from Tana, wool) and refers to the fine, dense, silky-woolly hairs 
which cover the plant and give it a somewhat grayish appearance. 

Western yarrow is one of the most widely distributed and abun- 
dant herbaceous species in the 11 far western States. Its range 

includes large areas in southern Canada from British Columbia to 
Manitoba, a few of the Lake States, and all the States west of North 
Dakota and south into Mexico. 

This species prospers in a great variety of habitats, such as sage- 
brush areas, canyon bottoms, glades, roadsides, and vacant lots. 
It is also prevalent in brushlands, aspen, and open timber, but avoids 
dense shade. It is comparatively drought-resistant and flourishes 
in the sandy and gravelly loam soils of open flats, parks, and dry 
meadows. The plants usually grow somewhat scatteringly, seldom 
forming pure stands on areas larger than a few square rods. In 
places where the natural plant cover has been but slightly or not at 
all disturbed, western yarrow occurs only sparsely, but it is one of 
the plants that invades readily and increases conspicuously when 
overgrazing makes growing conditions unfavorable for more pal- 
atable and less resistant species. 

The forage value of western yarrow varies greatly with different 
localities and with different plant associates. On many ranges all 
classes of livestock graze this plant moderately throughout the 
season. Sheep (and sometimes cattle) often evince a fondness for 
the flower heads of western yarrow. They do not relish the stems 
when these parts become somewhat woody late in the season, al- 
though they occasionally graze the dried leaves. The species rates 
from poor to, rarely, good in palatability for sheep and from un- 
palatable to fair, seldom fairly good, for cattle. Its chief value 
for sheep appears to be in Nevada and New Mexico, although rank- 
ing as fairly good in parts of Utah and Arizona. It appears to 
be most valuable for cattle in parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, 
and New Mexico. In California it is usually regarded as poor or 
worthless. Horses graze it much less than do cattle. Deer, as a 
rule, eat western yarrow very sparingly, but on the Kaibab Plateau 
the species is regarded as fair mule-deer forage. 

Sampson, 1 in his plant succession studies on high summer range 
in central Utah, shows that, when this type of range is undisturbed, 
its climax vegetation is made up of wheatgrasses. With overgraz- 
ing, however, this cover changes to a somewhat less stable mixed 
grass and weed type, the porcupinegrass-yellowbrush consociation. 
He reports further that when conditions unfavorable to growth are 
sufficiently prolonged gradually to destroy the porcupinegrass- 
yellowbrush cover, but not such as seriously to change the condition 
of the soil, shallow-rooted perennial weeds of the second weed stage, 
notably "blue foxglove" (Pentstemon procerus), "sweet sage" (Arte- 
misia discolor), and yarrow (Achittea lanulosa) , are the natural 
successors. Western yarrow is thus definitely placed by Sampson 
as one of the three perennial weeds that, under certain definite 
conditions of overgrazing, tend to dominate these high summer 
ranges. Under such conditions, local abundance of western yarrow 
would be an indicator of continued past overstocking and excessive 

Agr. Bull. 791, 70 pp., illus. 1919. 

(leaf 2) 

On account of its extensive underground system of rootstocks, 
Forsling 2 reports the use of western yarrow, as well as of sweet sage, 
as a soil binder in certain types of erosion control on the Wasatch 
Plateau in central Utah. When such plants are started near the 
edges of small gullies, their rootstocks soon spread down in all direc- 
tions across the depressions and serve to catch particles of sediment 
from water flowing past them, thus forming small alluvial fans and 
checking surface run-off. 

In addition to this vegetative propagation by rootstocks or rhi- 
zomes, western yarrow also has fairly strong seed habits. It pro- 
duces flowers practically throughout the summer, beginning as early 
as May or as late as September in the higher mountains ; subsequently 
there is, in the case of the early-flowering plants, a long period of 
seed production. The late-flowering plants, however, often are un- 
able to set seed. 

The leaves of western yarrow are mostly basal, often forming 
rosettes. These lower leaves are stalked and are from 2 to 8 inches 
long, but the unpaired (alternate) stem leaves become increasingly 
shorter up the stem and are either stalkless (sessile) or nearly so. 
The dense flower clusters at the ends of the stems are somewhat 
flattened or convex like the top of a derby hat. What appear to be 
individual flowers are really flower heads, consisting of a group of 
flowers (both ray and disk flowers) attached to a common base 
(receptacle), and closely surrounded by a series (involucre) of 
small bracts (phyllaries) that overlap like shingles. 

Common yarrow (Achille'a millefo'lmm), a native of the Old 
World, is a widely distributed weed in the eastern part of the United 
States and in portions of the West. It is a taller, smoother, and 
greener plant than western yarrow, and has long been used for me- 
dicinal purposes. Its flowers are markedly aromatic and its leaves 
possess astringent properties. It is very probable that western 
yarrow (which is so closely related to common yarrow that some 
botanists consider it merely a variety of the former, and not a 
separate species) could be put to similar medicinal uses. Indians 
are said to have employed western yarrow as a mild laxative. 



U. S. Dept. Agr. Tech. Bull. 220, 72 pp., illus. 1931. 


Aconi'tum spp. 

Monkshoods compose a fairly large genus of perennial herbs of the 
buttercup family (Ranunculaceae), being principally natives of the 
mountainous regions of the North Temperate Zone. Other common 
names used for the genus are aconite and wolfbane ; the latter name, 
however, is perhaps best restricted x to the Old World A. lycoctonum, 
and aconite to the cultivated drug plant, A. napeUus. Aconitum is 
the classical name for these plants. The genus is better represented 
in the Old World, and widely varying opinions exist about the num- 
ber of species, as many as TO species being recognized by some 
botanists. Probably about 15 species occur in the United States, 
Canada, and Alaska, each of the western range States having one or 
more species. The Intermountain region, with 6 species, is the 
center of distribution in this country. 

In the West, monkshoods grow chiefly in the mountains, usually 
singly or in small patches, and seldom occur in great abundance over 
large areas. They appear commonly in moist open woods, along 
creeks, in meadows and grasslands, often extending into the higher 
mountains where the growing season is short. Their habitat is simi- 
lar to that of larkspurs, with which they are often confused. Al- 
though widely distributed, monkshoods are seldom, if ever, suffi- 
ciently abundant to attain major importance on the range. They 
constitute fair feed for sheep, poor for cattle, and are but rarely 
grazed by horses. Although technically poisonous, the monkshoods 
probably never cause livestock fatalities, or even sickness on the 
range. 2 The most poisonous part of these plants is the root, usually in- 
accessible and unattractive to livestock. The seeds are also poison- 
ous. The root of wolfbane (A. lycoctonwn)^ cultivated in this coun- 
try as an ornamental, has been extensively employed in the Old 
World to destroy wolves and other predators. 

The important drug aconite, an arterial and nervous sedative, 
used in the treatment of sciatica and other neuralgias and in various 
other disorders, is commercially obtained from the roots of the Old 
World plant of similar name, A. napellus? which is also the species 
of Aconitwn most commonly cultivated in the United States as an 
ornamental. The chief active principle of this drug is the alkaloid 
aconitiiie (Cf4HOuN), a powerful poison. Apparently true aconi- 
tine is known only from A. napellus, similar alkaloids (previously 
called aconitine) derived from other monkshoods proving to be 
somewhat different chemically. McNair reports that the various 
aconitines have been separated only from members of the genus 

1 American Joint Committee on Horticultural Nomenclature. STANDARDIZED PLANT 
NAMES. Prepared by F. L. Olmsted. F. V. Coville, and H. P. Kelsey. 546 pp. Salem, 
Mass. 1923. 

2 Marsh, C. D. STOCK-POISONING PLANTS OF THE RANGE. U. S. Dept. Agr. Bull. 1245, 
rev., 75 pp., illus. 1929. Supersedes Bull. 575. 

8 Wood, H. C., Remington, J. P., Sadtler, S. P., assisted by Lyons, A. B., and Wood, 


AND DE. FRANKLIN BACHE. Ed. 19, thoroughly rev. and largely rewritten . . . 1,947 
pp. Philadelphia and London. 1907. 

Aoonitwn. Aconitum is noteworthy in giving a new chemical spe- 
cies of aconitine for each new botanical species analyzed, although all 
the aconitines are apparently closely related. 4 These plants should 
not be planted in or near kitchen gardens or in children's gardens, 5 as 
their roots, leaves, and sometimes the flowers may cause poisoning. 

The roots or underground parts of monkshoods show considerable 
variation and, in collecting the plants, these parts should always be 
represented. 67 The roots of all western monkshoods are perennial, 
many are clustered, and most of them tuberous. The pithy or solid, 
often slender stems are frequently solitary, 1 to 6 feet tall, and vary 
greatly in leafiness and hairiness. The leaves are alternate, pal- 
mately lobed or divided, the lower ones long-stalked, and the upper 
ones somewhat reduced in size and short-stalked. The showy arid 
ornamental flowers, which appear from mid to late summer, are 
wholly unlike those of any other plant in our flora, and are readily 
identifiable by the peculiar helmet-shaped hood formed by the large 
upper sepal. The fancied resemblance of the flower to the hood 
which a monk commonly wears is the origin of the English name, 
monkshood. The flowers occur in short, few-flowered or long and 
many-flowered, branched clusters, and are characteristically deep 
blue, although they may vary from violet to white. Frequently, the 
seed pods (follicles) in the lower part of the cluster have matured 
their seed while the upper flowers are still in blossom. Monkshoods 
are reproduced by root division as well as from seed. 

These plants are attractive, hardy perennials much used for 
borders and mass formations in horticultural plantings because of 
their showy flowers and effective foliage. 

The western species of monkshood, when not in bloom, may be 
confused with tall species of larkspur (Delphinium spp.) with which 
they are frequently associated, because of the similarity of the leaves 
and the somewhat analogous growth habits. Differentiation between 
the destructive, poisonous larkspurs and the (from a range stand- 
point) harmless monkshoods is not especially difficult, as the latter 
have solid or pithy stems in contrast to the hollow stems of the 
larkspurs. Furthermore, the roots of western monkshoods are short, 
clustered, somewhat fleshy, and tuberlike with short, yellowish root- 
lets, whereas the tall larkspurs have long, dark-colored, fibrous roots 
from well-developed, tough, somewhat woody root crowns. When 
the plants are in bloom, the irregular flowers of monkshood with 
the hoodlike upper sepal are so distinctive as to be readily recog- 
nizable ; the spurred flowers of the larkspurs are also unmistakable. 

Early in the season, before the stems develop, the western monks- 
hoods may be confused with the species of wild geranium, or cranes- 
bill (Geranium spp.) as the leaves are very similar, but ordinarily 
the crushed foliage of the latter has the characteristic geranium odor. 

CHEMICAL PROPERTIES. Amer. .Tour. Bot. 21 : 427-452, illus. 1934. 

5 Bailey, L. H. THE STANDARD CYCLOPEDIA OF HORTICULTURE . . . New ed., 3 v., illus. 
New York and London. 1938. 



EINIGER DELPHINIEN. [146] pp., Illus. Leipzig. 1823-1827. 



Aconi'tum columbia'num, syn. A. pa' tens 

Leaves alternate, variable in size from 
small up to 6 in. broad, stalked, some- 
times bearing bulblets in their axils, 
palmately 3- to 5-lobed; lobes some- 
what diamond-wedge-shaped, with 
lance-shaped teeth 

Stem up to 4 (rarely 6) ft. high, 
solid or pithy, usually sticky-hairy 

Flowers showy, blue or purple, some- 
times nearly white', irregular, in a 
loose, bracted, sometimes branched, 
end cluster (raceme) 

Outer flower parts (sepals) 5, petal- 
like, dissimilar, usually hairy; upper 
sepal hehnet-or hood-shaped, up. to % 
in. long, with a nearly straight front 
line, and a prominent and variable 
"beak"; 2 side sepals broad-oval- 
shaped; 2 lower sepals small, oblong 

Petals usually 5, small; 2 upper ones 
with long, stalklike base, concealed 
inside the sepal hood; other 3 petals 
very small or lacking ; stamens numerous 

Seed pods (follicles) 3 to 5, usually 
more or less hairy, many-seeded 

Roots clustered, tuberlike, fleshy, per- 
ennial, with numerous, fibrous rootlets 

Columbia monkshood is representative of the western species of 
Aconitum both in appearance and palatability and is the most com- 
mon and widely distributed species of this genus in the West. It is 
a tall, perennial herb inhabiting all of the eleven western range 
States and occurs from British Columbia to California, New Mexico, 

and Montana. The common and specific names refer to the Columbia 
River, the first botanical description of this species resulting from a 
plant collected on the Columbia River near Walla Walla, Wash., 
about 1834. Columbia monkshood prefers moist, shady sites along 
streams and around springs in the foothills and mountains at eleva- 
tions of from approximately 1,000 to 12,000 feet, but it is most fre- 
quent at the higher elevations. It grows in a great variety of weed, 
grass, and timber types, is common in aspen and among willows, and 
occurs frequently in moist mountain meadows. This plant is seldom, 
if ever, the dominant species in areas it inhabits, though it not in- 
frequently grows in small, dens patches. It flourishes in deep, 
moist, sandy or clayey loams, especially if rich in humus. 

Columbia monkshood, while recognized as potentially poisonous to 
cattle, 1 is very rarely, if ever, consumed by such animals in sufficient 
quantities under range conditions to cause losses. The use of this 
species varies considerably in different parts of the West. In Cali- 
fornia, the Southwest, the Intermountain Region, and Idaho, cattle 
seldom touch it, and sheep usually either ignore it or merely pick off 
some of the leaves and tops. In the northern Rocky Mountains, from 
Montana to Colorado, its utilization seems to be greater, sometimes 
being considered of fair palatability for cattle and fairly good for 
sheep. The greatest range use of the species ordinarily occurs on 
summer ranges of the Northwest where sheep frequently utilize from 
70 to 80 percent of the herbage, and cattle between about 30 and 
60 percent. From an investigation conducted by Beath 2 it would 
appear that Columbia monkshood is not a highly toxic species and 
would not make a satisfactory substitute for the Old World A. 
napellus as a source of the important drug, aconite. Beath found 
A. coluwibianwni less than 0.5 percent as active as A. napellus. 

Columbia monkshood is an erect, stout, single-stemmed plant, from 
2 to occasionally 6 feet in height, the stem being solid or pithy 
within. This species has not as yet come into general use as an orna- 
mental, although it is fully as handsome as a number of its sister 
species commonly grown for horticultural purposes. 

The distinctive hooded flowers of all the monkshoods facilitate easy recog- 
nition. When not in flower, however, they are very likely to be confused with 
the tall larkspurs (Delphinium spp.), the leaves in many instances being 
almost identical ; the same holds true in the case of the wild geraniums, or 
cranesbills (Geranium spp.). Columbia monkshood is frequently associated 
with tall larkspurs, which are responsible for heavy cattle losses in the West. 
In some localities, such as certain parts of Yellowstone Park, Columbia monks- 
hood grows in great abundance whereas larkspurs are comparatively rare ; 
in other places, such as the region between Yellowstone Lake and the Grand 
Canyon, the larkspurs are very abundant and Columbia monkshood is infre- 
quent. 1 Inasmuch as the tall larkspurs are very poisonous, especially in the 
spring and fall, whereas Columbia monkshood, though possessing poisonous 
properties, seems to be negligible as a cause of range cattle losses, it is of great 
importance to learn to distinguish these plants in the field. Methods of recog- 
nizing these genera are discussed under the generic notes. 

1 Marsh, C. D. STOCK-POISONING PLANTS OF THE RANGE. U. S. Dept. Agr. Bull. 1245, 
rev., 75 pp., illus. 1929. Supersedes Bull. 575. 

2 Beath, O. A. EXTRACTS OP ACONITUM COLUMBIANUM. Jour. Amer. Phann. Assoc. 15: 
265-266. 1926. 



Acti'nea spp. 

Actinea is a fairly large American genus of annual, biennial, or 
perennial herbs belonging to the sneeze weed tribe (Helenieae) of 
the aster, or composite family (Asteraceae, or Compositae). Rep- 
resentatives of the genus occur in all the Western States except 
possibly Washington, ranging from the Sierra Nevada and Cascade 
Mountains to southern Alberta, Saskatchewan, the Dakotas, western 
Kansas, and Texas, to South America. In the United States, 
these plants appear chiefly on dry, open sites and on rocky slopes 
from the plains and western deserts to* the ponderosa pine belt in 
the mountains. Some species occur at higher elevations with a few 
above timber line. The genus is best developed, both from the stand- 
point of abundance and maximum number of species, from central 
Colorado southward through western Texas and the Southwest. 

Approximately 40 species and at least 6 definite varieties of 
Actinea occur in the Western States. The genus name is derived 
from the Greek aktu or aktinos, a ray, referring to the petallike, 
marginal ray flowers of the head. The small to comparatively large 
flower heads somewhat resemble those of sunflowers ; the ray flowers, 
present in most species, are yellow. Probably the most reliable tech- 
nical characters which distinguish this genus from other members 
of the Compositae are the 5 (sometimes 6 to 12), thin-papery, often 
sharp-pointed, scales (pappus), which crown the top-shaped, mostly 
five-angled, hairy body of the seedlike fruits (achenes) ; the close 
overlapping (rather than spreading) of the two- or three-rowed 
bracts (involucre) at the base of the flower head, and the absence 
of chaffy bracts between the individual flowers (*. e., the "receptacle" 
is naked) . The genus is a complex one, displaying a degree of varia- 
tion which has led many authorities to separate it into a number of 
segregated genera. Actineas may be silky-hair}^, woolly, or hair- 
less (glabrous). Many of the species are without true stems, the 
leaves being basal, and the flower heads solitary on leafless stalks 
(scapes) ; others are leafy-stemmed, with alternate leaves, and nu- 
merous, clustered flower heads. The leaves may be entire-margined 
or variously cleft and divided ; some are glandular-dotted. 

In addition to Actinea, "Actinella" of American authors (not 
Pers.), Hyinenowys (syn. Piwadenia), Macdougalia, Rydbergia, and 
Tetraneu/ris have been used as generic names, and one or more of 
these generic names are recognized in most of the current manuals, 
depending upon the conception of the various authors as to the seg- 
regation of the groups involved. However, Dr. S. F. Blake, an out- 
standing expert in Compositae in the Bureau of Plant Industry, 
United States Department of Agriculture, has advised the Forest 
Service that species occurring in Mexico show that these segregated 
groups, or genera, intergrade and, therefore, should, in his opinion, 
be considered as belonging to the one genus, Actinea. Recognition of 
the characters which distinguish these segregated groups, or genera, 
is helpful in understanding the genus as a whole, especially in dis- 
criminating between poisonous and nonpoisonous species. 

Those actineas which belong to the Hymenox'ys (syn. Picrade'nia) section 
are generally known as rubberweeds. They can hardly be considered as 
palatable to domestic livestock, being consumed only under starvation condi- 
tions or when little or no other feed is available. The whole rubberweed 
group should be regarded with suspicion since bitter rubberweed (A. odora'tn, 
syn. H. odorata), locally known as bitterweed and limonillo, and pingiie (A. 
richardso'ni, syn. H. floribun'da), often called Colorado rubberweed, abundant 
over large areas, are poisonous to livestock, causing large losses, especially of 
sheep. (See W7.) Rubberweeds have erect, often branched, frequently some- 
what hairy, leafy stems with the gland-dotted leaves commonly cut into many 
narrow divisions. The few to numerous, stalked flower heads, having three- 
lobed, petallike ray flowers, are relatively small, but showy; the bracts of the 
involucre of the flower head are in two series, the outer being firm and more 
or less united at the base. 

The sole representative of the Macdouya'Ua section in the United States, 
viz. A. bigclo'vii (syn. M. bigelovii), found in the mountains of New Mexico 
and Arizona, is probably negligible as forage. It is a loosely woolly, tufted, 
perennial herb, with slender, almost naked (scapelike) stems from a woody 
base, each stem having a single flower head. The linear, mainly undivided 
leaves are principally basal. 

The rydbergias (section Rydber'gia), named in honor of the late Dr. Per 
Axel Rydberg, an eminent American botanist, include two species of low, 
alpine, woolly perennials with very large, showy flower heads having long, 
narrow, three-toothed ray flowers. The bracts of their involucres are distinct, 
in three rows, and densely woolly. The leaves, mostly parted or divided into 
narrow lobes, are crowded at the base on the simple, often chunky root crown, 
and scattered on the stout, short flowering stems. The seedlike fruits 
(achenes) are surmounted by a sort of brush (pappus) of five whitish, opaque, 
bristlelike scales (paleae). These plants (A. brande'gei, syn. R. brandegci; 
A. grandiflo'ra, syn. R. grandiflora) occur on the higher summits of certain 
sectors of the Rocky Mountains, the former apparently being confined to 
Colorado and New Mexico, while A. grandiflora ranges from Montana to Utah 
and, New Mexico. Sheep on high summer range sometimes pick off the heads 
and nibble at the leaves, but the species are not important forage. Their 
showiness commends them to wildflower fans, and some day they will doubtless 
take their place among cultivated alpines. 

The United States species of the Tetraneu'ris (syn. Actinel'la in part) section, 
some of which are known as tallowweeds, are rather small plants of distinc- 
tive appearance. Although widely distributed and fairly common, they are 
usually not a dominant feature of the vegetation on most of the western ranges. 
In the Southwest, however, they are sometimes locally abundant, the flower 
heads of a number of the species reputedly being good sheep and goat forage; 
local sheepmen in central and western Texas claim that these plants produce 
a good hard fat both on lambs and sheep. 1 These species also are grazed on 
some scale by cattle and probably by game animals. This group includes both 
perennial and annual herbs ; the majority of the western range species have 
a persistent, often branched root crown (caudex) from which arise the basal, 
entire-margined, often gland-dotted leaves (rarely, some of them lobed), and 
a long, usually leafless stalk bearing a solitary, rather large flower head. 
These plants are more or less soft- or silky-hairy throughout; the presence of 
conspicuous, woolly hairs at the base of the leaf cluster is very characteristic 
of many of the species, and aids their identification when not in bloom. A 
few species have leafy, more or less branched stems with several to many 
flowers on slender flower stalks. The bright yellow ray flowers are inclined to 
persist, turning pale with age ; they are not widened at the three-toothed apex, 
and are marked by four parallel, simple nerves (whence the name Tetraneuris, 
literally four-nerved). The thin, herbaceous involucral bracts of the flower 
head, all distinct and much alike, closely overlap in two rows. The nearly 
colorless pappus scales crowning the seedlike fruits (achenes) have a strong 
midrib, which is sometimes extended into a sharp point (awn). 

U. S. Dept. Agr., Div. Agrost. Bull. 10, 38 pp., illus. 1898. 



Acti'nea acau'lis, syns. Actinel'la acau'lis, Tetraneu'ris acau'lis 

Flower heads yellow, sunflowerlike, solitary 
at ends of leafless stalks; stalks up to 8 in. 
high, usually much exceeding the leaves 

Outer (ray) flowers of heads petal -like, about 
{ in. long (sometimes }{ in.), 3-toothed, with 
orange veins, female, seed-producing 

Center (disk)' flowers of heads numerous, 
tubular, 5-toothed, perfect, seed-producing 

Bracts in a series (involucre) around base of 
flower head, appressed, not united, in 2 or 3 
rows, linear to oblong, blunt-tipped, densely 

"Seeds" (achenes) angled, hairy, crowned 
with about 6, thin-papery, egg-shaped to 
oblong scales (pappus) ; pappus scales abruptly 
tapered to a bristlelike point 

Leaves all basal, thickish, ^ to 2 in. long, 
linear to narrowly reverse-lance-shaped, entire, 
densely appressed-silky-hairy 

Leaf of variety A. acavlis septentrionalis, 
spatula-shaped; leaves of other varieties range 
between this shape and the linear leaves of the 
typical form of the species 

Taproot thickened, with divided root Crown 

Stemless actinea is a relatively small, hairy, bitter, aromatic perennial, 
without true stems. This species has not acquired a well-established common 
name but is known by a great variety of (and often misapplied) local names, 
such as cloth-of-gold, golden-daisy, golden-head Indian-tobacco, ironweed, ray- 
flower, rosinweed, and yellow-aster. The specific name acaulis is from the 
Greek prefix a-, signifying "not'\ and kaulos, stem, hence stemless actinea is 
suggested as an appropriate common name for the species despite that several 
others in this genus lack true stems. Stemless actinea is distributed from 
North Dakota to Idaho and south to southeastern California and Texas. It 
is found chiefly on dry soils and usually extends in grass and brush types 
from the plains to above timberline. This weed is abundant in South Dakota 
but elsewhere is largely scattered. 

Stemless actinea is selected for special discussion in this handbook chiefly 
because of its commonness and wide distribution in the range country and 
because it is typical of one of the two larger groups into which the genus 
Actinea is divided. Opinions differ about the palatability of this species. 
Some observers report that it is fairly palatable to both sheep and cattle, yet 
others claim that it has a low to zero palatability for all classes of livestock. 
Its true palatability probably lies between these two extremes, with a tendency 
toward the lower value, as the disagreeably bitter flavor of stemless actinea's 
herbage is not conducive to high palatability. On the whole, this weed rates 
as a poor forage species both because of low palatability and limited herbage 
production. The flower heads of its relative, flneleaf actinea (A. linearifolia, 
syn. Tetraneuris linearifolia) , known in the Southwest as tallowweed, are 
reputed by many Texas sheepmen to produce a good, hard fat on lambs. 

The taproots of stemless actinea generally divide and produce several root 
crowns, each bearing a number of linear to reverse-lance-shaped, rather blunt, 
appressed-hairy leaves and a single flower stalk. The flowers are yellow with 
the ray flowers rather broad, three-toothed, and showing orange veins. Stem- 
less actinea is a variable species with numerous, closely related, and more or 
less intergrading varieties or forms. Thus stemless actinea (A. acaulis), Ari- 
zona actinea (A. acaulis arfeonica, syn. Tetraneuris arisonica), woolly actinea 
(A. acaulis laniffera, syns. ActineUa Janata Nutt., 1841, not A. lanata Pursh, 
1814, Tetraneuris lanata, T. laniyera), northern actinea (A. acaulis septentri- 
onalis, gyn. Tetraneuris septentrionalis), and sagebrush actinea (A. avaulis 
simplex, syns. Actinella epunctata, A. simplex, Tetraneuris epunctata, T. sim- 
plex) are all very similar, differing mainly in the width and hairiness of the 
leaves, the height of the flower stalks, and the shape of the involucral bracts 
and scales (pappus) of the fruits ("seeds"). Extremely hairy leaves indicate 
that the plant belongs either to the species acaulis or is one of the varieties 
lanigera or septentrionalis. The leaf shapes of these three intergrade, typical 
forms of the species having the narrowest leaves and the variety septentrionalis 
the widest, but the leaf shapes vary, and different forms of the varieties lani- 
yera and septentrionalis may have leaves shaped identically like those of the 
typical form of the species. However, if the hairs are appressed, it is the 
typical form of acaulis; if spreading and woolly, the variety lanigera; and, if 
velvety, the variety septentrionalis. The leaves of the varieties arisonica and 
simplex are nearly hairless and are similar in shape, but the ray flowers of 
simplex have orange veins, in contrast to the lack of such coloration in ari- 
zonica. The varieties, with the exception of northern actinea, which extends 
into Canada, have a more or less restricted occurrence within the range of 
the species. They are probably similar in palatability, and in certain places 
are more abundant than the typical form of the species. 


Acti'nea richardso'ni 


(2 leaves) 

Flower heads yellow, about K in- wide, usually 
numerous, in -flat-topped end clusters 

Stems usually tufted, 4 to 15 in. high, hairless 
to obscurely hairy, unbranched below, mostly 
much-branched above 

Leaves alternate, mostly basal, not densely 
hairy, gland-dotted, divided into 3 to 5, narrow, 
entire lobes; basal leaves with tufts of woolly 
hairs in their axils 

Bracts in a 2-rowed series (involucre) around 
flower head; outer bracts joined at their edges 
for about % their length, strongly keeled, sharp- 
pointed, green, hairless or hairy; inner bracts 
blunter-tipped, yellowish, hairy 

Taproot thickened, perennial, with a much- 
divided root crown 

Outer (ray) flowers of heads petal-like, bright 
yellow with orange veins, 3-toothed, about % to 
% in. long, female, seed-producing 

Inner (disk) flowers of heads small, numerous, 
tubular, perfect, seed-producing 

"Seeds" (achenes) _ reverse-pyramid-shaped, 
hairy, crowned by 'usually 5, thin-papery, 
abruptly pointed scales (pappus) 

Pingiie, also known as Colorado rubber weed or rubberwced, is a 
green, leafy, tufted, perennial with sunflowerlike heads. Unfor- 
tunately, this plant has been the subject of numerous christenings 
and goes under a variety of aliases in the manuals, including Acti- 
nel'la richardso'ni, Ilynie.nax'ys richardso'ni, H. floribun' da, Picra- 
de'nia ricliardso'ni, and P. fioribun'da. Furthermore, one form of 
the plant has been considered a variety under the name H. richard- 
so'ni floribun'da, and others as distinct species under the names 
H. macranftha (syn Picrade'nia maomn'tha) and //. pvfmila (syn. 
Picrade'nia pu'mila), but conservative botanists consider that the 
variations which these names represent are too slight, inconstant, 
and intergrading to justify specific or even varietal rank. Except 
for the list of conserved names recognized by the International Code 
both codes of botanical nomenclature recognize the oldest tenable 
name as the one to be accepted. Actinea, the oldest generic name, 
was published in 1803. Richardsoni, the oldest tenable specific 
name > was first published under Picradenia ricJiardsoni in 1834 and, 
since recent studies indicate that those plants formerly regarded as 
composing the genera Hymenowys (syn. Picradenia} and "Actinella" 
of American authors belong in the same genus, the oldest tenable 
name for pingiie would be Actinia richardsoni. 

This plant was first collected in Saskatchewan by Dr. John Rich- 
ardson (1787-1865) and was named Piorcaema ricJiardsoni in his 
honor by the celebrated British botanist Sir W. J. Hooker (1785- 
1865). Hooker refers to Dr. Richardson as a naturalist of two sepa- 
rate expeditions to the Polar Seas, by whom a great portion of the 
more rare and interesting plants that ornament this volume (Flora 
Boreali Americana) were collected. This botanical classic, dedi- 
cated by Hooker to Dr. Richardson and Sir John Franklin, was 
published in London serially from 1829 to 1840; its tw r o volumes are 
now considered worthy of a place among the rare books in the 
Library of Congress. Pingiie, pronounced peeng'gway, the widely 
established and generally used common name of this species, is a 
Spanish word meaning oily, referring, undoubtedly, to the oily, 
resinous leaves. However, the names rubberweed and Colorado rub- 
berweed are also appropriate as the plant contains rubber latex 1 
and grows abundantly over large areas in central and southern 

This perennial is distributed, chiefly on dry, sandy, or gravelly 
soils, from Saskatchewan and Alberta to Texas, Arizona, eastern 
California, and eastern Oregon. The species occurs from the sage- 
brush belt upward to the spruce belt mostly in full sunlight on 
sites where it is relatively free from competition. 

Pingiie, under normal conditions, has practically a zero palatabil- 
ity for all classes of livestock, although under starvation conditions 
it is grazed by sheep and goats, and to some extent by cattle, despite 

Club 31 : 461-509, illus. 190-4. 

(leaf 2) 

that the species is poisonous to sheep, possibly also to goats and 
cattle. Marsh - reports : 

Experimental work has proved that the plant is poisonous to sheep, but it 
has been found difficult, under corral conditions, to make them eat it. 

At one time the livestock losses attributed to this plant were thought 
due to accumulation of rubber latex in the stomachs and intestines 
of the animals. In certain sections of the Southwest pingiie plants 
are infested with grubs, especially in the roots, crown, and stem 
bases, and sheepmen are often firmly convinced that their sheep losses 
are caused by these grubs. Investigations by the late Dr. C. D. 
Marsh, of the Bureau of Animal Industry, United States Depart- 
ment of Agriculture, have proved that some toxic compound in the 
plant causes the fatalities. 2 Symptoms of poisoning by pingiie are 
similar to those evidenced in cases of poisoning by bitter rubber- 
weed (Actinea odorata) and are given in the discussion of that 
species which follows. Severe cases usually result fatally as there 
are no known medicinal remedies. 

Undoubtedly pingiie has increased considerably on many of the 
western ranges due to heavy grazing which has reduced or elimi- 
nated the more palatable plants. Ordinarily, it is not sufficiently 
grazed to cause injury except during shortage of other forage. 
Hence, losses are more prevalent in late winter, early spring, 
and at other times either before palatable forage has started or when 
it is practically exhausted, especially on heavily used ranges. Losses 
may also occur when very hungry animals are liberated in areas 
where pingiie predominates, as the hungry animals seeking a quick 
fill may consume a large amount of pingiie in a comparatively short 

Pingiie grows from thick taproots, which usually divide into a 
number of root crowns, each of which produces a more or less 
branched, leafy stem from 4 to 15 inches high. The root crowns are 
generally enlarged, bear the old leaf bases of the previous season's 
growth and a copious supply of white or tawny, woolly hairs. The 
leaves are mostly divided into three to five very narrow lobes. The 
flower heads are generally numerous; the ray flowers, about three- 
eighths to one-half of an inch long, are bright yellow with orange 

Bitter rubberweed (Acti'nea odora'ta, syns. Hymenox'ys odora'ta, 
H. multiflo'ra). known locally as bitterweed and limonillo, occurs 
from western Kansas to Arizona, western Texas, and south into 
Mexico. It has also been reported from southern California, but that 
is in dispute. 

During recent years, bitter rubberweed has caused heavy sheep 
losses in Texas, especially in the Edwards Plateau, and this has led 

2 Marsh, C. D. STOCK-POISONING PLANTS OP THE RANGE. U. S. Dept. Agr. Bull 1245 
rev., 75 pp., illus. 1929. Supersedes Bull. 575. 

to extensive experimental studies of the plant. 3 Clawson 4 reports 
that death may result fairly rapidly if a sheep consumes 1.3 percent 
or more of its own weight of the green plant. Even where a sheep 
consumes as little as 0.1 percent of its weight of this plant daily, the 
animal usually becomes ill in about 44 days. If larger daily doses 
are eaten, illness will result in a shorter time. The symptoms of bit- 
ter rubberweed poisoning are very similar in both acute and chronic 
cases and consist of salivation, nausea, vomiting, depression, and 
weakness. Early in the spring, this aromatic, somewhat lemon- 
scented annual, which is more increasingly abundant in its range 
each year, is often the only green forage available over large areas 
and, while normally very unpalatable, is grazed measurably at that 
time. If sheep are grazed on areas where bitter rubberweed abounds 
and other forage is lacking, losses are sure to occur as no effective 
medicinal treatment has been discovered. 

3 Hardy, W. T., Cory, V. L., Schmidt, H., and Dameron, W. H. BITTERWEED POISONING 
IN SHEEP. Tex. Agr. Expt. Sta. Bull. 433, 18 pp., illus. 1931. 

WEED (ACTINEA ODOEATA) ON SHEEP. Jour. Agr. Research [TJ. S.] 43: 693-701, illus. 



Aga'stache urticifo'lia 

Flowers numerous, borne at ends of 
branches in densely flowered, bracted 
clusters (spikelike panicles), which, are 
somewhat thimble-shaped, up to 4 in. 
long and 1 in. thick, often interrupted 
near base . 

Stems square in cross section, stout, 
erect, simple or branched toward top 

Leaves simple, opposite, stalked, green 
on both surfaces, triangular-egg-shaped, 
often heart-shaped at base, edges 
coarsely and irregularly toothed, gland- 
dotted on lower surface 

Stamens protruding, attached to petal 
tube below, in 2 crossed pairs, upper 
pair longer than lower; 2 pollen-bearing 
sacs (anthers) of each stamen parallel 

United petals (corolla) tubular, white, 
rose, or purplish, up to % in. long, 2- 
lipped; upper lip erect, notched; lower 
lip spreading, 3-lobed, middle lobe 
largest, toothed or wavy-margined 
around edge 

Outer united flower parts (calyx) 
tubular, somewhat finely hairy, slightly 
2-lipped, 15-ribbed, 5-toothed; teeth 
greenish white or tinged with rose or 
purple, lance-shaped, tapering, up to 
% in. long 

Rootstock underground, woody, dark- 
colored, often much thickened 

Roots dark, fibrous 

Nettleleaf horsemint, a tall, coarse, fragrant herb, up to 5 feet high, 
perennial from rootstocks, is the most important western forage 
species in the mint family. It grows in the mountains from western 
Montana to eastern Washington, California, and New Mexico. Nettle- 
leaf horsemint occurs chiefly in the ponderosa pine, aspen, and spruce- 
fir belts in moist to somewhat dry, gravelly clay, clay loarn ? sandy 
loam, and gravelly loam soils in meadows, brushlands, open hillsides, 
glades, parks, and open stands of timber. Very commonly asso- 
ciated species are bromes, bluebells, lupines, geraniums, snowberry, 
and chokecherry. Usually it grows in scattered stands, rarely in 
dense stands, although sometimes it is fairly abundant in moist, rich 
soil in the aspen zone. 

Livestock graze the plant until the flower parts begin to drop. 
Later in the summer only the foliage is eaten; but as the younger 
leaves remain green for some time after seed maturity, nettleleaf horse- 
mint is preferred in the fall to a number of other valuable forage 
species. While all classes of livestock graze this species more or less, 
it is eaten chiefly by sheep. Cattle graze it moderately, horses slightly. 
For sheep its palatability varies from fair to very good, largely 
depending on associated species (principally the presence or absence 
of choice forage species), location, and season of use. In general, 
its palatability is greater in the drier portions of its range, in southern 
Idaho, Utah, Nevada, and the lava beds of northeastern California, 
than, for example, in northern Idaho and the Sierra Nevada in Cali- 
fornia. It is usually of greater value in browse, larkspur, and many 
weed types than in the better grass associations. 

The flowers of nettleleaf horsemint bloom but a few days. The seed 
matures late in August. The seed supply produced is relatively 
small per plant and germination tests have shown that only about 
one-fourth of the seed is fertile (viable). Under proper range man- 
agement sufficient plants tend to mature seed, satisfactory reproduc- 
tion is fostered, and vegetative increase is attained in the individual 

A number of segregates of this species have been proposed, includ- 
ing AgastacTie greenei, A. montana, A. neomexiccma, and A. pattidi- 
flora, based largely upon slight differences in color, shape, and length 
of the calyx teeth. For practical purposes, however, these are re- 
garded in this treatment as synonyms of A, urtiti folia; in fact, some 
of the more conservative botanists prefer to regard these as forms 
of one variable species, A. ivrticifolia. 

The root system of nettleleaf horsemint is deep and extensive. 
The slightly furrowed stems are purplish at the base and, like all 
mints, are square in cross section. The numerous leaves are more 
or less tapering at the apex, green on both sides, and hairless (glab- 
rous). They vary in size from quite small to 2~y 2 inches wide and 
31^ inches long. 

The name Agasfache is from the Greek agan (much) and stachys 
(a head of grain, or a spike) and refers to the large and often 
numerous spikes of flowers which the plants bear. The species name 
urticifolia refers to the resemblance of the leaves to those of nettle 



Ago'seris glau'ca, syn. Tro'ximon glau'cum 

Flower head solitary, large, at end of 
an unbranched, elongated, leafless stalk 

Bracts in a several-rowed series around 
base of (lower head, commonly about 
?< in. high; lower row sometimes soft- 
hairy, never stiff-glandular-hairy 

Leaves all basal, shorter than leafless 
stalk, lance-shaped to narrowly roversc- 
lanee-shaped, entire to toothed or lobed 
around edges, from }' t to l}{ in. wide, 
hairless, with waxy bloom (glaucous) 

Seed head mature, bristles expanded 
and seed ready for dissemination 

Taproot thickened, perennial, often 
with a somewhat branched root crown 

Flowers yellow, often turning rose or 
purple in age, all strap-shaped, 5- 
toothed at tips 

"Seeds" (achenes) smooth, 10-ribbed, 
with beak about }{ as long as body, 
tipped by crown of whitish, persistent 
bristles (pappus) 

Smooth mountain-dandelion and its several varieties are perennial herbs 
and are common members of a large genus of weeds belonging to the chicory 
tribe of the sunflower family (Compositae). They have a very wide distribu- 
tion, appearing in all the 11 far-western States. 

The smooth mountain-dandelions are most common in open and weedy sites 
in the ponderosa pine belt, although they are also common above and below this 
area. They are very adaptable, growing under nearly all variations of soil and 
moisture. Generally, they are most abundant on moderately dry flats and 
meadows. Their long taproots and good reproductive powers enable them to 
survive on disturbed, eroded, and drained meadows. Sagebrush and mules- 
ears are frequently associated with the smooth mountain-dandelions on slopes 
and dry flats, and wild-daisies, clovers, and the common dandelion in meadows. 

Usually the smooth mountain-dandelions are slightly to moderately grazed by 
cattle and horses, but on overgrazed ranges and where stock concentrate the 
use is often much greater. Sheep are very fond of them and often graze each 
plant several times, especially under favorable growing conditions when the 
leaves remain green throughout the summer. Although common on the ranges, 
they are seldom abundant in any one place except locally where they have 
largely replaced the original vegetation. Close and continuous utilization by 
sheep may tend to kill them out, but on cattle ranges they may increase, especially 
on meadows, to the point where they may become undesirable. 

The smooth mountain-dandelions have strong and often deep taproots. The 
leaves are all basal, and vary in shape from linear and grasslike to divided and 
dandelion-like, although most often they are narrowly lance-shaped and only 
slightly toothed. The leaves are from 4 to 12 inches long, usually slender and 
sparsely toothed and, as the common name, smooth, nnd specific name glauca 
suggest, they are smooth and covered with a bluish-white, waxy bloom. The 
stems are leafless and unbranched, bearing a large head of bright yellow, strap- 
shaped flowers, which turn purple in age. There frequently are several very 
short branches, or stems, of the root crown, each of which may produce one to 
several separate flower stalks from 4 to 20 inches high. The bracts enclosing 
the flower heads are in several rows and fit closely over one another like the 
shingles of a roof. The many, fine, and white (never feathery), bristles 
(pappus) are attached to the summit of the "seed" beak. 

MOUNTAIN-DANDELIONS (Ago'seris spp., syn. Tro'ximon spp.) 

The mountain-dandelions compose a large genus represented by over 30 
species in the western States. The western species, except for one annual 
(A. heteropliylla) , are similar to smooth mountain-dandelion in that they are 
milky-juiced perennials with strong, deep taproots, often with short branched 
root crowns. The leaves vary in size, but are arranged in a basal tuft and 
sometimes are dandelionlike in form. These features, coupled with the close 
botanical relationship to the dandelion (Leontodon taraxacum) and the charac- 
teristic occurrence of these plants in mountainous areas, have given rise to 
the common name, mountain-dandelion, for the genus. Differences within the 
genus are not especially great, and a knowledge of smooth mountain-dandelion 
will usually enable one to recognize the other members of the genus. Most of 
the characters of mountain-dandelion species emphasized in the botanical keys 
are of a sort not readily observable in the field, such as shape, length, and 
surface covering of the bracts, or phyllaries, of the involucre, and length and 
shape of the seed and its beak. 

Mountain-dandelions are sometimes confused with closely related genera, 
notably the dandelion and with the smaller species of hawksbeard ('Crepis). 
The dandelion has many similar characteristics, such as basal leaves and 
slender, leafless flower stalks (scapes) terminating in a single flower head. 
Distinguishing characteristics are found in the leaves, involucre, and "seed" 
(achene). The dandelion tends to have more numerous, deep green leaves with 
a characteristic "runcinate" lobing; the bracts of the involucre subtending the 
flower head are not "shingled" but are in one main series with a short outer 
and lower row of down-bent bracts ; the "seeds" are spinulose at the top. 
Hawksbeards are usually more easily distinguished, as most of them have 
branched and leafy stems that usually terminate in several flower heads. 
Mountain-dandelions often have soft woolly hairs near the base of their flower 
heads, never stiff glandular hairs as many hawksbeards do. 



Al'lium cer'nuum, syns. A. neomexica' num, A. recurva'tum 

Stamens 6, protruding 
Threadlike stalk (style) protruding 

Flower parts (petals and sepals, or perianth seg- 
ments) 6, petal-like, white, rose, or purplish, 
distinct, abruptly pointed, 1-nerved 

Flower head (umbel) umbrella-shaped, nod- 

Bracts 2, sometimes splitting up in drying, 
whitish, thin-papery, short, dropping off early 

Individual flower stalk slender, about 1 in. long 

Flower-head stalk leafless, 'rounded, ridged, 
about 6 to 24 in. high, usually longer than the 

Seed pod (capsule) 3-lobed, splitting into three 
parts, 6-crested, tipped by persistent, jointed 
stalk (style) 

Leaves all basal, flattened and somewhat 
grasslike, narrow, about y^ in. wide 

Leaf-bases dried and persistent 

Bulb narrowly ovoid, mostly underground, 
long-necked, sometimes more than one, clus- 
tered on a short underground stem 

Roots fibrous 

Nodding onion, a perennial herb with characteristic onionlike 
odor and taste, is probably the most widespread and familiar of wild 
onions and is, therefore, selected to illustrate the genus. Its range 
extends from Saskatchewan to Colorado and Washington. 

ONIONS (Al'lium spp.) 

Onions are well-known perennials of the lily family, with nearly 
76 species native to the West. They are found throughout the 
United States, being especially common in California. Ordinarily 
they grow in moist places on the plains, in the foothills, and 
meadows, as well as in woodlands and thickets. 

Allium is the ancient Latin name of garlic, and onions are most 
readily recognized by their distinct onionlike or garliclike odor and 
taste. It has been shown that this is due "to an essential oil that is 
specific for each species." * Another distinguishing characteristic 
of these plants is their growth from solid or layered bulbs with the 
crown encircled by flat or cylindrical and sometimes tapering leaves. 
The flowers, borne in solitary, slightly rounded clusters on the end of 
a leafless stalk from 2 inches to S 1 /^ feet high, vary in color from 
pinkish or purplish to white. Each petal has a purplish or pink 
middle line. Whitish, paperlike scales occur where the flower stems 
branch from the end of the stalk. Onions are prolific seeders and 
often grow in very dense patches on favorable soils. 

Range onions, which usually are succulent and often abundant, are highly 
palatable to cattle and sheep. The different species vary considerably in size 
and amount of herbage. Some small species spring up quickly after the snow 
melts but wither and blow away with the coming of dry summer weather. 
A few species, especially the introduced ones, remain green during the. season. 
Onions are an important and valuable forage genus, except for horses, which 
only occasionally consume them. This genus furnishes green, succulent herbage 
early in the spring, when it is eaten readily by cattle and sheep. Some stock- 
men make the mistake of turning their livestock onto the range in order to 
utilize onions before the main crop of forage plants have developed sufficiently 
to justify grazing. Such a practice is injurious to the more permanent vegeta- 
tion on which proper seasonal use of the range should be based. Onions are 
objectionable for dairy cows unless grazed judiciously, because the volatile 
oils in these plants flavor the milk. Elk in Yellowstone Park and elsewhere 
feed extensively on onions, especially in spring. Bears dig up and eat the bulbs. 
Indians also utilized these bulbs as a source of food. 

A number of familiar cultivated plants belong to the onion genus, including 
the garden onion (Allium oe-pa), shallot or scallions (A. ascalonicum), leek 
(A. porrum), and chives (A. schoenoprasum) , as well as the ornamental, yel- 
low-flowered moly, or lily leek (A. moly), of the flower gardens. 

For centuries a medicinal oil has been commercially extracted from the 
cultivated garlic (A. sativum). 2 being used medicinally in several forms of 
bronchitis and for nervous diseases of young children, and acts as a general 
mild stimulant. The bruised bulbs are also used as a poultice in the treatment 
of catarrhal pneumonia. Canada garlic (A. canadense), which occurs from 
Maine to Colorado, is of equal value for medicinal purposes. 

PUNGENCY OF ONIONS. Journ. Agr. Research [U. S.] 51 (9) : 847-853, illus. 1935. 

2 Wood, H. C., Remington, J. P., and Sudtler, S. P., assisted by Lyons. A. B., and Wood, 


AND DR. FRANKLIN BACHE. Ed. 19, thoroughly rev. and largely rewritten. . . . 1947 
pp. Philadelphia and London, 1907. 



Alsi'ne jamesia'na, syns. A. curtis'ii, Stella'ria jamesia'na 

Flowers |small, in loose clusters at 
top and in upper leaf axils, with top 
flower in each cluster blooming first 
(cymose inflorescence) 

Petals 5 (or 4), white, distinct (not 
united), % in. long, 2-cleft at tips 

Outer flower parts (sepals) 5 (or 4), 
green, oblong, distinct, half the length 
of the petals 

Stems strongly angled, diffuse, 5 to 24 
in. high, sticky to the touch above, 
somewhat enlarged at the joints 

Leaves opposite, the pairs horizon- 
tally spreading, without leafstalks, 
narrowly to broadly lance-shaped, 
broadest near point of attachment and 
long-tapering, \y t to 4% in. long, 
smooth or nearly so, without append- 
ages (stipules) in their axils; leaves on 
the same plant from % to % in. in breadth 
at base 

Seed pod (capsule) egg-shaped, shorter 
than the sepals, tipped by 3 (rarely 4 
or 5), distinct, threadlike stalks (styles), 
when ripe splitting to base between the 
6 teeth 

Rootstocks tuberous or slender to 
stout, often with spindle-shaped, jointed 

Tuber starwort, known also as starweed and mountain chickweed, 
is a sticky-hairy herb, perennial from thickened, starchy, often 
jointed rootstocks. It ranges, chiefly in moist sites, from the wood- 
land and ponderosa pine to the aspen and spruce belts, from Wyo- 
ming to Washington, California, and western Texas. In the Rocky 
Mountains and Intermountain Region it occurs from about 4,500 to 
10,000 feet above sea level, but in the Northwest it is found at 1,500 
feet. Although occurring in a great variety of soils, it is more likely 
to grow on sandy or gravelly loams than in clayey soils. It is corn- 
mon among shrubs and in the aspen type. 

Tuber starwort rates mention largely because of its wide distribu- 
tion, commonness, and conspicuousness when in. flower. The flowers 
are cropped by grazing animals, and the herbage is fair in palata- 
bility, or occasionally fairly good for sheep, and poor to fair for 
cattle. This variation depends chiefly on freshness of foliage and 
presence in quantity of more palatable associates. Sometimes tuber 
starwort is rather heavily grazed by sheep and cattle, but such ex- 
treme use is associated with overgrazing and other abnormal condi- 
tions. The amount of forage produced per plant is small despite 
that this is one of the largest plants in the genus. The tuberous 
rootstocks are edible and, when fresh and fleshy, are quite palatable ; 
they were an important source of food among the Indians. These 
rootstocks enable the species to propagate vegetatively, as well as; 
from seed. 


(Alsi'ne spp., syn. Stella' ria spp.) 

The starworts and chickweeds compose a genus of annual or 
perennial herbs with opposite leaves, white flowers, and often weak 
and spreading stems. Common chickweed (A. media, syn. SteUaria 
media], one of the best-known weeds in gardens and other cultivated 
ground, occasionally occurs on the range but is rather rare. Star- 
worts and chickweeds are common and are found on a wide variety 
of sites; however, the majority of the species occur in moist or wet 
places, and for the most part are small, sparse in stand, and rela- 
tively unimportant as range plants. In palatability they are gener- 
ally considered fair cattle forage and fairly good sheep forage. 

The flowers in this genus consist of usually 5 (sometimes 4) sep- 
arate sepals, 4 or 5 white, notched petals (lacking in some species), 
10 or fewer stamens, and a single pistil with usually 3 styles. The 
capsules, or fruits, open nearly to the base by twice as many valves 
as there are styles. The stamens and petals are inserted around the 
margin of a disk under the stalkless (sessile) ovary. 



Ana'phalis margarita'cea * 

Flower cluster close, terminal, 
round-topped groups up to 6 in. 
across, composed of numerous 
small flower heads 

Flower heads pearly white 
with light yellow centers com- 
posed of disk flowers; ray 
flowers absent, heads of 2 kinds: 
(1) female (pistillate) or seed- 
producing; (2) male (stamin- 
ate), pollen-producing; flower- 
bearing disk (receptacle) with- 
out chaffy bracts 

Bracts numerous, in a series 
(involucre) of overlapping rows 
surrounding flower head, petal- 
like, pearly white, papery, per- 
sisting indefinitely (everlasting) 

Female flowers very small, 
light yellow, with threadlike 
corolla tube, found only on 
female plants 

"Seed" (achene) minute ; ob- 
long, with tuft of fine bristles 
(pappus), found only on female 

Male flowers very small, light 
yellow, tubular, encircled by 
pappus at base, found only on 
male plants 

Leaves 2 to 6 in. long, about 
K in. wide, green above, white- 
woolly beneath, un toothed, al- 
ternate, stalkless (with clasping, 
earlike lobes at base in variety 
occidentalis), broadly to nar- 
rowly lance-shaped 

Stems erect, 1 to 2 ft. high, 
usually simple, white-woofiy, 
very leafy, often several from 

Rootstocks running under- 
ground, often numerous, elon- 

Including the varieties occidenta'tts and subalpi'na 

Pearl everlasting, a bunched or loosely tufted perennial herb of 
the aster family, also called pearly everlasting, cudweed, Indian- 
tobacco, and life everlasting, is often confused with the related 
pussytoes (Antennaria spp.), plants which also produce everlasting 
flowers. The most obviously distinguishing characters are as fol- 
lows : pearl everlasting does not have the above-ground creeping stems 
(stolons) or the tufts of basal leaves which are characteristic of most 
of the pussytoes; the stem leaves of the pussytoes are usually few 
and often small, those of pearl everlasting are numerous and equal. 

Anaphalis margaritacea, including its varieties, is the only species 
of the genus of any range importance. The distribution of the 
species, as given in the botanical manuals, is very wide, ranging from 
Newfoundland to North Carolina, Kansas, California, and Alaska. 
It is native also in northern Asia and is said to be naturalized in 
Europe. As far as the western range country is concerned, how- 
ever, pearl everlasting is represented almost entirely by the two 
varieties, occidentalis and suibalpina. The variety occidentals 
ranges from California to Washington and perhaps to Alaska, at 
low and medium elevations ; it is found chiefly in. the mountains of 
California and Oregon. The variety subalpina (often given specific 
rank under the name A. subaipina in western manuals) is, as its 
name indicates, more typical of higher mountain elevations and 
occurs in all the 11 far- western States. The name A. margaritacea, 
as used in western botanical literature, undoubtedly refers in large 
part to the variety subalpina. 

Very frequently pearl everlasting is found growing in dense 
stands in burned-over and cut-over areas; in the Northwest it is 
one of the most vigorous invaders of such areas, owing to the circle 
or tuft of very fine straight hairs (pappus) which carries the "seed" 
long distances. The widely creeping underground rootstocks and 
fibrous, spreading root system qualify pearl everlasting to increase 
rapidly after becoming established. The plants also occur on shaded 
hillsides, semidry slopes, openings in timber stands, banks of streams, 
and in parks, mountain meadows, and basins. 

Although pearl everlasting produces numerous leaves on its stems and 
is often abundant, it is not an important forage plant, perhaps because the 
herbage is often so densely woolly. The slightly musky odor of the flowers 
may also be a factor in rendering it unpalatable. As a rule, livestock do 
not eat the plant unless forced to do so by a scarcity of more palatable forage. 
Occasionally, however, even under proper stocking and use, sheep will turn 
to pearl everlasting and crop it lightly to fairly. 

The most characteristic feature of pearl everlasting is its numerous little 
but attractive, rounded, pearly flower heads, which are borne in close, roundish 
clusters at the tops of the stems. The conspicuous white portion of the flower 
heads is made up of numerous overlapping white, papery bracts which look 
like petals. These bracts (phyllaries), called collectively the involucre, sur- 
round a small, light yellow or buff-colored center composed of numerous small 
tubular flowers set upon a smooth base (receptacle). When the flowers are 
young these centers are hardly noticeable, but as they get older the white bracts 
spread out and the centers become darker and increase in size and prominence. 
Only about one-half of the flower heads are capable of producing seed because 
the male (pollen bearing) and the female (seed producing) flowers grow on 
different flower heads. Sometimes a few perfect flowers, containing both 
male and female parts, are borne in the center of the female (pistillate) 
flower heads; these look much like the female flowers but are usually sterile. 



Anemo'ne hudsonia'na, syns. A. globo'sa, "A. multi'fida" 1 

Flowers from 1 to 3 at end of stem, 
showy, yellowish or tinged with pink, 
red, blue, or purple, usually long- 
stalked; petals lacking 

Outer flower parts (sepals) 5 to 9, 
petal-like, distinct, partly overlapping 
in bud, oval, up to } in. long, sflky- 
hairy beneath 

Stem leaves (involucre) opposite or 
whorled, short-stalked or stalkless, 
otherwise similar to basal leaves 

"Seed" head globe-shaped, up to K 
in. across 

Stems erect, up to 20 in. high, some- 
times branching, usually leafless, silky- 

Basal leaves up to 4% in. across, long- 
stalked, 3 to several times cut into 
linear-lance-shaped or oblong lobes; 
lobes again variously cleft 

"Seed" (achene) densely white- 
woolly, tipped by very short stalk (style) 

Taproot woody, with much-thickened 
root crown in old plants 

Globe anemone, tkus designated because of its globe-shaped seed head, is 
a perennial herb of the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae) and is a common 
and representative range species of this genus. It ranges from Alaska to New 
Brunswick, New England, New Mexico, and California and is the most abun- 
dant anemone throughout the Western States, from the low open valleys (4,000 

1 Of United States authors, not Poir. 

feet) up to timberline (12,000 feet). Globe anemone occurs in a variety of 
soils on rather dry to rnoist sites and prefers sunny situations, but occasionally 
appears in open timber stands. The flowers vary in color from, deep rose 
pink or red to purple, greenish yellow, white, and, sometimes, even bluish 
tinged. This anemone does not occur in dense stands, but is often abundant. 
It is generally more conspicuous in fruit because the numerous white-woolly 
"seeds" are borne at the top of the flower stalk in rounded, globe-shaped heads, 
which, when loosened by the wind, resemble balls of cotton. As forage, globe 
anemone is unimportant, being practically worthless for all classes of livestock. 
In some regions it is slightly palatable to sheep, and it is probably eaten to 
some extent by deer and elk. 

ANEMONES (Anemo'ne spp.) 

The Greek name for these flowers comes from uncinos (wind), presumably 
because they supposedly opened at the command of the first mild breezes of 
spring, as the English name, windflower, suggests. 3 Anemones, of which about 
85 species occur in the temperate and mountainous regions of the world, are 
well represented in the West where they flourish on moist and well-drained 
soils from near timberline on the mountains to the lower elevations in the 
foothills and valleys, in both open and shaded situations. 

Some species constitute fair forage for sheep, deer, and elk, but, in the main, 
the anemones are practically worthless for cattle and only poor for sheep. 
Ordinarily, they are insignificant for forage purposes, largely because the more 
succulent species appear early and then quickly desiccate. 

The flowers of some anemones are produced very early, with the first advent 
of spring, adding their bright colors to the rather drab landscape of the season. 
They are rather hardy, perennial herbs, various species being cultivated because 
of their beautiful, showy flowers and, in several cases, for their striking foliage 
as well. Very few of the commonly cultivated species are native to the west- 
ern United States, although cantlle anemone (A. cylindrioa) and meadow 
anemone (A. canadensis) are common garden species extending into the West. 

Several species of anemone, in common with many other members of the 
buttercup family, are known to contain anemonin, a poison which affects 
powerfully the central nervous system. This poisonous substance occurs in the 
European wood anemone (A. nemorosa) and probably occurs in the closely 
related American wood anemone (A. quinquefolia) and in many other species. 
These plants are known to contain poisonous substances, 8 although there is 
no authentic record, apparently, of any cases of poisoning from them in the 
United States. However, it is reported that European wood anemone has 
caused illness of cattle in Europe. 4 

Anemonin is one of the active principles of the drug pulsatilla, which is the 
dried herbage of species of pasqueflowers (Pulsatilla spp.), which are closely 
related to the anemones and by many authors placed in the anemone genus. 
Some species of anemone were used by the Romans as a treatment for malarial 
fevers; American Indians used anemone roots in the treatment of wounds and 
attributed to them mystical healing powers. 5 

The western species are perennials with rootstocks or tuberous roots, from 
which stalks 3 to 30 inches high, arise. These stalks are bare except for two 
or three very irregular, deeply cut leaves (the involucre) close to the flowers 
or part way up the stalk. The flowers are borne at the ends of the branches 
and may occur singly or in curved or flat clusters, those at the center being 
the first to blossom. Only the outer series of petal-like flower parts (sepals), 
which vary in color from purple to white, are present in Anemone. The 
roughly cylindrical seed head is usually rounded or elongated and, when ripe, 
the "seeds" (achenes) are often densely hairy, giving the head a cottony 

AGES AND IN ALL CLIMES. [302] pp. illus. Philadelphia and London. [1925.] 

8 Long, H. C. PLANTS POISONOUS TO LIVESTOCK. 119 pp., illus. Cambridge. 1917. 

4 Wood, H. C., Remington, J. P., and Sadtler, S. P., assisted by Lyons, A. B., and Wood, 


AND DR. FRANKLIN BACHE. Ed. 19, thoroughly rev. and largely rewritten. . . 1,947 
pp. Philadelphia and London. 1907. 

U. S. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Rept. (1911-12) 33:45-154, illus. 1919. (Reprinted, 1919). 



Ange'lica lyal'lii 

Flowers small, white, numer- 
ous, in a pompound, umbrella- 
shaped cluster (umbel) 


Leaves large, compound, com- 
posed of numerous leaflets that 
tend to divide into threes or 
pairs (once to thrice ternate or 

Leaflets IK to 5 in. long, lance- 
egg-shaped, sharp-tipped, with 
sharp- and somewhat scallop- 
toothed margins 

Uppermost leaves reduced to 
broad, inflated sheaths 

Taproot thickened, with hori- 
zontal partitions inside 

' ' Seed ' ' (mericarps) oblong, 
flattened, hairless, % to '% in. 
long, with 2 side wings as wide 
as or wider than the "seed" 

The angelicas, also commonly but loosely called wildparsnips, are perennial 
herbs of the carrot family. Lyall angelica, named after Dr. David Lyall, who 
discovered the species while on the International Boundary Survey (1858 to 
1860) between the United States and Canada, is probably the most widely 
distributed of the 19 species of Angelica native to the West. 

Lyall angelica grows in the mountains from British Columbia to northern 
California, Utah, and western Montana. It is most frequently associated with 
sedges, willows, alders, aspen, bluebells, cow-parsnip, false-hellebore, and other 
moisture-loving plants at elevations varying from 1,500 to 8,500 feet. Its 
favorite habitats are moist, fertile lands, such as mountain meadows, canyon 
bottoms, and stream banks, moist shady woodlands, and about springs and 
seeps. It is seldom or never found growing in dry situations. 

Lyall angelica is an erect plant, 2. to 5 feet tall, the stems of which are 
unusually thick, hollow, and practically free from hair. The sturdy taproot 
is fleshy in the smaller plants, but tends to become woody and hollow with 
age, frequently then showing horizontal partitions, which often cause it to 
be mistaken for the more commonly chambered root of waterhemlock. When 
bruised, angelica roots give off a strong aromatic odor, pleasant to most people. 

Like most of the other angelicas, this species is a prized forage plant, highly 
palatable to sheep, moderately so or good for cattle, and is eaten readily by 
deer and elk. It does not ordinarily occur in dense stands or make up much 
of the plant cover, but in many localities it occurs in fair to moderate abundance 
and furnishes considerable forage. The individual plants, moreover, are large 
and produce an abundance of tender leafage and edible stems which generally 
remain green throughout the summer grazing season. All portions of the plants 
above ground are grazed. The large taproot not only anchors the plant in 
the ground, but serves so well as a storehouse for food material that the 
species is very resistant to overgrazing and trampling, unless long continued. 
As a rule the flowers are borne in July and August and the seeds are ripened 
from the middle of August to early October. 

Angelicas are often mistaken for the extremely poisonous waterhemlocks 
(Cicuta spp.), and it is important that the range manager should be able to 
distinguish between these plants. The outstanding differences are as follows: 
Cicuta grows with its feet, in the water, usually in much wetter places than 
Angelica,. The leaves of the two are similar, but in general Angelica, leaves 
tend to be larger and are more compound, the leaflets usually more numerous. 
These leaflets are oval, with irregularly toothed edges, as compared to the 
narrow leaflets with evenly toothed (serrate) edges of waterhemlock. Water- 
hemlocks are always wholly free from hairs, whereas angelicas, even when 
smooth, often show some hairs, especially in the tops (inflorescence). Water- 
hemlocks have small bracts (involucels) subtending the secondary flower 
clusters (umbellets) ; these are always inconspicuous and frequently quite 
absent in Angelica. The fruit or "seeds" are very different; Angelicas have 
flattened, winged seeds one-eighth to one-fourth, of an inch long. Waterhem- 
lock seeds are round or egg-shaped, about three-sixteenths of an inch long or 
smaller, and ribbed with, numerous! equal ribs. In the past the presence of 
transverse partitions in the rootstock has been considered by many to be an 
infallible means of differentiating waterhemlock from angelicas and other 
harmless plants of similar growth. This, however, is a fallacy. While such 
partitions are, it is true, so frequently present as to be characteristic of water- 
hemlocks, they are by no means unknown in angelicas and certain other umbel- 
lifers as well. Waterhemlock roots have a disagreeable, musty odor in con- 
trast to the pleasant aroma of the angelicas. The flowers of waterhemlocks 
usually have prominent sepals or calyx teeth, while the angelicas either have 
no calyx teeth or very small ones. For a further description, with illustrations, 
of features distinguishing angelicas and waterhemlocks see the notes on the 
genus Cicuta, (W52). 

The angelicas reproduce largely from seed, of which they can be prolific pro- 
ducers. However, some of the species are able to propagate vegetatively from 
rootstocks or underground stems (rhizomes), which, when broken away from 
the parent plant, may give rise to new individuals. 

The angelicas have long been noted for their medicinal properties. The 
Indians use the roots as remedies and also as good luck charms. 

Angelica archangelica, a European species, is a source of several valuable 
drugs and an oil (Angelica oil) used in certain French liqueurs. 



Antenna'ria ro'sea, syns. A. imbrica'ta, A. dioi'ca ro'sea 

Flower heads small, about }( to K in. 
high, usually about 5 to 10, in rather 
dense terminal clusters; flowers small, 
inconspicuous, of 2 kinds: male and 
female, borne on separate plants 

Bracts in a several-rowed series 
around flower head, relatively large, 
dry, thin-papery, persistent, usually 
with pinkish or rose-colored tips, the 
outer ones woolly-hairy on the lower half 

"Seeds" (achenes) small, crowned by 
numerous white bristles (pappus) which 
are united at the base and fall together 

Stems slender, unbranched, 2 to 16 
in. high, densely woolly-hairy, producing 
short, leafy, sterile, rooting, tuft-form- 
ing suckers at base 

Leaves alternate, narrowly reverse 
lance-shaped, pointed, densely white- 
wooUy-hairy ; those of the sterile shoots 
numerous, forming rosettes 

Roots perennial, with short rootstocks 

Rose pussytoes is a woolly perennial which often forms mats or tufts of con- 
siderable size. It ranges from Alaska to California, New Mexico, and South 
Dakota, extending fvom the plains upward to the spruce belt. It typically 
occurs in grass types of parks and meadows and on hillsides and benches in 
from dry to moderately moist soils. Normally, rose pussytoes is not abundant 
but, on ranges where the plant cover has been materially reduced as a result of 
excessive grazing, this species may form an appreciable part of the vegetation. 

The flowers of rose pussytoes are cropped by sheep, but otherwise the species 
is practically worthless as forage. The plants are able to withstand consider- 
able trampling and reproduce vegetatively both by rootstocks and rooting stems 
(stolons) and, since they ae not weakened by excessive cropping, tend to in- 
crease on overgrazed ranges. 

Rose pussytoes may be distinguished from all the other species of Antcnnwia 
by the following characters : The flower heads are arranged in dense clusters at 
the top of stems which far exceed the group of basal leaves in height ; the 
bracts at the base of the flower head are rose colored, and the leaves are 
narrowly reverse lance-shaped. 

PUSSYTOES (Antenna'ria spp.) 

Pussytoes, often known as catsfoot, catspaws, and everlasting, is a genus of 
woolly, perennial herbs well represented in the West where about 50 species 
occur. The genus is a member of the everlasting tribe (Gnaphalieae) of the 
large aster, or composite, family (Asteraceae or Compositae). Everlasting is the 
common name used popularly in the West for these plants and has been applied, 
undoubtedly, because of the resemblance of the pussytoes to the true ever- 
lastings, which include the French immortelles (genera Helipterum and Heli- 
clirysum of Africa and Australia). The bracts of the flower heads in these 
genera, as well as of the related genera Ammobwm and Anaptialis, are persistent 
and often white or brightly colored, hence, in popular understanding, the flowers 
are "everlasting". The pussytoes are found, to a greater or less extent, on 
nearly all the western ranges, but, as a rule, are not especially abundant. How- 
ever, on severely overgrazed ranges, they are sometimes abundant and, though 
rarely, may even be the dominant herbaceous plants. 

Except for the fact that their flower heads are sometimes cropped by sheep, 
most of the pussytoes are practically worthless as forage. This is particularly 
true of the rosette-forming species with the flower heads in rather dense clusters, 
as typified by rose pussytoes. A few species having basal rosettes of leaves but 
with the flower heads somewhat scattered along the stem and with the upper 
surfaces of the leaves free of hairs, are grazed slightly more than the species 
of the rose pussytoes type. Raceme pussytoes (A. racemosa) is characteristic of 
such species. Certain other relatively tall species, such as showy pussytoes ('A. 
pulcherrima) , in which the basal rosettes of leaves are absent, have their 
herbage cropped to some extent but probably are never better than fair forage. 
The somewhat higher palatability of these species may be due to the fact that 
they are taller, with the larger leaves borne on the stems so that the foliage 
is more easily available to grazing animals. 

In this genus the sexes are distinct, male and female flowers being borne on 
separate plants. The seed-producing, or female plants, are much more common 
than the pollen-producing, or male plants. In some species viable seed is pro- 
duced without pollination. Both the male and female flowers are very small and 
are borne in heads having the appearance of a single flower. The flowers also 
bear a copious supply of white bristles (pappus) which, in the female flowers, are 
united at the base and fall from the "seed" together. The pappus of the male 
flowers is sometimes barbed or has somewhat knoblike tips and the fancied 
resemblance of these bristles to the antennae of certain insects suggested the 
generic name Antennaria. The comparatively large, several-rowed bracts 
enveloping the small flower heads are the most conspicuous part of the flower 
heads; they usually have white, brown, pink, or rose-colored tips. These 
bracts persist long after the true flowers have completed their growth and fallen. 
The leaves are alternate, entire, and rather narrow, varying in the different 
species from linear to spatula-shaped. The stems, the lower half of the flower 
head bracts, and at least the lower surface of the leaves are densely hairy. 

The only common range plants with which the pussytoes are likely to be 
confused are pearl everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea and its varieties), the 
cudweeds (Gnaphalium spp.), and those species of eriogonum (Eriogonum spp.) 
whose basal leaves form rosettes or mats. Pearl everlasting and the cudweeds 
are close relatives of pussytoes and have small flower heads with conspicuous, 
white or colored persistent bracts. Basal leaves are lacking in pearl everlasting, 
and the stems are very leafy, but the stems of pussytoes are seldom very leafy 
and in most species rosettes of basal leaves are present. The cudweeds also 
Ijick the rosettes of basal leaves and ordinarily have multibranched stems ; the 
stems of pussytoes usually are unbranched. Although the flowers of the 
eriogonums are small and are borne in bracted clusters, the bracts are neither 
brightly colored nor persistent, the flower clusters of most species are umbrella- 
shaped and the stems, or flower stalks, are mostly leafless or with few leaves. 



Apo'cynum androsaemifo'Iium 

Flowers white, pink, or rose, fragrant. 
stalked, with small, narrow, pointed 
bracts, in clusters at or near ends of 

United petals (corolla) bell-shaped, 

Outer united flower parts (calyx) 
much shorter than corolla, 5-lobed 

Leaves-yopposite, stalked, rather thick, 
1 to 4 in. long, egg-shaped, abruptly 
sharp-pointed at tip, dark green and 
smooth above, paler and hairy below 

Stamens 5, alternating with 5 tri- 
angular, scale-like appendages 

Stems-y-erect, often reddish, with 
spreading branches 

Seed pods (follicles) in pairs, slender, 
round in cross section, up to 5 in. 
long, splitting along- 1 side; seeds 
numerous, each with tuft of long, 
silky-white hairs 

Roots tough, woody 

Spreading dogbane, a perennial herb containing a sticky, milky juice, belongs 
to the dogbane family (Apocynaceae) and is widely distributed, but not abund- 
ant, over most of the United States, as well as in parts of Alaska and Canada. 
It ranges from Nova Scotia to Alaska, and south to California, Texas, and 
Georgia, from sea level or fairly low elevations on the plains up to 11,000 feet 
in the mountains, growing in open timber stands and brushy areas, but appear- 
ing in greatest abundance on rather dry, exposed sites. Frequently, it forms 
dense stands on abandoned homesteads and over-utilized areas, and is common 

near the borders of thickets, fields, and fence rows. The specific name 
androsaemifolium apparently refers to the general similarity in size and shape 
of its leaves to those of tutsan, or sweet-amber (Hypericum- androsaemum, syn. 
Androsaemum officinale), a cultivated, aromatic, Old World shrub belonging to 
the St. Johnswort genus. 

This species is the botanical type of Apocynum and is also very representative 
of the western range dogbanes. It possesses little forage value, rating as worth- 
less to fair for sheep and worthless for cattle and horses. The fragrant flowers 
attract bees, and in dry, interior regions with poor soils are particularly 
esteemed as sources of nectar. 1 The almost colorless resultant honey has an 
excellent flavor, considered by some experts as superior to that of fireweed 
honey. 1 Spreading dogbane blooms for an unusually long period, and hence 
is available when other honey plants have disappeared. 2 Local florists distribute 
spreading dogbane as a hardy border plant ; it grows well in dry, open places. 

DOGBANES (Apo'cynum spp.) 

The dogbanes, commonly known as Indian-hemp 3 and Canadian-hemp, are a 
small genus of perennial herbs which occur chiefly throughout the North Tem- 
perate Zone. They are widely distributed in North America, especially in the 
temperate regions, with approximately 10 species native to the West, and gen- 
erally occurring from the plains and foothills to the high mountains. Dogbanes 
are common on river bottoms and hillsides as well as in open woods, thickets, 
and fields. Dogbanes are always listed by toxicologists as poisonous plants, 
but the prevalent belief that the genus is poisonous to livestock lacks substantia- 
tion largely due to the fact that domestic animals usually avoid them pre- 
sumably because of their bitter, milky, rubber-containing juice. 

The generic name Apocynum is Latinized from the Greek apokunon (apo, 
from, off, or away from, + Jcunon, dogs), a name used by the early Greek 
medical writer, Dioscorides Pedanius, to describe a milkweedlike plant. Both 
the generic name Apocynum and the common name dogbane allude to the idea 
that the plant is obnoxious to the canine family and, hence, keeps dogs away. 
These plants have a tough, fibrous bark, and are sources of a substitute for 
hemp, which explains the name, Indian-hemp, frequently applied to members of 
this genus. The bark fiber of both spreading dogbane and hemp dogbane (A. 
canna'binum) provided the principal cordage for the western aborigines; 4 the 
latter species was apparently superior for that purpose. 

Hemp dogbane is another important species of dogbane growing extensively 
in the United States, frequently in the same situations as spreading dogbane. 
It ranges from New Brunswick and Ontario to British Columbia and south to 
California, Texas, and Florida, but does not occur in Alaska nor extend as 
far north in Canada as spreading dogbane. It grows chiefly in gravelly or 
sandy soil on moist ground, especially along streams, and also in open woods 
and thickets. Hemp dogbane is an erect species, from 2 to 4 feet tall, having 
usually ascending, leafy branches ; the stems are smooth and often slightly 
covered with a waxy bloom (glaucescent). The greenish white or flesh-colored 
flowers are borne in dense, round-topped clusters (cymes). This species is the 
source of a valuable cardiac stimulant and diuretic, which is useful in the 
treatment of cardiac dropsy and chronic Bright's disease. 6 That drug causes 
violent vomiting and sometimes purging if given in very large closes ; however, 
no serious case of poisoning attributable to this plant has been recorded. 6 
Although somewhat similar to hemp dogbane in medicinal properties, spreading 
dogbane is considered inferior and is not now used officially. 


VALUE TO THE BEEKEEPER AS SOURCES OF POLLEN. Ed. 3, rev. and enl., 419 pp., illus. 
Hamilton, 111. 1930. 

2 Clements, E. S. FLOWERS OF COAST AND SIERRA. 220 pp., illus. New York. 1928. 

3 Not to be confused with the narcotic, tiue Indian hemp, or hasheesh (CannaMs indica). 
* Blankinship, J. W. NATIVE ECONOMIC PLANTS OF MONTANA. Mont. Agr. Expt. Sta. 

Bull. 56, 36 pp. 1905. 

6 Wood, H. C., Remington, J. P., and Sadtler, S. P., assisted by Lyons, A. B., and Wood, 


DR. FRANKLIN BACHE. Ed. 19, thoroughly rev. and largely rewritten . . . 1,947 pp. 
Philadelphia and London. 1907. 



Aquile'gia spp. 

Flowers showy, nodding, sol- 

Outer flower parts (sepals) 5.- 
alternating with petals, spread- 
ing or befit-back, up to 1 in. 
long, about equal in length to 
the elongated, hooked-tip petal 
bases (spurs) 

Petals 5, equal, prolonged 
backward or upward into red 
spurs, and forward or down- 
ward into yellow blades up to 
% in. long 

Stamens numerous, longer 
than petal blades 

Stems branching, erect, hair- 
less below, sticky-hairy above 

Upper leaves reduced to sim- 
ple, stalkless bracts or with 3 

The species shown is 
Sitka columbine 
(Aquilegia formosa ) , 
one of the commonest, 
best known, and most 
widely distributed of 
western columbines. 

Lower leaves long-stalked, 
each with the 3 divisions bear- 
ing's leaflets 

Leaflets wedge-shaped, vari- 
ously 3- to 5-cleft, hairless to 
somewhat hairy 

Root crown covered with per- 
sistent bases of old leafstalks 

Taproot fleshy. spindle- 
shaped, simple or branched 

Seed pods (follicles) 5, up to 
1 in. long, each splitting along 
1 side, and tipped by a persist- 
ent threadlike stalk (style) 

Columbines, among the most beautiful native western plants, have varicolored 
flowers of unusual shape, belong to the buttercup family, and are native of 
both the Old World and North America. The name columbine is derived from 
the Latin for dove or pigeon (genus Columba), because of the fancied resem- 
blance of the spurs to a circle of doves or pigeons on a perch. The generic 
name Aquilegia is associated with an imagined similarity of the spurs to the 
claws' of an eagle (aquila). The great majority of the 30 species of columbine 
native in the United States and Alaska occur in the western range States ; 
a few species are confined to the Eastern States. The columbine merits par- 
ticular mention as an appropriate candidate for the national flower. The 
red, white, or blue flowers are handsome and the foliage graceful. At least 
one native species grows in each State. 

As forage plants, columbines, though often large and leafy and sometimes 
abundant locally, are of but secondary importance. They rate in palatability 
as fair for sheep, poor for cattle, and practically worthless for horses. They are 
rather delicate plants and are likely to succumb if the range isi depleted by 
overstocking, or other abuse, so that domestic livestock, especially sheep, graze 
them more closely than normal use would permit, particularly if seeding 
is prevented. Due to past mismanagement, columbines have been greatly 
reduced on sheep ranges in Colorado where formerly they were plentiful. 

Columbines usually grow in moist situations such as shady stream banks, 
meadows, aspen groves, and open woods from the lower foothills to the high 
mountains. Some species appear on high, exposed rocky ridges and in shel- 
tered canyons, seldom in pure stands, but more characteristically scattered. 

These plants are perennial herbs from slender to stout, mostly perpendicular, 
often branched taproots. They vary in height from a few inches to about 5 
feet, and produce mostly large leaves compounded in threes, each ultimate 
branch bearing three leaflets the edges of which are irregularly toothed. The 
strikingly ornate flowers have five petals, each with a long hollow spur extend- 
ing backward from the frontal, leaflike blade which forms a part of the flower 
face. The stamens are numerous and indefinite in number. The five pods 
(follicles) each contain numerous seeds and are tipped with a slender bristle. 

American columbine (A. canaden'sis), an attractive red-flowered, eastern 
species, which barely extends to the eastern borders of the range country, was 
of unique value to certain Indian tribes 1 as a love charm and medicine. 

Colorado columbine (A. coeru'lea), a species with large and very handsome, 
blue and white flowers which bloom from June to August, is the State flower 
of Colorado and is protected by State law. 

Sitka columbine (A. formo'sa), the species illustrated on the other side of 
this sheet, is a perennial herb, 3 or occasionally 4 feet high, which ranges 
from Alaska to northern California, New Mexico, and Montana, but also occurs 
in Siberia. The plant is found in the Sitka spruce type in Alaska, near 
sea level, at elevations from 1,000 to 7,500 feet in the Pacific States, and from 
3,500 to 10,000 feet in the Rocky Mountain States. It is a common species 
in the aspen type and in openings in the lodgepole type, but it may be present 
in a great variety of soils and sites, sometimes being associated with sage- 
brush, ponderosa and Jeffrey pines, Douglas fir, and white fir. It is especially 
at home along stream banks, about seeps, springs, and ponds, in meadows, 
canyon bottoms, and on moist wooded mountain slopes, particularly in loamy 
soils. The species blossoms from late May or early June to August. In forage 
value Sitka columbine varies from worthless to fair or sometimes fairly good, 
sheep relishing it more than cattle. It is one of the most common, abundant, 
and widely distributed of the western columbines. 

European columbine (A. vulffa'ris), a frequently cultivated blue-flowered 
species naturalized in this country, has produced symptoms in the lower 
animals very similar to the extreme prostration caused by aconite. 3 

D. S. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Ann. Kept. (1911-12)33:45-154, illus. 1919. (Reprinted 

2 Wood, H. C., Remington, J. P., and Sadtler, S. P., assisted by Lyons, A. B., and Wood, 


AND DR. FRANKLIN BACHE. Ed. 19, thoroughly rev. and largely rewritten . . . 1,947 pp. 
Philadelphia and London. 1907. 



A'rabis drummon'dii, syn. A. oxyphyl'la 

Flowers in an unbranched terminal cluster 

Petals 4, white or pinkish, showing cross-like 
(cruciform) arrangement 

Stamens 6, 2 of them shorter than other 4 

Outer flower parts (sepals) 4, greenish 

Seed pods (siliques) erect, crowded, up to 3 in. 
long; seeds numerous, in 2 rows 

* Seed enlarged to show winged margin 

Stem leaves alternate, with clasping bases, 
1 to 2 in. long, mostly without hairs or some- 
times hairy on the margins 

Basal leaves in clusters (rosettes), short- 
stalked, somewhat smaller than stem leaves, 
with entire margins, reverse-lance-shaped with 
the broader end uppermost 


This biennial (rarely perennial) is perhaps the most widespread 
and common native species of the rockcresses and has been selected to 
illustrate the genus. It is found in the 11 far-western States, as well 
as in many of the eastern States and in southern Canada, and grows 
in a wide variety of soils, and in moist to wet sites. It is more com- 
mon in open grass and weed types but occurs also in shrub, wood- 
land, and timber types, although seldom in dense shade. Generally, 
it occurs scatteringly but is abundant in some localities, especially on 
areas where the perennial grasses have largely been destroyed by 
overgrazing. Its forage value varies considerably, doubtless because 
of different conditions of abundance, habitat, size, and presence of 
more valuable species. In the main, where better plants are avail- 
able, it is usually of low value but occasionally is reported as being 
grazed rather readily by sheep and even cattle, especially on over- 
grazed ranges. 

Mountain rockcress develops a strong taproot. One to several un- 
branched stems, 10 to 32 inches high, grow up from a basal rosette 
of relatively narrow leaves which are narrowed toward the base 
rather than toward the tip. The stem leaves taper gradually to a 
pointed tip, and are somewhat larger than the basal leaves. The 
clusters of white or pinkish flowers are usually small and the seed 
pods are erect in a rather compact cluster. Sometimes the plants are 
slightly hairy toward the base, the hairs being horizontal and at- 
tached at the middle. 


(A'rabis spp.) 

Rockcresses include annual, biennial, or perenial weeds and are of 
world-wide distribution. There are more than 80 species in the west- 
ern United States. This genus belongs to the mustard family 
(Brassicaceae). Many authors use Cruciferae as the name of this 
plant family, a name derived from the Latin crux, cross, and fero, 
bear, referring to the crosslike arrangement of the petals a very 
marked characteristic of this family. These plants, even if not in 
flower, can often be recognized by the pungent or acrid taste of leaf 
or stem. 

In the rockcress genus (Arabis, from Arabia) flowers are white, 
pink, or purple, rarely yellowish, and have the distinctive mustard- 
family characters of four separate sepals, four separate petals, and 
six stamens (pollen-producing organs), two of which are shorter 
than the others. The pistils (seed-producing organs of the flowers) 
mature into long, narrow, flattened pods, with numerous seeds 
usually in two rows. Leaves are entire or toothed; the stem leaves 
are alternate, almost always stalkless, and frequently with clasping 
bases. Usually there is a fairly dense cluster (rosette) of stalked 
leaves at the base of the stems. 

In the aggregate the rockcresses are usually considered of low 
forage value but under some conditions, especially on overgrazed or 
depleted ranges, may be readily taken if succulent. 



Arena'ria conges' ta 

Flowers white, in congested, terminal, 
bracted heads 

Petals 5, about % in. long, entire, 
oblong, about twice as long as the 5, 
thin, dry, whitish, strongly keeled, 
outer flower parts (sepals) 

Stamens 10 

Leaves opposite, strongly ascending 
or nearly erect, narrow, grasslike, rigid, 
about % to 3 in. long, tipped with a hard, 
prickly point, with fine-toothed margins 

Stems tufted, erect, 4 to 14 in. high, 
slender, somewhat woody at base, hair- 

Taproot perennial, with many- 
branched root crown 

Ballhcad sandwort is a tufted perennial weed with opposite, stiff, sharp- 
pointed, grasslike or needlelike leaves. This species lacks a well-established, 
distinctive common name and ballhead sandwort is suggested, ballhead being a 
rather liberal interpretation of the specific name conyesta which appropriately 
refers to the aggregation of the flowers into dense clusters, congestus (-a,, -urn) 
being a Latin adjective meaning congested or heaped together. Ballhead sand- 
wort is distributed in the mountains from Montana and Colorado to California 
and Washington, occurring mostly between 5,000 and 10,000 feet, although found 
at both lower and higher altitudes. It grows on a wide variety of soils from 
deep, rich, moist loams to dry gravels, in grass, weed, sagebrush, aspen, ponderosa 
pine, lodgepole pine, and other vegetative types. Although a common plant 
on many of the Western ranges, it is not abundant, as a rule, and occurs 
scatteringly in mixture with other plants. 

The palatability of ballhead sandwort varies considerably, especially in dif- 
ferent localities and with the season of the year, and appears to be highest in 
those localities where it occurs most abundantly. While the growth is young 
and tender, the palatability of this species, in Montana, is fairly good for 
cattle and good for sheep ; in Wyoming and Colorado it is fairly good for cattle 
but only fair for sheep ; in the Southwest, only fair for both classes of livestock ; 
in California and the Northwest, poor for sheep and practically worthless for 
cattle ; and, in Utah, southern Idaho, and Nevada, it is apparently worthless. 

The small, white flowers of this species grow in dense clusters at the tops of 
the stems. The narrow, rigid, light-green leaves are produced mostly at the 
base of the plants, while the steins bear three to four pairs of leaves rather 
distantly spaced, the uppermost pair being much smaller than the others. The 
flowers of the compact, headlike clusters are subtended by small, egg-shaped, 
papery-margined bracts. The five sepals are thin, dry and faintly three-nerved, 
and about one-half as long as the oblong petals. The seed-producing organ 
(ovary) develops into a three-celled capsule which opens by three two-cleft 
valves, releasing the numerous minute seeds. 

SANDWORTS (Arena'ria spp.) 

Sandworts are annual or perennial weeds, having opposite leaves and small, 
white flowers, borne in open or contracted terminal clusters or, less frequently, 
solitary in the leaf axils. The genus belongs to the chickweed family (Alsina- 
ceae), which many botanists regard as a tribe or subfamily of the pink family 
(Silenaceae, or Caryophyllaceae). The generic name is derived from the Latin 
arenarlus, belonging to sand, and refers to the characteristic habitat of many of 
the species. The Latin word arena means sand, or figuratively, since the Ro- 
mans sprinkled sand on the fields used for gladiatorial contests to absorb the 
blood, the word came to mean any place of combat. The common name, sand- 
wort, also implies a plant or weed of sandy places, wort being a Middle English 
word (Anglo-Saxon teyrf) meaning herb. Sandworts, widely distributed 
throughout the West, are most common on rather dry, sandy, or gravelly soils 
but are also found on moderately moist, rich loams. The sandworts are com- 
mon on the western ranges, occurring from the plains and foothills to well 
above timber line in the mountains) but, as a rule, are scattered among other 
plants and not abundant in any one place. 

The sandworts, as a class, average from poor to fair in palatability for all 
classes of livestock, although in Utah, Nevada, southern Idaho, California, and 
the Northwest they are generally considered practically worthless to, at best, 
poor forage. The palatability of the sandworts undoubtedly varies not only for 
the different species but also for the same species in different localities and at 
different times of the year. In general, the palatability is highest in spring 
and in localities where the plants are most abundant. 

Of the western sandworts the only annual species is thymeleaf sandwort 
(A. serpyllifolia) , a cosmopolitan, introduced weed with egg-shaped, distinctly 
three-nerved leaves, and with the petals shorter than the sepals. Most of the 
perennial species are readily recognizable by their opposite, grasslike, or pine- 
needlelike leaves, but a few species have leaves of a broader type. The single 
ovary bears three threadlike styles and develops into a three-celled globular 
or oblong fruiting capsule opening by means of three two-cleft valves to dis- 
charge the numerous seeds. 



Ar'nica spp. 

Arnica is a genus of perennial herbs of the composite (aster .or 
sunflower) family, represented in the West by about 37 species. 
The arnicas occur throughout the mountains of the Western States, 
being much less common in the Southwest than in other sections. 
They occupy a wide variety of sites ; some species are fairly drought- 
resistant while others grow best in wet or marshy areas. Taken as 
a whole, the favorite habitat of plants of this genus is moist shady 
woodlands or coniferous timber stands at moderate to high eleva- 

In general, the arnicas are considered unimportant as forage 
plants, though their forage value is a matter for local determina- 
tion, as it varies greatly with the species, the locality, and the pres- 
ence and abundance of more palatable associates. Most arnicas are 
worthless or low, and, at best, only fair in palatability. Some spe- 
cies, however, are regarded locally as being moderately to highly 
palatable, especially for sheep. The flower heads are the portion 
of the plant most readily eaten. 

The generic name Arnica appears to have been invented by the 
great Swedish botanist, Linnaeus (1707-78), possibly as a corrup- 
tion of the old plant name Ptarmica. The medicinal arnica of com- 
merce, which is used popularly in the treatment of bruises, sprains, 
rheumatic pains, and other ailments, is obtained from the flower 
heads and rootstocks of the European species, Arnica montana. It 
is with this medicinal product that the word arnica is most famil- 
iarly associated. Because of the similarity in appearance, odor, and 
taste, close botanical relationship, and use by the Indians, there is 
reason for believing that some of our native western arnicas may 
possess medicinal properties similar to those of the European species. 

One of the most outstanding things about the plants of this genus 
is the typical opposite (paired) arrangement of the leaves although 
rarely the upper leaves are alternate. The erect stems are 6 inches 
to 2 feet high. One or more large sunflowerlike flower heads with 
showy yellow petal-like parts (ray flowers) are borne at the sum- 
mit of the stems. Several species, of which rayless arnica, often 
called Parry arnica (A. parryi), is the most common, have no petals 
(ray flowers). The center, or disk portion of the flower head, is 
made up of numerous small ? tubular flowers set upon a common, 
smooth (not chaffy but sometimes hairy) flattened base (receptacle). 
The involucre (circle of bracts around the flower head) is composed 
of oblong-lance-shaped to linear bracts (phyllaries). The seedlike 
fruits (achenes) are slender, somewhat spindle-shaped, and crowned 
with a circle or tuft of numerous, rigid, white, or grayish-tawny 



Ar'nica cordifo'Iia 

Outside (ray) flowers of head petal-like, 7 to 
13, about 1 in. long, toothed at tip, seed-bearing 

Center (disk) flowers of head numerous, small, 
yellow, tubular, perfect 

"Seed" (achene) narrow, 5- to 10-ribbed, 
hairy, the tip encircled by a ring of fine white 
bristles (pappus) which are rough to touch or 
with .tiny barbs 

Flower heads usually solitary, sometimes 
several, showy, pale yellow, stalked, erect in 

Bracts in a series (involucre) surrounding 
base of flower head, green, about % in. high, 
equal, usually in a single row, densely soft- 
hairy especially at base 

Leaves opposite; lowest pair rather long- 
stalked, usually distinctly heart-shaped, and 
coarsely toothed ; stem leaves 2 to 4 pairs, egg- 
shaped or broadly lance-shaped and usually 
somewhat heart-shaped at base; uppermost 
leaves reduced, without stalks, narrower than 
lower ones 

Stem erect, somewhat sticky-hairy 

Rootstock underground, slender, creeping 

Heartleaf arnica, a very common plant, is a perennial herb 6 to 24 
inches high, growing from fibrous roots and underground rootstocks, 
and is undoubtedly the most widespread and abundant species of its 
genus in the West. It ranges from British Columbia to northern 
New Mexico and California. In the Pacific Northwest it occurs 
mostly on the east side of the Cascades. It grows at elevations rang- 
ing from around 1,000 feet in the ponderosa-pine stands of the 
Northwest to about 11,000 feet in the mountains of Colorado and 
Utah. Heartleaf arnica grows almost exclusively in moist, rich, 
shady woodlands and timbered areas. It thrives in aspen, lodgepole 
pine, and open Douglas fir stands and in moist humus soils of spruce- 
fir woods, often becoming abundant and forming almost pure stands. 
It is sometimes found growing amidst grasses and weeds within or 
around timbered areas. 

Heartleaf arnica is included in this handbook chiefly because of 
its wide distribution, abundance, and showiness. It is not an im- 
portant forage plant, its palatability for grazing animals usually 
being low. In many localities it is but rarely grazed. When grazed, 
usually only the flowers are consumed, although occasionally some 
of the leaves are also eaten. Sheep utilize this species more readily 
than do other classes of livestock. 

The English name, heartleaf arnica, and the Latin species name, 
cordi folia (cordis=of the heart; fplia= leaves), are descriptive of 
the most outstanding feature of this species. The basal and lower 
leaves are almost always heart-shaped. While this character is rea- 
sonably constant, it cannot always be used as an absolute means of 
identification, because there is some variation in the shape of the 
leaves ; they may be broadly heart-shaped or kidney-shaped, rounded, 
or ovate. The lower stem leaves are 1 to 3 inches long and stalked 
(petioled) ; the upper stem leaves are usually smaller, stalkless, and 
broadly lance-shaped or diamond-shaped. The large yellow flower 
heads are often over 2 inches wide. 



Ar'nica folio'sa inca'na, syns. A. ca'na, A. inca'na 1 

Flower heads sunflowerlike, 3 or 4 in 
a group (rarely solitary) on densely 
hairy stalks 1 to \% in. long 

Bracts in a 1 -rowed series (involucre) 
around base of flower head, greenish, 
densely hairy, taper-pointed 

Outer (ray) flowers of head yellow, 
strap-shaped, rather short (up to K in. 
long), without stamens but seed-bearing 

Center (disk) flowers of head yellow, 
small, numerous, tubular, perfect, seed- 

"Seeds" (achenes) sparingly hairy, 
tipped by a ring of roughened, .vhite 
bristles (pappus) 

Stem leaves several pairs, broadly 
lance-shaped, slightly toothed, up to 6 
in. long and 1 in. wide, tapering to leaf- 
stalks up to 1^ in. long, or upper leaves 
clasping, with about 5 nearly parallel 

Basal or lower leaves lance-shaped to 
somewhat egg-shaped, with papery, 
sheathing bases up to 1 in. long 

Stems solitary, erect, densely white- 
hairy above; hairless, enlarged and 
hollow below if under water 

Rootstocks underground, slender, 

Roots tbickened-fibrous 

1 (A. Gray) Greene, not Pursh. 

Hoary arnica, also called water arnica, is a variety of leafy arnica 
(A. foUosa). Both the species and its variety wcana are leafy- 
stemmed (the specific name, foliosa^ means leafy) perennials, 8 to 
24 inches high, growing from long-running rootstocks. 

Hoary arnica occurs mostly in wet flats or meadows and often 
grows in the shallow waters of lakes or in the beds of former pools. 
In extremely wet places it makes a rank growth, sometimes reaching 
21/2 feet high, and the stems become thick and hollow. Hoary arnica 
is probably most common in California, where it often grows in 
abundance in mountain meadows. It is also occasionally found in 
drier situations, such as sagebrush- weed types. It ranges northward 
.from California to Washington and eastward to Montana and Colo- 
rado. Leafy arnica (the species) grows in moist situations in 
canyon bottoms, open meadows, and parks, and under scattered 
timber at moderate to high elevations from Alaska to northern New 
Mexico and Utah. 

Neither the variety nor the species is of any particular value for 
iforage, although sheep sometimes graze leafy arnica lightly, at least 
the flower heads. Hoary arnica often grows in places wetter than 
sheep care to enter. Moreover, in most places its palatability is low 
or worthless but, in the absence of better feed, it may sometimes 
be grazed moderately by sheep or even cattle. Deer are said to eat it 
when it is dry. Occasionally, California stockmen report this plant 
as poisonous to livestock, especially cattle, because of losses suffered 
from grazing areas surrounding alkali ponds and pools. It should 
be understood, however, that there is no reliable substantiating evi- 
dence in support of this belief. 

Both hoary arnica and leafy arnica are variable as to leaf shape, 
and the kind and amount of hairiness, and they also intergrade more 
or less with each other. Perhaps this variability explains why these 
plants have been so variously described and named in the different 
manuals. Hoary arnica appears in western botanical literature 
under at least four different names, Arnica ca/na,, A. demudatcu ca- 
nesceiis, A. foliosainccma, and A. inccma (A. Gray) Greene (N. B. 
The older A. incasna Pursh refers to a different plant) . Leafy arnica 
appears in western botanical manuals under at least seven different 
names, A. celsa, A. chamissonis in part, A, demwdata-, A. foliosa, A. 
oereata, A. rhizomata, and A. tom^ntvilosa. The stems of hoary 
arnica are usually more densely haired and white-woolly than are 
those of leafy arnica. Hoary arnica grows partly submerged in 
water more often than does leafy arnica, and when growing thus 
the lower part of the stem becomes free from hair (glabrate) and 
both the underground rootstocks and the lower part of the stem 
become hollow inside, perhaps to admit air to the submerged parts. 



Ar'nica latifo'lia, syn. A. vento'rum 


Flower heads sunflowerlike, pale yellow, usu- 
ally several (cymose), on slender stalks from 
axils of upper leaves 

Bracts in a series (involucre) around base of 
flower head, equal, usually in 1 row, green, 
rather densely glandular but with very few long 

Stem rather slender, erect, smooth or slightly 

Stem leaves 2 or 3 pairs, short-stalked or 
stalkless, 'thin, egg-shaped, rounded or ovaJ, 
usually sharply toothed on margins, up to 5 in. 
long and 3 in. wide 

Center (disk) flowers of head small, numerous, 
yellow, tubular, perfect, seed-bearing 

"Seed" (achene) smooth, encircled at tip by 
ring of fine, usually smooth, white hairs (pappus) 

Basal leaves opposite, stalked, ovate, rounded, 
or sometimes somewhat heart-shaped 

Rootstock underground, slender, long-creep- 
ing, with paired buds 

Outside (ray) flowers of head petal-like, yellow, 
strap-shaped, usually 7-veined, 3-tootned at 
tip, seed-bearing 

Broadleaf arnica, a perennial herb from 8 to 18 inches tall, is 
one of the most abundant and widespread of the western arnicas. 
The species is distributed from. Alaska and Alberta to Oregon, 
Utah, and Colorado. This plant occurs mostly in moist, shady, 
timbered areas such as aspen, lodgepole pine, Douglas fir, and spruce- 
fir stands, but it is also common in mountain meadows, shaded parks, 
and similar places. It grows at elevations varying from about 2,000 
feet in the humid forests of the Northwest to about 9,000 feet fur- 
ther inland. In some localities it is the dominant species and may 
limitedly be found in almost pure stands. 

Like most of the other arnicas, this species is rather low in forage 
value. Generally it is not relished, particularly by any class of 
livestock. In some localities it is grazed to a limited extent by 
sheep and cattle, the flower heads being eaten more readily than 
other portions of the plant. 

Broadleaf arnica grows from fibrous roots and running root- 
stocks (underground stems). The leaves are broad (lati folia means 
broad leaves), and bright green. The lower leaves are usually 1 
to 2,y 2 inches long but sometimes from 3 to 5 inches long and 2 to 
3 inches broad. The leaves, stems, and circle of bracts around the 
base of the flower head (involucre) are smooth or nearly free from 
hair, differing in this respect from heartleaf arnica with which the 
species is sometimes confused. From 1 to 5 showy, bright-yellow, 
sunflowerlike flower heads are borne on each stem. 



Artemi'sia gnaphalo'des 1 

Flower heads small, numerous, dense- 
ly white-hairy, borne in elongated, 
dense, leafy end clusters (panicles) 

Bracts in a series (involucre) around 
the flower head; outer bracts short, 
densely white-hairy; inner bracts 
densely white-hairy on back, smooth 

Outer (''ray_") flowers of head not 
petal-like as in real ray flowers, slender- 
tnbular, irregularly 2- to 4-toothed, 
female, seed-producing 

Inner (disk) flowers of head tubular- 
funnelform, regularly 5-toothed, per- 
fect, seed-producing 

"Seeds" (achenes) small, ellipsoid, 
hairless, without ribs or angles 

Leaves alternate, 1 to 4 in. long, up 
to \Yt in. wide, reverse-lance-shaped to 
linear, permanently and equally dense- 
white-hairy on both sides; lower leaves 
mostly entire, sometimes varyingly 
toothed or lobed; upper leaves smaller, 

Stems herbaceous, 1 to about 3 ft. 
.high, erect, densely white-woolly-hairy 

Rootstocks perennial, numerous,, 
creeping underground 

Roots deep, numerous; larger roots 
somewhat woody 

1 Synonyms : A. al'bula, A, 'britto'nil, A. diver sifo'lia, A. purshia'na, A. rhizo'mata, 
A. vulga'ris gnaphalo'des. 

Cudweed sagewort, also known as mugwort, a herbaceous perennial 
from a woody or shrubby base, is one of the most common and 
widely distributed of the herbaceous species of Artemisia. The spe- 
cific name gnaphalodes means like Gnaphalium, and refers to the 
resemblance of this plant's soft-wooly leaves to those of cudweed 
(Gnaphalium). This species ranges from Ontario and Michigan to 
Missouri, Texas, Mexico, California, British Columbia, and Sas- 
katchewan, and has also become naturalized in Pennsylvania and at 
various places along the Atlantic seaboard from Quebec to Delaware. 
It is most common on the plains and prairies as a conspicuous com- 
ponent of mixed grass- weed types, associated with fringed sagebrush, 
false tarragon , needlegrasses, blue grama, and muhly grasses. 
Throughout the West, this species grows typically in open grass- 
weed types from the big sagebrush and pinon- juniper to the 
ponderosa pine and aspen zones. 

In southeastern Montana, cudweed sagewort is common and fre- 
quently abundant on open slopes and foothills mixed with grasses 
and weeds at elevations of about 2,800 feet. In the Wasatch Moun- 
tains of Utah, it has been found as high as 10,000 feet, in association 
with alpine weeds. The species also grows freely on rocky, sandy, or 
gravelly loams of open ridges, slopes, and mesas at moderate eleva- 
tions, in association with wheatgrasses, mountain-dandelions, and 
western yarrow. It usually grows as scattered individuals or in 
small, distinctly matlike patches. However, on a few ranges, it be- 
comes abundant and conspicuous, although seldom found in dense, 
extensive stands. It prefers open, sun-drenched sites, but occasion- 
ally grows in moderate shade. 

Although widely distributed, this species, because of inferior palat- 
ability and general lack of abundance, usually does not have much 
forage value, although occasionally grazed by cattle and sheep, as 
well as by deer and elk. The palatability of this plant varies ap- 
preciably in different sections, being highest in the South, and de- 
creasing in the North. In Montana, where this plant is often 
abundant, the palatability is rated as from worthless to fair for 
sheep and worthless to poor for cattle; elk and deer eat but small 
amounts of the leafage. On mixed grass-weed types at Mandan. 
N. Dak., where cudweed sagewort occurs scatteringly, cattle nibble 
the foliage, but with noticeably less relish than the grasses. 2 Farther 
south, particularly in southern Utah and Colorado, and in New 
Mexico, this species is sometimes a rather valuable forage, especially 
on spring-fall and winter ranges, rating as fair or fairly good for 
sheep, fair for cattle, and poor for deer and elk. 

Cudweed sagewort has been an important plant in the primitive 
pharmacopoeia, as well as in the rituals and religious ceremonies of 
some of the Indian tribes. 3 



1170, 46 pp., illus. 1923. 

U. S. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Kept. (1911-12) 33 : 45-154, illus. 1919. 


Ascle'pias galioi'des 

(2 leaves) 

Leaves narrowly linear, 2 to 4 in. 
long, light green, hairless, in whorls of 
3 to 6 at stem joints 

Flowers small, greenish white, in 
stalked, umbrella-shaped clusters % to 
1 in. across 

Inner flower crown (corona) ^talked, 
with 5 hoods, each hood with incurved 
horn on inside 

Stamens 5, their stalks (filaments) 
united into a tube 

United petals 
turned down 

(corolla) 5-lobed, 

Outer flower parts (sepals) 5, small, 
egg-shaped, turned down, persistent 

Pollen masses (pollinia) waxy, in 

Eairs, suspended on stalks (translators) 
om a sticky body (corpusculum) 

Seeds reddish brown, round in out- 
line, about Y4 in. across, flattened, 
tipped by numerous, white-silky hairs 
about 1 in. long 

Seed pods (follicles) usually 1 to 3 
in. long, narrow, somewhat spindle- 
shaped, hairy, erect, thin-walled, split- 
ting along side, many-seeded 

Stems erect, usually 1 or 2 (some- 
times 5) ft. high, sometimes branched, 
often somewhat woody at base 

Roots-r-extensive, woody, with deep- 
set, spreading, horizontal, rootstock- 
like branches from which new steins 

Horsetail milkweed, also known as bedstraw milkweed and whorled 
milkweed, and locally as beeweed, a poisonous perennial herb, ranks 
among those plants most deadly to range livestock, especially sheep. 
Asclepias is the Latinized form for asklepias, an old plant name of 
uncertain identity used by the Greek medical writer, Dioscorides 
Pedanius; the word is evidently related to Aesculapius (Greek, 
Asklepios), tutelary god of medicine, and doubtless refers to the 
plant's putative virtues as a drug. Tournefort and, later, Linnaeus 
adopted Asclepias as generic name for the milkweeds. The specific 
name galioides means like Galium, and alludes to the fact that the 
whorled leaves of this milkweed suggest those of some bedstraw 
(Gdl-mm}. The English name, horsetail milkweed, recalls the veg- 
etative resemblance of the plant to some horsetail (Equisetum) and 
to the characteristic milky sap which exudes from the wounds when 
the plant is injured. This species ranges from Kansas to central 
Utah and south to west Texas, Arizona, and into Mexico, being 
most common and abundant in the United States in Arizona, New 
Mexico, and southern Colorado. It has been reported as flourish- 
ing and causing losses near Fallen, Nev., 1 but the broader-leaved 
Mexican whorled milkweed (A. mexicaiia) , another of the group of 
milkweeds with whorled (verticillate) leaves, may have been mistaken 
for it. 

Horsetail milkweed grows commonly on dry plains and foothills 
at elevations ranging from 4,000 to about 8,000 feet. In the foot- 
hills of Colorado and New Mexico it apparently prefers the draws, 
and usually grows along watercourses. It inhabits sandy, clayey, or 
gravelly soils and ordinarily appears on such overgrazed ranges as 
bedgrounds and trails, or wherever the vegetative cover is broken. 
The plants are usually scattered on these areas, and seldom form 
extensive patches. Occasionally this dangerous plant occurs in hay 
fields, although that thicker vegetative cover discourages its exten- 
sive spread or prolific seed production, as essentially it is a sun- 
loving species. Unfortunately, the growth of this milkweed is not- 
ably stimulated by cultivation, new plants readily growing from 
very small root fragments. Irrigation ditches also help to spread 
the species by carrying the seeds considerable distances to places 
where the ditchbanks, with their loose soil, furnish ideal conditions 
for germination and establishment of new infestation centers. 
Fence rows, abandoned orchards, and broken or fallow fields also 
have proved sites favorable for horsetail milkweed to grow luxuri- 
antly, spread rapidly, and form dense, extensive stands. 

Wherever horsetail milkweed occurs, it is a possible menace to all 
classes of livestock, but fortunately its palatability is zero and it is 
not eaten except during scarcity of other feed. Cattle and sheep, 
when cropping this plant by mistake in mouthfuls of mixed herbage, 
may often be observed to discard it immediately because of its un- 
pleasant taste. Death has resulted from feeding alfalfa hay infested 
with whorled milkweed to hungry, poorly nourished animals; the 
well-fed, vigorous livestock will nose out and reject the milkweed 
plants from the roughage. May 1 states: "It is very obvious, then, 

Colo. Agr. Expt. Sta. Bull. 255, 39 pp., illus. 1920. 

(leaf 2) 

that the only conditions under which poisoning from this plant may 
occur are those where the stock are very hungry and there is an 
absolute lack of other feed." Thus, the greatest losses have resulted 
along trails or driveways and on depleted bedgrounds, pastures, and 
ranges where the livestock were forced to eat the plant, due to lack 
of other forage. 

Horsetail milkweed is so virulent that relatively small quantities 
may cause severe sickness, or even death. Marsh 2 states that 6^/2 
pounds of the green vegetation ordinarily is sufficient to kill a 1,000- 
pound steer; iy 2 pounds, a 1,000-pound horse; and 2% ounces, an 
average-sized sheep. The plant is, therefore, most toxic to sheep, 
less so to horses, and considerably less poisonous to cattle; with 
largest losses among sheep. Poisoning of horses seldom happens, as 
those animals are very discriminatory concerning their feed. Occa- 
sionally reports, probably authentic, are heard that this species has 
caused goat losses. The plant appears to remain rather uniformly 
toxic during the entire season; the leaves are much more virulently 
poisonous than the steins. Chemical analyses show that horsetail 
milkweed contains several poisonous substances, but the symptoms of 
range poisoning are believed due to a resinlike substance which can 
be extracted from the plant by use of cold alcohol. 3 

Animals poisoned by horsetail milkweed display very character- 
istic symptoms, such as loss of muscular control from about 2% to 
21 hours after grazing the plant. Affected animals stagger and 
wobble, especially in the hind legs, soon fall, and make strenuous 
but futile efforts to rise. In severe cases violent spasms follow, in 
which the prostrate animal outstretched on one side throws its head 
back and forth, and makes running movements with its legs. Under 
range conditions, the animals have even been observed beating their 
heads violently upon the ground. 3 Marsh and coworkers (op. cit.) 
further report that the poisoned animals bloat markedly, abdominal 
gas accumulating rapidly; the respiration is labored, and the pulse 
is both rapid and weak. In fatal cases, the spasms decrease in in- 
tensity before death, which results from, respiratory paralysis. Body 
temperatures sometimes increase to over 110 F. during the sickness. 
Post-mortem examinations indicate that the outstanding effects of 
horsetail milkweed poison, besides the accumulation of gas, include 
lesions of the kidneys and central nervous system. 3 The poison 
apparently is not cumulative, since sickness or death do not result 
unless sufficient herbage either to prove toxic or kill the animal is 
eaten at one time. This plant, in certain far- western poisonous-plant 
literature, has been mistakenly referred to the more eastern, whorled 
milkweed (A. verticillata) ; the latter is a species of the Atlantic 
Plains and the Mississippi Valley, and apparently does not grow in 
the Rocky Mountains or farther west. 

Wool Grower 18 (10) : 25-26, illus. 1928. 

8 Marsh, C. D., Clawson, A. B., Couch, J. F., and Eggleston, W. W. THE WHORLED 


40 pp., illus. 1920. 

Effective antidotes for horsetail milkweed poison have neither been 
discovered nor developed; hence, prevention is the only control. 
Areas heavily infested with horsetail milkweed should not be grazed. 
Wherever practicable this plant should be eradicated from hay fields 
and pastures and other grazing lands. The prolific seeding habit 
of this species, together with its ability to grow from even small 
pieces of root, make it difficult either to control or eradicate the pest. 
However, mowing and burning the plant secures temporary protec- 
tion and also tends to reduce seed distribution. The most satisfac- 
tory method of eradication on tillable land 4 is to plow or grub areas 
infested with horsetail milkweed early in August, just before the 
plants seed. This should be followed by another grubbing or plow- 
ing when the green shoots appear in September. Artificial reseeding 
oners promise as an aid in controlling reinfestation of areas from 
which this plant has been eradicated. Where the plant occurs on 
ditchbanks, along fencerows, or on rocky hillsides, either grubbing 
or spraying with sodium arsenite are very effective. However, since 
sodium arsenite is extremely poisonous, livestock should be prohibited 
from, areas sprayed with this chemical until the following season. 

Horsetail milkweed has gained recognition as a possible source of 
commercial rubber, the leaves of the plant containing as much as 
5.2 percent of rubber according to Hall and Long. 5 

As is characteristic of its genus, horsetail milkweed is admirably 
adapted to insect pollination. The five stamens are united by their 
stalks into a tube which surrounds the pollen-receiving organ 
(stigma). The paired pollen masses (pollinia) are waxy and pear- 
shaped, and each pollen mass is suspended on a short, slender stalk 
(translator) from a stick body (corpusculum) located on the stigma 
between adjacent stamens. These corpuscula are connected by trans- 
lators to the pollen masses of the two adjacent pollen sacs (anthers). 
The pollinating insect in crawling over the stigma gets one or more 
of these corpuscula stuck to its feet and thus carries away the two 
attached pollen masses to the next flower visited. Doubtless the local 
name beeweed resulted from the numbers of bees present during the 
pollination period. The seeds are well fitted for wind dissemination, 
being numerous, light in weight, and crowned by a tuft of long, silky 
white hairs; however, they are also often water-borne for consider- 
able distances, especially along irrigation ditches. 

Bull. 285, 24 pp., illus. 1923. 

Inst. Wash. Pub. 313, 66 pp., illus. 1921. 


Ascle'pias mexica'na 

(2 leaves) 

Flowers small, numerous, greenish 
white or purplish, soft-short-hairy, in 
long-stalked, umbrella-shaped clusters 
at stem ends or in leaf axils 

Stamens 5, their stalks (filaments) 
united into a tube 

Inner flower crown (corona) stalked, 
with 5 erect hoods; hoods shorter than 
the pollen sacs (anthers), each hood 
with horn projecting beyond it on 

United petals (corolla) 5-lobed; lobes 
turned down after flower opens 

Outer flower parts (sepals) 5, small, 
turned down, persistent 

Pollen masses (pollinia) waxy, paired, 
suspended on stalks (translators) from 
a sticky body (corpusculum) 

Leaves linear or narrowly lance- 
shaped, 2 to 6 in. long and up to K in. 
wide, hairless, in whorls of 3 to 6 at 
stem joints or uppermost and lower 
leaves opposite 

Stems woody at the base, solitary or 
several, erect, 1 to about 6 ft. high, 
short-soft-hairy above 

Seed pods (follicles) up to about 4 
in. long, narrow (about y t in. thick), 
somewhat spindle-shaped, erect, thin- 
walled, splitting down the side, many- 

Seeds reddish brown, egg-shaped, flat- 
tened, with tuft of silky, white hairs 
about iy t in. long at tip 

Roots deep, woody, extensive, with 
deep, horizontal, rootstocklike branches 
which give rise to new stems 

Mexican whorled milkweed, a perennial herb often called narrow- 
leaf milkweed, is poisonous to livestock, having, in particular, caused 
serious sheep losses. The Latin specific name mexicana, as well as the 
Mexican of the English name, allude to the fact that the plant was 
first collected in Mexico ; whorled refers to the arrangement of most 
of the leaves in circles (whorls) of 3 to 6 at the stem joints. Milk- 
weed is a reminder of the milky juice which exudes from wounds of 
this and other plants of the milkweed family (Asclepiadaceae), when 
injured. This species is confined to western North America, where 
it ranges from southern Mexico northward through California to 
Washington, western Idaho, Utah, and western Arizona. It is most 
abundant in California and Nevada. Rather extensive patches grow 
practically throughout California, but chiefly in the dry ground of 
valleys and foothills, except along the coast in the northern part. 

Mexican whorled milkweed often develops in small colonies on dry 
plains and foothills and may occur at altitudes up to 6,000 feet, al- 
though it usually appears at much lower elevations. It demands an 
open, sunny site; once established the deep-set and extensive root 
system enables this species to withstand extensive drought. However, 
it makes a more luxuriant growth and spreads faster in such moist 
situations as along watercourses, where shade is not excessive. 

This plant usually inhabits sandy, rocky, clayey or gravelly soils, 
and frequently attains abundance on bedgrounds and newly dis- 
turbed or eroded areas, where the original cover has been depleted. 
It spreads rapidly, extending its range by invasions into disturbed 
soil areas along irrigation ditches, streams, roadsides, and f encerows, 
as well as into pastures, washes, and on abandoned agricultural land, 
where it frequently develops dense, extensive stands. Occasionally, 
this herb also occurs in hayfields and meadows, and either lowers the 
hay grade materially or makes the contaminated crop worthless or 
even dangerous. This obtains because Mexican whorled milkweed, in 
drying, loses some of its disagreeable taste, but not its poisonous 
properties, and is rather readily eaten in hay. 

Animals grazed where Mexican whorled milkweed is intermixed 
with good forage, spurn it until the other feed is utilized. Although, 
as above intimated, most reported fatalities have been among sheep, 
some cattle losses have occurred, but practically no mortality has 
resulted among horses. The maximum sheep losses have been ex- 
perienced along sheep trails or on bedding areas, and in overgrazed 
pastures and fields where the animals were forced to eat this plant due 
to the scarcity of better forage. While losses are usually few and 
scattered, occasionally almost entire bands have been wiped out at 
one time. 

Although Mexican whorled milkweed is very poisonous, it is not 
nearly as serious a menace as its sister species, horsetail milkweed 
(A. galioi'des), being only one-fourth as toxic in fact, the amount 
required for a lethal dose is six times as much. 1 Investigations * 2 
indicate that ordinarily about V/2 to %y 2 pounds of green material 

MEXiCANA) AS A POISONOUS PLANT. U. S. Dept. Agr. Bull. 969, 16 pp., illus. 1921. 

2 Fleming, C. E., and Peterson, N. F., assisted by Miller, M. R., Vawter, L. R., and 

NEVADA. Nev. Agr. Expt. Sta. Bull. 99, 32 pp., illus. 1920. 

(leaf 2) 

of Mexican whorled milkweed is sufficient to kill a 100-pound sheep. 
Fleming and coauthors 2 state that amounts of 5 pounds or more 
apiece may reasonably be expected to kill yearling calves, and Marsh 
and Clawson 1 report that, due to the similarity in effects of Mexican 
whorled and horsetail milkweeds, it is fair to conclude that the 
former is poisonous also to horses. 

Chemical analyses - indicate that the plant contains several poi- 
sonous substances, but the symptoms appearing in range poison- 
ing are probably attributable to a black, resinlike substance which 
can be extracted from Mexican whorled milkweed with alcohol. 

The symptoms of poisoning are somewhat similar to, but usually 
less severe than, those caused by horsetail milkweed. Sheep become 
sick in from about 5 to 14 hours after grazing this poisonous species, 
are generally depressed, refuse to eat, lack muscular coordination, 
and walk with an unsteady, wobbly gait with paralysis usually 
most marked in the hind legs. 1 2 In fatal cases the affected animal 
soon falls, unable to rise. The pulse is fast and weak, and the 
breathing is labored. Spasms are present but usually are neither 
so marked nor as violent as those produced by horsetail milkweed. 
No perceptible elevation of temperature may occur 1 or the tem- 
perature may rise during the spasms, the maximum being reached 
at the time of death. 2 The poisoned animals are often salivated 
and bloated. No effective antidote is available. Since Mexican 
whorled milkweed is easily recognized, livestock should be debarred 
from heavily infested areas. Whenever feasible, the plant should 
be eradicated from valuable pastures, fields, and hay lands, although 
its prolific seeding habit and ability to grow from even very small 
pieces of deep-seated, horizontal root make such eradication both 
difficult and costly. The most efficient control similar to that used 
in the overthrow of horsetail milkweed in such areas probably 
would be to plow or grub the plants early in August before seed 
maturity, repeating the process when the green shoots begin to ap- 
pear in September. In some cases it is advisable to remove these 
pestiferous plants from fencerows, roadsides, ditchbanks, and rocky 
soils to prevent their serving as breeding centers for seed which 
would later infest agricultural, range, pasture, or hay lands. 

Despite that it is poisonous to livestock, this species has several 
possible economic uses. Analyses by Hall and Long 3 indicate its 
potentialities as a source of commercial rubber, as much as 4.8 per- 
cent of rubber having been obtained from latex in the leaves. These 
authors also state: 

The largest plants are always found in moderately alkaline soil and are 
often associated with such halophytes as Sporobolus airoides and Distichlis 
spicata. These facts suggest that the proper place for the. cultivation of 
the plant on a large scale would be the vast expanses of territory in the San 
Joaquin Valley of California and the valleys of western Nevada which are 
now uncultivated either because of alkaline conditions or the lack of water 
for irrigation. 

Inst. Wash. Pub. 313, 66 pp., illus. 1921. 

Mexican whorled milkweed is insect-pollinated in a manner sim- 
ilar to that described in detail in the horsetail-milkweed discussion 
in this handbook. The waxy, paired pollen masses (pollinia) at- 
tached by stalks (translators) to a small, sticky body (corpuscu- 
lum) on the stigma, become stuck to the legs of bees and other insects 
and are thus carried from one flower to another. 


As'ter spp. 

Aster, taking its name from the Greek, aster, a star, referring to 
the rayed flower heads, is a large (at least 250 species), chiefly 
North American genus of principally perennial, or occasionally an- 
nual or biennial plants, with a large representation in the West. 
Including the section of spiny asters and goldilocks (genera Leuco- 
,sym and Linosyris of some authors), the woody asters (genus 
Xylorrhiza of some authors) and the genera Brachyactis, Doellin- 
gvria, Eremiasti v iMn, Bucephalus, Hcrrickia, lonactis, Le'iicelene. 
Ma^haeranthera, Oreostemrna, and Unamia, of some authors, at least 
150 species occur in the Western States. Of these, the spiny aster 
group (about 3 species) and the woody asters (approximately 10 
species) are more or less woody, varying from scarcely more than 
herbs with a woody root and crown to true shrubs or undershrubs. 
The remainder of the western species are herbaceous plants, either 
with rootstocks or with taproots and a more or less well defined 
root crown. Asters are universally distributed in the Western States 
and occur in practically all soils and in all types from the desert and 
semidesert regions at low elevations to well above timberline. These 
species seldom appear in pure stands but, taking the western ranges 
as a whole, are so common and generally distributed that they form 
a considerable part of the plant cover. 

The spiny and woody asters have a zero to very low palatability, 
so that if sheep or other livestock crop them on any scale it is a 
sure indication of improper range conditions. 1 

The smaller species of herbaceous asters, especially those with 
numerous small nower heads and the upper leaves distinctly smaller 
than the basal, are usually practically worthless to, at best, poor 
forage. They are seldom cropped by cattle and but slightly by 
sheep. These species have strong reproductive powers and fre- 
quently become abundant on overgrazed ranges. The taller species, 
with larger flower heads and leafy stems, are generally more palat- 
able some of the better species being considered fair to good forage 
for shsep and goats and fair forage for cattle. Horses rarely graze 
any of the asters. Observations of elk on the Lewis and Clark For- 
est in Montana have disclosed that a number of the larger asters 
are good fall and winter forage for these game animals and are 
also grazed in the spring and summer before heads are developed. 
Deer, however, have not been noticed to graze asters in that locality. 

Among the asters one of the woody species, Parry aster (A. parryi, 
syn. Xylorrhiza parryi) , often known as woody aster, is unusual in 
that it is known to poison sheep. A very closely related species, 
alkali aster {A. glabriusculu>s, syn. Xylorrldza glabriusaula) , rang- 
ing from Wyoming to northern Utah, is also under strong suspicion. 1 
The range of Parry aster is, so far as known, confined to Wyoming, 
but it may also occur in northern Colorado. It is found only at the 

1 Dayton, W. A. IM PORTANT WESTERN BROWSE PLANTS. U. S. Dept. Agr Misc Pub 
101, 214 pp., illus. 1931. 

lower elevations upon gumbo-clay soils, usually on gentle slopes or 
sometimes on ridges. Parry aster has a large woody taproot more 
or less branched at the surface of the ground. From these woody 
root crowns spring a number of leafy, woolly-hairy stems about 4 
to 6 inches high which produce, usually during June, several daisy- 
like flower heads. The white, petallike ray flowers are about three- 
eighths of an inch long, and the narrow, spatula-shaped, hairy, alter- 
nate leaves are about 1 to 2 inches long. Parry aster has caused 
very heavy sheep losses in Wyoming, chiefly during the spring and 
early summer. Probably losses are greater during that period be- 
cause the mature plants contain much less of the toxic principle 
and are less attractive to grazing animals. Apparently only a small 
amount of Parry aster is required to produce fatal results in sheep, 
but ordinarily this plant is not grazed except under conditions of 
extreme hunger or when there is a shortage of other forage. The 
toxic principle of Parry aster has been isolated, but its exact nature 
has not been determined. 2 There are no known medicinal remedies. 
Some observations indicate that Parry aster, which frequently occurs 
on selenium-bearing soils, may absorb enough of this element to be 
toxic to cattle. 3 

Asters belong to the immense aster, or composite family (Asteraceae, or 
Compositae). The flowers are small and borne in dense clusters, or heads, 
having the appearance of a single flower and commonly are produced from 
late July to late September. Flowers are of two kinds: (1) Those in the 
center of the heads (disk flowers), with yellow, tubular corollas which often 
turn reddish or purplish in drying, and (2) those at the edge of the heads (ray 
flowers) with strap-shaped and petallike, white, pink, blue, or purple corollas. 
The ray flowers are usually in one row, not very numerous, and their corollas 
are comparatively broad. The enlarged end of the stalk (receptacle), which 
bears the flowers, is flat. Heads are normally borne on leafy stalks and are sur- 
rounded at the base by several rows of strongly graduated, overlapping, some- 
what herbaceous bracts. Numerous slender, white or tawny bristles are borne 
on top of each "seed" (achene) in both the disk and the ray flowers. The leaves 
are alternate, with entire or toothed margins. 

The most common plants with which the asters are likely to be confused 
are the wild-daisies (Erigeron spp.). However, wild-daisy heads are usually 
fewer (often one to three) and generally borne on partially leafless stalks, 
the ray flowers are slender and generally numerous, and the disk flowers do 
not noticeably change color in drying. Furthermore, the involucral bracts 
are in fewer (mostly one or two) rows, usually looser, but slightly overlapping, 
and are nearly equal in length. 

Asters are often grown as ornamentals, and a large number of well-recog- 
nized species and horticultural varieties are now available through commercial 
nurserymen. At least three of these species are native to the West. Rock 
aster (A. alpinus), an alpine species ranging from Alaska to Colorado and 
occurring in Europe and Asia, is a rather low plant with single stems arising 
from a somewhat woody root crown. Under natural conditions the ray 
flowers are white. This species, one of the hardy asters of nurserymen, is 
especially suitable for rock gardens, and about 17 named horticultural varieties 
of it have been developed. Smooth aster (A. laevis), a late blooming species 
with blue ray flowers and a stout, smooth stem often covered with a bluish 
waxy substance (glaucous), is native in the Rocky Mountains from British 
Columbia to New Mexico and eastward to Ontario, Maine, and Georgia. 
Wreath aster (A. multiflorus) , a rather low, much-branched species with 
white ray flowers, occurs naturally east of the Rocky Mountains. 

Wyo. Agr. Expt. Sta. Bull. 123 : [40]-66, illus. 1920. 

"Hill, J. A. [REPORT OF THE] CHEMISTRY DEPARTMENT. Wyo. Aer. Expt. Sta Kept. 
43 : 14-16. 1933. 



As'ter conspi'cuus 

Flower heads daisyliko, broadly bell- 
shaped, about K in- wide, stalked, few 
to many in a flat-topped or rounded 

Bracts in a several-rowed series (in- 
volucre) around base of head, glandular- 
hairy, sharp-pointed, with spreading, 
green tips; outer bracts much shorter 
than inner 

Outer (ray) flowers of heads narrow, 
rather numerous, violet, about % in. 

Center (disk) flowers of heads yellow, 

"Seeds" (achenes) somewhat flat- 
tened, finely hairy, crowned with nu- 
merous, slender, white bristles (pappus) 

Leaves alternate, oblong or the lower 
egg-shaped, rigid, pointed, generally 
ample, up to 2% in. wide, 7 in. long, 
with sharply toothed edges, somewhat 
harsh, the bases slightly clasping 

Stems erect, up to 3K ft. high, stout, 
rigid, leafy, solitary or tufted, some- 
what harsh, mostly unbranched 

Rootstocks underground, creeping 
Roots perennial, fibrous 

Showy aster, sometimes known as purple aster, although the ray 
flowers are violet rather than purple, is a perennial which starts 
blooming about the middle of July and continues until late Septem- 
ber, or -even later if weather conditions permit. The specific name 
coiispicuus, Latin for conspicuous, or remarkable, is appropriate for 
this species, which produces its rather large yellow and violet flower 
heads at a time w r hen but few other wild flowers add color to the 
green and brown hues of the wooded hillsides. It ranges from Brit- 
ish Columbia to Oregon, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Saskatche- 
wan. It occurs in considerable abundance on the east slope of the 
Cascade Mountains, but apparently does not grow in Washington 
and Oregon west of the Cascade Mountains, although it has been re- 
ported from Vancouver Island. Showy aster is confined chiefly to 
the ponderosa pine and lodgepole pine belts. It may be common and 
sometimes fairly abundant in aspen and open coniferous timber, 
especially in lodgepole pine, and also occurs sparsely in moist rnrks 
and old burns. 

This species is generally rated as fairly good to good sheep and 
goat forage and as fair to fairly good cattle forage. Like practi- 
cally all other asters, it is seldom grazed by horses. It is a fairly 
large, leafy plant occurring rather abundantly and produces a con- 
siderable amount of forage. Showy aster constitutes unusually good 
fall and winter elk forage, and the new leaves are grazed by those 
animals in spring. The species is especially important on fall and 
winter elk ranges in Idaho and Montana. Showy aster is not aggres- 
sive and does not tend to crowd out its associates to any great extent, 
although considerable seed is produced and new plants also develop 
from the stout, underground rootstocks. 

Stems of this species are erect, up to 3y 2 feet high, rigid, and leafy. 
The leaves are relatively large and numerous, often 7 inches long 
and 2,y 2 inches wide, with sharply toothed margins. The stem leaves 
are without leafstalks, their bases often partly clasping the stem. 
The leaves of the middle part of the stem are usually the largest. 
The flower heads are borne on short-branched, glandular stalks in a 
rounded or flat-topped cluster. The yellow disk flowers turn pur- 
plish in drying. The green-tipped involucral bracts are in about five 
rows, the outer ones being much shorter than the inner. 



As'ter engelman'ni, syn. Euce'phalus engelman'ni 

Flower heads about % in. high, hemi- 
spherical, usually several on each stem, 
arising from the upper leaf axils 

Bracts in a 5-rowed series (involucre) 
around base of head, usually purple- 
tinged, with hairy-fringed margins, the 
outer ones shorter than the inner 

Outer (ray) flowers of heads white, 
pinkish, or purple, 5 to 10, female, about 
in. long 

Center (disk) flowers of heads small, 
numerous, yellow, tubular, turning 
brownish in drying 

"Seeds" (achenes) oblong, flattened, 
more or less hairy, becoming hairless in 
age, crowned with numerous tawny 
bristles (pappus) 

Leaves alternate, mostly broadly 
lance-shaped, 2 to 4 in. long, usually 
sharp-pointed, stalkless, rather thin 
with prominent midrib, generally hair- 
less, somewhat bluish-waxy-coated, the 
margins sometimes with a few fine 

Stems robust,- up to 5 ft. high, solitary 
or tufted, often branched toward the 
top, hairless to somewhat fine-hairy 

Rootstocks creeping, 

Roots fibrous 


Engelmann aster, a tall, leafy perennial with underground running 
rootstocks, ranges from British Columbia to northern California and 
eastward to Colorado and Montana. It usually occurs in loam soils 
which may vary from a clay loam to a gravelly or even a rocky loam. 
It is not critical in its moisture requirements and is found on both 
moderately moist and fairly dry soils. It occurs in a variety of types, 
namely, in grass and weed mixtures, among shrubs, in aspen, and in 
open coniferous timber, probably reaching its best development in 
rich, moist soils in scattered aspen. Being a mountain plant, this 
species seldom occurs below an elevation of 3,000 feet in the Cascade 
Mountains of Washington and Oregon. In the Rocky Mountains its 
elevational range is from about 6,000 to 10,000 feet. This aster is 
fairly common and in some places is locally abundant, although it 
seldom constitutes more than a small part of the herbaceous plant 

There is some difference of opinion as to the palatability of Engel- 
mann aster. There is general agreement, however, that it is one of 
the most palatable of the asters and, as it is rather widely distributed 
and fairly common, it is a rather valuable weed species. Engelmann 
aster is reputedly good sheep and cattle feed in parts of Utah and 
good sheep forage in parts of Wyoming. Generally throughout the 
rest of its range it rates as fairly good forage for sheep and goats, 
fair for cattle, but practically worthless for horses. All observers 
agree that before the buds develop it is good spring forage for elk, 
and that it also has value for fall and winter use. Some observers 
state that it is good deer and wild-goat feed, while others maintain 
that deer seldom graze this or any other species of aster. 

Engelmann aster, one of many plants named for Dr. George Engel- 
mann (1809-84), a celebrated American botanist, is a rather robust 
species with leafy stems either solitary or in small tufts. The basal 
leaves and the stem leaves are nearly equal in size, are relatively 
thin, with a prominent midrib, and of a pale green, somewhat yel- 
lowish color. The larger leaves often have a few small teeth along 
the margins. The stems often bear as many as 20 or more rather 
large heads, although stems with only 1 or 2 heads are not uncommon. 
The petallike ray flowers, mostly about 10 on each head, vary from 
white or pinkish to purple. Rocky Mountain specimens tend to pro- 
duce white or pinkish ray flowers, whereas California specimens usu- 
ally have darker-colored rays. The commonly reddish or purple- 
edged involucral bracts are in five rows, the outer ones being shorter 
than the inner. 

This species, like many other asters, starts blooming about the 
middle of July and continues until late September. Seeds begin to 
mature about the 1st of September, and are produced as long as the 
weather permits. An abundance of seed is produced, and the plants 
also spread by means of the strong rootstocks. However, Engelmann 
aster is not an especially aggressive species; and while it maintains 
itself very well on grazed ranges, it does not tend to become overly 



As'ter integrifo'lius, syn. A. amplexifo'lius 

I'lower heads daisylike, about % in. high, on 
short, sticky-hairy stalks, few to many in a 
rather narrow cluster (raceme or panicle) along 
upper part of stem 

Center (disk) flowers of heads- 

small, yellow, 

Outer (ray) flowers of heads deep bluish pur- 
ple, about 15 to 25, strap-shaped, about % to 
% in. long 

Bracts in a several-rowed series (involucre) 
around base of head, narrow, tapering to tip, 
usually purple-tinged, sticky-hairy ; outer bracts 
nearly as long as inner 

"Seed" (achene) somewhat flattened-spindle- 
shaped, crowned with numerous, slender, tawny 
bristles (pappus) 

Leaves alternate, with entire, wavy, or finely 
toothed margins, thinnish, white-hairy becom- 
ing hairless; lower leaves large, up to 7 in. long, 
comparatively narrow, tapering to a winged 
stalk; upper leaves oblong to spatula- or lance- 
shaped, stalkless and with somewhat clasping 

Stems solitary to more or less tufted, rather 
stout, up to 20 in. high, rarely branched at top, 
often reddish, hairless to long-soft-hairy below 
and glandular above 

Roots numerous, from thick, creeping, peren- 
nial rootstocks 

Thickstem aster is a leafy weed of the composite, or aster family 
(Compositae, or Asteraceae), with one or several stems growing from 
thick, creeping, perennial rootstocks. The name integrifolius is a 
Latin adjective compounded from integer (-ra, -rum], whole or 
entire (hence, untoothed) and folium, leaf. Thickstem aster is 
confined chiefly to the mountains from Washington and Montana 
to Colorado and California. It occurs mostly at elevations above 
5,000 feet in the Rocky and Sierra Nevada Mountains and at some- 
what lower elevations in the Cascade Mountains of Washington and 
Oregon. It prefers moist loam or often somewhat gravelly soils, 
being most abundant in meadows and parks along the edges of timber 
but also appearing in open timber and woodlands and to some extent 
in sagebrush types. This weed is often associated with goldenrod, 
lupine, yarrow, bromegrass, fescue, willow, and sagebrush. Although 
fairly common throughout its range and relatively abundant in some 
localities, this plant is principally scattered in its distribution. 

Throughout its more northerly range, thickstem aster is especially 
prized as a fall elk weed; moreover in many parts of this region it 
is fair or fairly good sheep feed. Elsewhere it is, at best, only fair 
forage for sheep and goats, poor for cattle, and practically worthless 
for horses. It may be valuable as forage for elk and possibly also 
for deer over much of its range. In California, where this species 
is fairly common, it is considered poor forage even for sheep. Hence 
extensive utilization of this plant on California sheep ranges is a 
probable warning of overgrazing and range depletion. 

The stems of thickstem aster are usually from about 8 to 20 inches 
tall and grow in small tufts, usually several arising from a stout 
often branched rootstock, although sometimes the bunches are con- 
siderably larger. The stems are often reddish, are usually more or 
less hairy toward the base and glandular-hairy or sticky toward the 
top. The lower leaves are large, comparatively narrow, and de- 
cidedly variable in shape, in some plants being broadest toward the 
tip and in others toward the base. The basal leaves taper into a 
winged stalk (petiole), but the stem leaves, which are smaller than 
the basal ones, are without stalks, their bases more or less clasping 
the stem. The plants start flowering about the middle of July and 
continue until early fall, the several short-stalked flower heads, about 
1 inch across and one-half of an inch high, being borne in a rather 
narrow cluster toward the top of the stem. The petal-like ray- 
flowers are deep bluish purple, and the involucres and stems of the 
heads are glandular. The involucral bracts are rather loosely ar- 
ranged in three or four rows, the outer ones being nearly as long 
as the usually purple-tinged inner ones. 


Astra'galus convalla'rius 1 

(2 leaves) 

Flowers pea-like, almost white to 
purplish, about % in. long, more or loss 
erect, stalked, bracted, few, borne in 
long-stalked clusters (racemes) arising 
from the leaf axils 

Leaves alternate, long-stalked, di- 
vided (odd-pinnate) into 7 to 17 
leaflets, usually all but the end one in 

Leaflets flat, rather thin, linear, white- 
hairy; lower leaflets larger than upper 

Bracts (stipules) at base of leafstalk 
2, often somewhat united, papery 

Stems numerous, leafy, very slender, 
spreading at base, much-branched, 
sparingly white-hairy 

Petals 5, dissimilar: upper petal (ban- 
ner) longest, erect, with edges some- 
what bent back; side 2 petals (wings) 
usually concealed under sides of ban- 
ner; lower 2 united petals (keel) boat- 
shaped, extended abruptly upward at 
tip but scarcely beaked 

Outer united flower narts (calyx) 
bell-shaped, about K m- long, often 
densely black-hairy when voung, spar- 
ingly so in age, with 5 slender teeth 
shorter than united portion, persistent 

Taproot woody, slender, perennial 

Pod (legume) flattened, almost 
straight, linear, up to IK in. long and 
about y 4 in. wide, white-hairy, short- 
stalked,, hanging down, 1-celled, 
several-seeded, 2-valved; valves twist- 
ing at maturity 

1 See footnote on following page. 

Timber poisonvetch, also called greenvetch, timber milkvetch, and 
timber loco, a perennial herb of great practical and scientific interest, 
is poisonous in many areas and responsible for heavy losses of cattle, 
sheep, and horses, but in other areas is grazed without injurious 
results. This species, a member of the large loco-poisonvetch-milk- 
vetch (Astragalus) genus of the pea family (Legurninosae), is re- 
lated to the well-known poisonous crazyweed, or "stemless loco" 
(Oseytropi-s lambertii). A considerable number of species in the 
large Astragalus genus are recognized as poisonous to livestock ; those 
which cause locoism are known as locos, or locoweeds; other toxic 
species, called poison vetches, produce entirely different symptoms; 
still other species, called milkvetches, are innocuous. Accurate in- 
formation concerning the great majority of range Astragali is lack- 
ing. Until recently timber poisonvetch was usually regarded as 
harmless; hence the name "milkvetch", so commonly used for this 
species, was not inappropriate ; in fact, in many localities this plant 
is considered to be an excellent and nutritious forage species. The 
late Dr. E. L. Greene (1842-1915), at one time botanist for the 
Forest Service, is the author of the name cowoollarius, but did not 
explain it. Perhaps it was because of some imagined similarity of 
the racemes of this plant to those of lily-of-the-valley ( Con valla ria). 

Timber poisonvetch, so far as is now known, ranges from south- 
eastern British Columbia and eastern Washington to Montana and 
south to northern Arizona and Colorado; it probably also occurs in 
eastern Nevada and northern New Mexico. The plant grows typ- 
ically on mountain slopes from the oakbrush and ponderosa pine 
belts to the upper reaches of the spruce zone. In British Columbia 
it is found at elevations of from about 2,000 to 4,500 feet and in 
Wyoming between 6,000 and 8,000 feet. It often grows on moist, 
timbered slopes, in open aspen stands, and along the edges of parks 
and meadows, thriving on many of these sites, and frequently being 
conspicuous amidst the plant cover. Although the species grows best 
on the rich, clayey, sandy, or gravelly loam soils of somewhat shaded 
sites, it often occurs scatteringly in open, drier sagebrush types. 
This plant seldom forms pure stands, but usually grows in mixed 
grass- weed types. 

Timber poisonvetch, unlike many poisonous plants, is palatable 
to all classes of livestock; the delicacy of its leaves and stems un- 
doubtedly enhances the readiness with which it is cropped. On many 
ranges sheep and cattle frequently eat measurable quantities without 
injurious effects ; sheep on certain areas prefer it to any other feed. 
Beath and co-workers, 2 as a result of their chemical analyses of tim- 
ber poisonvetch, state "the crude protein content is * above 
that of alfalfa." Potentially the plant would rank as highly nu- 
tritious, an opinion endorsed by many stockmen. 

iThe complex synonymy of this plant includes: A. campestris (Nutt.) A. Gray (1865), 
based on Homalo'bus campestris Nutt. (1888). not A. oampeatrig L. (1753) ; H. snlidae ; 
H. tenuifolius ; Phaca convallaria; A. Aecwmbena convallarius; A. serotinus campestris. 
There are several other very similar Astragali, e. g., A. decumbens, A. divergent, A. hy- 
lophilus, A. palUscri, A. serotinus, and A. striaosus, which seem more or less to inter- 
grade with A. convallarius and with each other, and which some authors have regarded 
as varieties of A. convallarius. Further study of this important and variable group of 
species is needed to establish definitely the specific limitations and precise geographic 

2 Beath, O. A., Draize, J. H., and Eppson, H. P. THBEE POISONOUS VETCHES. Wyo. 
Agr. Bxpt. Sta. Bull. 189, 23 pp., illus. 1932. 

(leaf 2) 

In Wyoming, Beath and co-workers, 23 and Bruce 4 in British 
Columbia, have reported on the poisonous properties of timber poi- 
sonvetch and have contributed most of the available information 
concerning the effects of this plant upon livestock. In the case of 
sheep and cattle, females suckling their young are by far the most 
susceptible ; ordinarily the death rate in horses is not high, although 
in certain cases losses of from 10 to 40 percent or more have occurred. 
However, horses once affected can never stand much work after- 
ward. The greatest losses obtain among 1 animals which are new- 
comers to the ranges ; in time, however, they seem to develop partial 
(but never complete) immunity to the poison. Livestock suffer most 
from this disease- during dry seasons, and the majority of range 
losses attributable to the plant are intimately connected with short- 
age of other forage. The toxic period of timber poisoiivetch is not 
definitely known. Although a few livestock losses have occurred in 
its earlier stages of growth, most poisonings have developed during 
its flowering or seeding periods; after maturing and drying up it 
has been eaten without apparent injury. 4 

There is an extensive local lingo for the cumulative symptoms 
caused by timber poisonvetch, including such terms as alkali disease, 
blind staggers, cracker-heel, knocking disease, mountain fever, roar- 
ing disease, timber paralysis, and timber trouble. However, the first 
two names are not limited to poisoning caused by timber poison- 

The disease may be chronic, as commonly in Wyoming, 2 lasting 
from several months to several years, or it may be acute, the symp- 
toms appearing within a few days, and being rather quickly fatal. 
In the chronic cases sjinptoms are varied and often difficult to rec- 
ognize. They include general sluggishness and inactivity, weak- 
ness, defective nutrition, often depraved appetite, impaired vision, 
tendency to wander aimlessly, and varying degrees of paralysis, 
especially in the hind legs. 

In acute cases one or more such characteristic symptoms are notice- 
able, as sudden attacks in which the heart beats very rapidly and 
spasmodically; impairment of vision (blind staggers); muscle in- 
coordination which causes the animal to knock its heels together in 
walking (knocking disease), or paralysis beginning in the hind legs, 
with a tendency to spread to other parts; difficult breathing, often 
accompanied by a wheezing or roaring (roaring disease). In addi- 
tion there may be drooling, loss of voice, anemia, and a dangerous 
decline in body temperature. In fatal cases death ordinarily results 
from respiratory paralysis or from heart failure and may occur 
within a few days after the first symptoms appear. Autopsy reveals 
an enlarged and flabby heart with thin walls; the liver, lungs, 
spleen, and various parts of the digestive tract are usually congested ; 
there may be some nerve degeneration, especially of the vagus nerve. 

8 Beath, O. A., Draize, .T. H., and Gilbert, C. S. PLANTS POISONOUS TO LIVESTOCK. 
Wyo. Agr. Expt. Sta. Bull. 200, 84 pp., illus. 1934. 

BRITISH COLUMBIA. Canada Dept. Agr. Bull. 88, 44 pp., illus. 1927. 

No specific antidote for the disease caused by timber poisonvetch 
has yet been discovered or developed; hence the problem, is one of 
prevention. Livestock should be debarred from areas which are 
heavily infested with this plant, especially where previous fatalities 
have occurred. Animal newcomers to a range where this plant 
abounds should be carefully watched to prevent their consumption 
of excessive quantities of timber poisonvetch; areas on which it 
occurs should be grazed lightly. 

The exact chemical nature of the toxin in this plant is unknown. 
Beath and co-workers 3 indicate that "stock poisoned by this plant 
exhibit symptoms suggestive of metallic poisoning. Ash analysis of 
the plant reveals the presence of comparatively large amounts of 
tin." The "trace" of selenium which those investigators obtained 
in their analysis is perhaps even more significant. It is possible that 
timber poisonvetch, like the closely related two-groove poisonvetch 
(A. bisulcatus] and several other plant species reported by Beath 
and co-workers, 5 may also be selenium-bearing when grown. on cer- 
tain soils. Several indications, at least, point that way: (1) As a 
result of the high protein content of timber poisonvetch, there is 
the possibility of its absorbing sulphur in large quantities; hence, 
if Hurd-Karrer's assumption of substitution of selenium for sulphur 
in certain synthesized plant compounds 6 7 is correct, then timber 
poisonvetch might reasonably be supposed to absorb considerable 
quantities of selenium if that element is present and available to the 
plant in the soil in which it grows; (2) the fact that Byers 8 reports 
that analyses of Bridger and Wasatch shales from Uinta County, 
Wyo., reveal no toxic amount of selenium, may explain why Beath 
and co-workers 2 failed to obtain symptoms of poisoning after feed- 
ing large quantities of timber poisonvetch to sheep on a range in 
that county; (3) the symptoms caused by timber poisonvetch and 
the autopsy results are similar to those of animals poisoned by small 
doses of the sodium salt of selenious acid ; 5 (4) the increased losses 
of livestock from timber poisonvetch during seasons of insufficient 
rainfall agrees with the known fact that many of the selenium com- 
pounds are water-soluble and, therefore, would not leach out of the 
surface soil, as might reasonably be expected, during periods of 
normal or sufficient rainfall. 

To sum up : Timber poisonvetch is a peculiar and important range 
plant, of value for forage under certain conditions and, under cer- 
tain other (as yet undetermined) conditions, virulently poisonous. 
Further study of its occurrence, plant associates, arid the conditions 
under which it is poisonous to livestock is essential. 

5 Beath, O. A., Draize, J. H. Eppson, H. F., Gilbert, C. S., and McCreary, O. C. CERTAIN 


RESPECT TO SOIL TYPES. Jour. Amer. Pharm. Assoc. 23(2) : 94-97. 1934. 

SULPHUR. Jour. Agr. Research [U. S] 49(4)^343-357, illus. 1934. 

BY PLANTS. Jour. Agr. Research [U. S.] 50(5) : 413-427, illus. 1935. 

A DISCUSSION OF RELATED TOPICS. U. S. Dept. Agr. Tech. Bull. 482, 48 pp., illus. 1935. 


Astra'galus mollis'simus 

(2 leaves) 

Flowers pea-like, violet or purplish, 
up to about 1 in. long, densely hairy- 
bracted, almost stalkless, numerous, in 
dense, short clusters (racemes) at ends 
of mostly leafless, hairy stalks 4 to 12 
in. long 

Leaves mostly basal, long-stalked, 
densely long-silky-hairy, parted (odd- 
pinnate) into many leaflets, all but 
end one being in pairs 

Leaflets flat, egg-shaped or reverse- 
egg-shaped to oblong, up to nearly 1 
in. long, densely covered with yellowish, 
silky hairs; lower leaflets larger than 

Stemsr-short (less than 4 in. long), 
densely covered with yellowish, silky 

Petals 5, dissimilar; upper petal (ban- 
ner) almost oval, turned nearly straight 
up near tip, with bent-back edges; 
side 2 petals (wings) broadly linear, 
almost as long as banner; lower 2 
united petals (keel) boatlike, very 
blunt-tipped, shorter than other petals 

Stamens 10, in 2 groups of 9 and 1 
9 of them united by their stalks 

Pod (legume) narrowly oblong, nearly 
erect, up to about 1 in. long, somewhat 
curved, often sharp-pointed at tip, 
more deeply grooved on. upper than on 
lower surface, velvety-hairy when 
young, smooth in age, 2-celled except 
near tip 

Taproot perennial, \vith thickened, 
woody, often branched root crown 

Woolly loco, sometimes called purple, stemmed, Texas, and true loco, 
is a low, tufted, perennial herb poisonous to livestock. The common 
name woolly is very appropriate because the plant is densely covered 
with long, close (appressed), yellowish hairs. Loco is a Spanish 
word, meaning foolish or crazy, and refers to the extraordinary 
effects which these plants produce on the animals that consume them. 
The word was first applied by the Spaniards and Mexicans to a dis- 

ease common among the horses, cattle, and sheep of the Southwest. 
The term "loco", as a definite common plant name, appears to have 
been first applied to Astragalus mollwsiinus in western Texas, where 
that plant was suspected of causing the disease known as locoism in 
livestock, inducing craziness or stupefaction. Subsequently, a large 
number of plants, chiefly of the genera Astragalus and Oxytropis, 
have, at one time or another, been called loco, because of their poison- 
ous effects on domestic animals. Although the early Spaniards 
seemingly recognized the disease and symptoms, they were evidently 
unfamiliar with the fact that the disease was caused by woolly loco, 
because they named Astragalus nwllissimus garbanzilla from its re- 
semblance to the chickpea, Spanish "garbano" (Cicer arietinum), 
which is used in Spain as iood. The application of the term "loco" 
to Astragalus mottissimus is no doubt relatively recent. 

The fact that woolly loco is poisonous has made the plant the 
subject of considerable scientific study; consequently, its range is 
known with noteworthy precision. It extends throughout the 
southern plains region, being confined to the southwestern portion 
of South Dakota, extreme southeastern Wyoming, the western half of 
Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma, eastern Colorado, eastern Arizona, 
New Mexico, northern Texas, and south into Mexico. The species 
is most abundant in New Mexico and the Panhandle region of Texas. 

Woolly loco typically grows on the breezy, sun-drenched slopes of 
the plains and prairies at elevations of from 4,000 to 6,000 feet above 
sea level, occurring usually in small scattered patches, but occasion- 
ally forming a moderate cover several acres in extent. It prefers 
the heavy, clayey soils of the depressions and grows commonly on 
heavy, sandy, or gravelly soils of the lower slopes, but seldom ap- 
pears on ridges or elevated sites. Under favorable conditions, it 
frequently attains a height of 1 to 2 feet, and a spread of 2 feet. 

Woolly loco is relatively unpalatable to all classes of livestock. 
Under ordinary conditions, cattle will not eat the plant except in 
dire hunger and neither horses nor sheep will partake readily of the 
foliage except when forced to do so by the scarcity of better and 
more succulent forage. However, Marsh et al. 1 state : 

It has been demonstrated that the so-called loco disease of the Plains is not 
simply a matter of starvation, as many have supposed, though it is also clear 
that when other feed is abundant very few horses will eat loco. 

If animals once begin to eat woolly loco, they are likely to form a 
habit similar to the drug habit, or narcotic craving in man, and 
when they become accustomed to graze the plant, they often consume 
great quantities with special avidity. Frequently, all livestock, but 
particularly horses, develop such a strong appetite for the herbage, 
that they cannot be induced to feed upon any other forage as long 
as woolly loco is available. Animals which continually consume this 
poisonous pest usually become locoed and finally die. 

Woolly loco is one of the first range plants to become green in the 
spring. During the early growing season, the species is especially 
dangerous and constitutes a serious menace, because very little other 
succulent forage is then available. Throughout the late spring and 

1 Marsh, C. D., Clawson, A. B., and Eggleston, W. W. THE LOCO-WEED DISEASE. TJ. S. 
Dept. Agr. Farmers' Bull. 1054, rev., 26 pp., illus. 1929. 

(leaf 2) 

summer, the poisoning hazard is lessened since succulent grasses and 
other forage are more likely to be present. This plant remains green 
through the late fall and winter when it again is readily eaten, 
especially by horses. 

Livestock losses are largely confined to horses on ranges where 
woolly loco is the only poisonous plant. However, occasional cattle 
and sheep losses are attributed to this pest. Losses are much less 
among animals native to the range than they are among newcomers to 
the range. Generally, the finer breeds of horses and cattle are much 
more susceptible to loco than the usual range breeds, grades, cross- 
breeds, or scrubs. This is true also of sheep, since losses are more 
likely to occur among such breeds as Hampshires and Southdowns 
than with Rambouillets and Merinos. 2 

Losses of horses have been especially heavy in Texas and Arizona, 
while the major cattle fatalities have occurred in Colorado. A 
peculiar feature about loco poisoning is that death usually does not 
occur immediately from a single feeding, but comes only after con- 
tinued and comparatively heavy use of the plant. However, this 
species frequently exerts a more pronounced effect on horses than 
any other loco, so that heavy losses sometimes occur in a short time. 
In many cases, several weeks or months may elapse before the animal 
is observed to be affected. Initial symptoms of poisoning include 
in horses a general depression; the animal becomes dull and in- 
clined to laziness, loses weight, and often looks poor and scrawny. 
As the disease develops, the symptoms become more evident, The 
animal is generally weak, walks with an irregular gait, drags its 
feet, particularly the hind ones, and exhibits an apparent lack of 
muscular control and coordination. The optical nerves are evidently 
affected, because the animal usually mistakes small objects for large 
ones, often steps high over the slightest obstruction and leaps over 
small depressions, as if they were big ditches. The disease apparently 
causes near-sightedness, since a badly locoed horse often fails to 
notice any objects except those within close range. In fact, a person 
can approach within a few feet of a locoed horse without detection. 
Then, unexpectedly, the animal will rear backwards and often fall 
upon the ground. The diseased beast drinks with a chewing move- 
ment of the jaws, shies violently at imaginary objects, cannot be 
backed readily and, if started forward, will travel at the same gait 
until stopped by some obstruction. 2 During the later stages of the 
disease, the horse loses flesh and its coat becomes rough. 

Locoed cattle display symptoms very much like those of similarly 
affected horses, but the symptoms of sheep are not so marked, al- 
though the animals soon evince weakness. They fall frequently, and 
rise only with great difficulty. The animals usually die of starva- 
tion; post-mortem examinations almost invariably reveal accumula- 
tions of coagulated serum in various parts of the body. These con- 
centrations are most pronounced around the heart and along the 

z Marsh, C. D. THE LOCO-WEED DISEASE. U. S. Dept. Agr. Farmers' Bull. 380. 16 pp. 

spinal cord. The nervous system is amply supplied with blood, and 
occasionally blood clots are found on the brain. The walls of the 
stomach and intestines are often inflamed, and ulcers at the pyloric 
end of the stomach are common in horses. 1 

Woolly loco affects not only livestock but is also known to result 
in death to bees and prairie dogs. In Arizona, New Mexico, and 
Texas where this plant is abundant large losses of bees have re- 
sulted. These losses are more pronounced during dry seasons when 
sweetclover and alfalfa flowers are scant and the desert flora fur- 
nishes a large share of the nectar. In several places, losses are so 
severe that beekeepers are forced to move their apiaries from in- 
fested areas. Prairie dogs which eat the foliage of woolly loco 
become stupefied and lazy, exhibiting many symptoms of locoism. 

Detailed and exhaustive chemical analysis indicates that the plant 
contains a number of complex poisonous substances. From early 
analyses in which barium compounds were found in loco material 3 
it was concluded that loco disease was, at least occasionally, caused by 
barium or its compounds, largely because that metal produces a 
definite physiological reaction in animals similar, in some respects, 
to those caused by loco. Later investigations, 4 however, tended to 
disprove the theory that barium is responsible for the toxicity of 
loco to range livestock. The amounts of barium present in loco 
extracts barely more than traces were insufficient to cause death; 
in fact, many other plants, not poisonous to livestock, contain similar 
amounts of barium. Barium occurs in an almost insoluble form in 
dried loco plants; and extracts from these plants usually contain 
sufficient salts of calcium, potassium, and metals other than barium 
to account for death. 4 

Although no specific remedy for loco poisoning has been discov- 
ered, affected animals should be removed from the infested ranges 
and fed a nutritious ration such as alfalfa and grain. 2 All animals 
chronically locoed are usually constipated, hence food and medicine 
should be administered to relieve this condition. 1 Alfalfa and oil 
meal is a very common laxative mixture which is used frequently to 
allay distress caused by locoisrn. Marsh et al. 1 recommend that, 
where the constipation is severe, drenching with Epsom salts is 
often efficacious. Cures if effected are slow, often requiring several 
months. They state that cures among horses may be hastened if 
daily doses of arsenic in the form of Fowler's solution are adminis- 
tered, the doses being from 15 to 20 cubic centimeters (4-6 drams). 
In the case of cattle these authors 1 recommend injections of small 
doses (usually not more than three- or four-twentieths of a grain) 
of strychnine to expedite recovery. Large animals may be given 
as much as one-half a grain, the maximum dose, although, in some 
cases, that is entirely too much. As a class, locos appear to have 
long-lived seed and no method of cheap and easy eradication of them 
has thus far been developed. Continuous grubbing, especially in 
horse pastures, tends to reduce the stand and thus allay danger. 

3 Crawford, A. C. BARIUM, A CAUSE OF THE LOCO-WEED DISEASE. U. S. Dent. Agr., Bur. 
Plant Indus. Bull. 129, 87 pp., illus. 1908. 

4 Marsh, C. D., Alsberg, C. L., and Black, O. F. THE RELATION OF BARIUM TO THE LOCO- 
WEED DISEASE. U. S. Dept. Agr., Bur. Plant Indus. Bull. 24G, 67 pp., Illus. 1912. 



Balsamorhi'za hoo'keri, syn. B. balsamorhi' za * 

Flower heads sunflowerlike, solitary 
at ends of usually leafless flower 

Outside (ray) flowers of head yellow, 
conspicuous, female (pistillate), seed- 

Bracts in a series (involucre) around 
base of flower head, leaflike in texture, 
lance-shaped to lance-egg-shaped, over- 
Japping, usually in about 3 rows 

Center (disk) flowers of head num- 
erous, small, golden yellow, perfect, 
seed-producing, each accompanied by a 
lance-shaped, chaffy bract 

"Seeds" (achenes) hairless, angled, 
thickened, without bristles or scales 

Leaves mostlv basal, lance-shaped to 
oblong in outline, green, soft, silky- 
hairy, deeply cut to the midrib; lobes 
often variously cleft or divided 

Taproot much thickened, with a bal- 
samlike resin 

\Balsamorhiza balsamorhiza (Hook.) Heller is the oldest combination under Balsamo- 
otdest name 11 ! ^hookeri jif'tt* 5 & dupllcating Din <> mi al. is now rejected for the next 

Hooker balsamroot, also known as cutleaf balsamroot and cutleaf 
sunflower, was named in honor of Dr. William J. Hooker (1785- 
1865), the very distinguished British botanist who first described 
this plant as well as the genus Balsarrwrhiza itself. Hooker balsam- 
root ranges from California and Nevada- to Washington and Idaho. 
It grows on dry open flats and hillsides, rocky scabland areas, and 
gravelly banks within the sagebrush, juniper, and ponderosa pine 
belts up to elevations of about 5.500 feet. 

As a forage plant, Hooker balsamroot is of relatively minor impor- 
tance but is worthy of mention as being more or less typical of the 
four or five species of cleft-leaved balsamroots. Its distribution is 
not uniform, and usually the stand is sparse. Sometimes these plants 
are conspicuous in small isolated patches on hard-packed clay flats 
and on overgrazed or depleted areas. They are among the first plants 
to produce leaves and flowers in the spring and are probably of some 
value on the spring ranges, where they have been reported as being 
from worthless to good in palatability for all classes of livestock. 
Cattle, horses, and sheep usually graze the leafage lightly and often 
eat the flowers. Usually the plants become dry and worthless by 

Both the generic name Balsamorhiza (~balsainon= balsam; rkiza= 
root) and the common name balsamroot refer to the thickened, 
resinous taproots common to all the western species. These roots 
have a thin corky bark and a fibrous yellowish center, and were 
once used by the Indians for food. The blades of the leaves are 
roughly arrowhead-shaped but are cleft to the midrib into numerous 
shaggy segments. The dull-green to silvery-gray leaves are covered 
with short hairs, are 6 to 12 inches long, and somewhat suggest those 
of the common dandelion in habit of growth. They are all basal and 
grow in the form of a flattened rosette or sometimes in a more erect 
tuft. The flower stalks, sometimes over a foot tall, are usually leaf- 
less, and each one bears a single sunflow^erlike blossom. These flower 
heads are iy 2 to 2^ inches across and consist of yellow ray flowers 
and a deep golden-colored disk made up of numerous small flowers 
grouped upon a common, chaffy, slightly convex, or flattened base. 
The involucre, a series of elongated, pointed, leafy bracts, under- 
neath the flower head, varies from slightly hairy to white woolly. 

CUTLEAF BALSAMROOT (Balsamorhi'za macrophyl'la) 

Cutleaf balsamroot, known also as cleft-leaf balsamroot, a rank 
growing species, is the largest plant of this genus. Its stalked (petio- 
late) leaves, which grow in clumps to a height of 2 feet or more, are 
large, as the specific name macrophylla ( macro long; phylla 
leaves) intimates, rich green in color, and slashed to the midrib into 
many lobes with hairy edges. The yellow blossoms are large and 
showy. This plant grows in scattered stands from Nevada and Utah 
through Wyoming to Montana, in the sagebrush, oakbrush, and pon- 
derosa pine belts, and even in the aspen belt. The leaves and flowers 
are eaten by all classes of livestock with fair to moderate relish. 



Balsamorhi'za sagitta'ta 

Flower heads sunfiowcrlike, mostly 
solitary at ends of stems 

Outside (ray) flowers of head yellow, 
showy, petal-like, up to 2 in. long, about 
% in. wide, female, seed-producing 

Center (disk) flowers of head numer- 
ous, small, deep yellow, perfect, seed- 

angled, smooth, 

(achenes) thickened, 4- 
looth, hairless, without 
I bristles or scales 

Bracts in a series (involucre) around 
base of flower head, lance-shaped to 
linear-lance-shaped, about % in. long, 
overlapping in several rows, outer ones 
often longer and more densely white- 
woolly than inner ones 

Leaves mostly in a basal clump; basal 
leaves large, 4 to 12 in. long, 2 to 6 in. 
wide at base, arrowhead-shaped (sagit- 
tate) or triangular-heart-shaped, white- 
woolly, especially beneath, entire or 
nearly so, long-stalked; stem leaves 
few, small, narrow 

Stems several, erect or ascending, up 
to 2 ft. high, woolly-haired 

Taproot-^-deep-set, thickened, with bal- 
sam-bearing bark, edible core; turpen- 
tinelike odor, crowned by numerous 
dark leafs.talks of former years 

Arrowleaf balsamroot, a tufted perennial of the sunflower family, 
gets both its English and scientific name from its thick, resinous 
(balsamlike) roots (rliiza, root) and its arrowhead-shaped (sagit- 
tate) leaves. It is also known simply as balsamroot and is locally 
called sunflower, graydock, and breadroot. This plant is by far the 
most important, abundant, and widespread of about eleven species 
of Balsamorhiza which occur in the Western States. 

Arrowleaf balsamroot is found from the Sierras of California 
northward, along the east side of the Cascade Mountains into British 
Columbia and eastward to Saskatchewan, South Dakota, and Colo- 
rado. It extends from the plains and valleys to elevations of about 
9,000 feet, being common and abundant throughout most of its range. 
On many extensive foothill and low mountain ranges it is one of 
the dominant weed species, sometimes growing in almost pure stands 
and commonly making up a large, portion of the plant cover. It 
grows on well-drained soils and open, fairly dry situations such as 
southerly exposures, open ridges, and parks throughout the sage- 
brush, oakbrush, and ponderosa pine types and also occurs on open, 
sunny slopes in the Douglas fir and aspen belts. 

Arrowleaf balsamroot begins growth and produces its flowers 
early in the season. On ranges where the plant is common, it is 
useful as a familiar and reliable indicator of range readiness. Gen- 
erally the range is ready for grazing when the majority of the 
plants are in full flower. Arrowleaf balsamroot is an important 
forage plant, especially valuable on the spring ranges. This plant 
is usually of fair palatability for all classes of livestock. In some 
localities both cattle and sheep graze it closely even where other 
palatable forage is abundant. The flowers are especially palatable 
but all portions of the plant except the coarser stalks are eaten. 
Horses like this weed and are especially fond of the flowers. The 
plants are eaten throughout the grazing season but are usually much 
more palatable during the spring and early summer than later when 
they become tough and dry. Deer and elk eat freely of the green 
leafage. It may well be that they also crop the heads ; observations 
on this point are needed. 

Ordinarily the seed of arrowleaf balsamroot ripens and the leaves 
dry up during midsummer, but on moist sites and at the higher ele- 
vations this does not occur until late summer. The dry leafage is 
eaten lightly by horses, cattle, sheep, and by foraging game animals, 
especially in the fall when moistened by the early rains and snows. 

Reproduction is accomplished entirely by seed which is normally 
produced in fairly large quantities. This weed is not very aggres- 
sive in reproducing itself on grazed ranges, probably because the 
seeds are low in viability and the grazing of the flowers by livestock 
materially reduces the chances for production of a satisfactory seed 
crop. In some localities the seed crop is periodically destroyed by 
insects. The strong, deep, perennial root system enables arrowleaf 
balsamroot to withstand heavy trampling and close grazing fairly 
well. Under proper range management it should maintain and 
increase itself satisfactorily. The root often becomes several inches 
in diameter and reaches depths of several to many feet. 



Bistor'ta bistortoi'des, syn. Poly'gonum bistortoi'des 

Stamens 8, protruding 

Outer flower parts (sepals) 5, 
petal-like, joined near base, 
petals lacking 

Bract thin, brownish, at base 
of flower, numerous in the flower 

" Seed " (achene) triangular, 
tipped by 3-parted, threadlike 
stalk (style) 

Stem smooth, slender 

Stem leaves small, stalkless, 
with rather open, oblique, cylin- 
drical, membranous sheaths at 

Flowers white to rose-colored, 
in dense, terminal, spikelike 
clusters % to 2^ in. long, the 
individual flowers with brown- 
ish bracts 

Basal leaves large, long- 
stalked, usually smooth, up to 
10 in. long, lance-shaped, ob- 
long, or linear-oblong 

Rootstock underground, 
woody, twisted, horizontal, 
often tuberous 

Roots fibrous 

Bistort, also called American bistort, knotweed, and (though inap- 
propriately) alpine smartweed, is a perennial herb of the buckwheat 
family, and attains a height of about 10 to 28 inches. It is widely 
distributed, ranging from Montana to British Columbia and Alaska, 
and southward to California and New Mexico. It grows in the 
mountains in wet meadow's, swamps, around seeps, in moist open- 
ings in the timber and in high, moist mountain parks. It is most 
typically a plant of subalpine sites (Hudsonian Zone) but it also 
occurs in meadows at lower elevations, extending down into the 
ponderosa pine (Transition Zone). In many localities it grows only 
as scattered individuals and does not make up any appreciable part 
of the plant coyer whereas in some restricted meadow and park 
areas it occurs in great abundance, occasionally being one of the 
dominant plants. 

Bistort is eaten by both cattle and sheep along with the grasses 
and weeds found in its habitat. The palatability varies in different 
localities; in some places it is regarded as being worthless as forage 
while in others it is eaten readily, especially by sheep. On the 
average, this plant is considered to be low to fair for cattle and fair 
\o fairly good for sheep. Deer and elk eat the foliage and stems 
to a slight extent. 



Calochor'tus nuttal'lii 

Flowers showy, white tinged with 
lilac, blue or purple, tulip-shaped, 
solitary or in end cluster (umbel) of 
2 to 5 

Stamens 6, with pollen sacs (anthers) 
blunt, oblong and longer than stalks 

Petals 3, blunt-tipped, reverse-egg- 
shaped, wedge-shaped below, with cres- 
cent-shaped purple spot above the 
gland; gland deeply impressed, 
rounded, yellow, not broader than 
long, often surrounded by sparse, 
yellowish hairs 

Seed pods (capsules) up to 2 in. 
long, not winged, 3-angled, tapering 
from middle to tip, 3-celled, splitting 
down along edges of each cell 

Outer flower parts (sepals) 3, egg- 
lance-shaped, usually sharp-pointed, 
about % as long as petals, papery-mar- 
gined, often with 1 or 2 purple spots 
near base 

Leaves onionlike, linear, fleshy, at 
first covered with a bluish, waxy bloom; 
basal leaves usually 1 (sometimes 2 or 
3) ; stem leaves I or 2, alternate, deeply 
grooved, usually curving outwards 

Stem slender, erect, usually up to 
about 17 in. high, simple, swollen and 
bulblike near base 

"Bulb" (conn) solid, membranous- 
coated, underground, perennial 

Roots fibrous 

I ith. A. Hoen & Co. 

Sego-lily, sometimes erroneously spelled sago-lily, is a perennial herb of the 
lily family. The Latin specific name commemorates Thomas Nuttall, the orig- 
inal discoverer of the plant, who accompanied the Wyeth expedition to the 
Pacific coast in 1834. The common name sego-lily was adopted from the 
Indian name for the plant. It ranges from Montana to Oregon, California, 
and New Mexico. Sego-lily is one of the most conspicuous and beautiful 
early-blooming flowers of the semidesert and is unusually abundant in Utah, 
where it often occurs in large, fairly dense stands. This charming and useful 
plant has been dignified by legislative choice as the State flower of Utah. Sego- 
lily thrives on rather dry, sandy soils on the open sagebrush foothills and 
valleys, as well as in open ponderosa pine stands at moderate elevations. 

On most ranges, sego-lily is of relatively little importance for forage, as it 
consists chiefly of flower stalks with but few leaves, which dry up quickly. 
Ordinarily, it ranks from poor to fair in palatability for both sheep and cattle, 
and is worthless for horses. In some localities, however, it rates as good in 
palatability for sheep. 

The bulblike roots of sego-lily were deemed a great delicacy by the western 
Indians. This species figured prominently in the history of the Mormon 
Church. 1 When Brigham Young and his little band of followers emigrated 
into Salt Lake Valley in 1847, food was very scarce. It is reported that when 
the Mormon pioneers in Utah faced famine conditions in 1848-49 due to the 
inroads of crickets, drought, and frost on their grain fields, the sego-lily was 
an outstanding means of tiding them over. 2 

Before the flowers appear, the leaves of sego-lily are often confused with 
those of deathcamas (Zygadenus spp.), but may be readily distinguished by 
the rounded troughlike cross section of their U-shaped leaves, as opposed to 
the sharply V-shaped leaf of deathcamas. 

MARIPOSAS (Calochor'tusspp.) 

Mariposas, often called mariposa-lilies and mariposa-tulips, are perennials 
and rank among the most attractive flowers of the lily family (Liliaceae). 
This genus may be looked upon as the representative in the Western Hemi- 
sphere of the closely related tulips (Tulipa). The species of Calochortux are 
not native to the eastern United States, ranging only from Nebraska west to 
the Pacific, north into Canada, and south to Mexico. There are about 40 to 50 
species of mariposa in the West, being particularly abundant in California and 
Oregon; they occur from the dry, open prairies and foothills up to the higher, 
moist, and shady alpine woods and meadows. 

These plants dry up shortly after blossoming. However, early in the season, 
when fresh and succulent, their forage is of good palatability for sheep and 
fair for cattle. Horses, however, as a rule, eat these plants only through acci- 
dent or necessity. Other species of mariposas besides sego-lily were used for 
food by the Indians and early settlers, although not so extensively. The bulb- 
ous roots of mariposas are eaten by pocket gophers and other rodents, which 
gather and store them for winter use. 

Credit is due David Douglas, the eminent Scotch botanical explorer, as 
pioneer popularizer of the mariposas, especially for ornamental gardening. He 
discovered several species and introduced them into England. The mariposas 
are usually divided into three groups: (1) The typical mariposas with large, 
bowl-like or tulip-shaped flowers; (2) the star mariposas with wide, open, 
smaller flowers; and (3) the globe mariposas with nodding, globular flowers. 

Mariposas usually have branched, more or less leafy stems with husk-coated, 
bulblike roots with a few, basal, narrow, somewhat grasslike leaves. The usu- 
ally several, showy flowers are borne at the top of the flower stalks and are 
white, yellow-lilac, or bluish colored, or often a mixture of several of these 
colors, with a gland at the base of each petal. In some of the smaller species, 
the petals are quite hairy on the inside and are commonly and appropriately 
called cats-ears. 

1 Saunders, C. F. WESTERN WILD FLOWERS AND THEIR STORIES. 320 pp., illus. Garden 
City. N. Y. 1933. 

- Bennion, D. EVER EAT SEGO LILY ROOTS? The Deseret News, sec. 3, pt. V. (Mar. 23) 



Ca'rum gaird'neri, syn. Ate'nia gaird'neri 

Flowers white, very small, in com- 
pound umbrella-shaped clusters (um- 
bels); umbels with 6 to 12 branches 
(rays) 1 to IK in- long 

"Seeds" (mericarps) paired, separat- 
ing when ripe, small, broadly egg- 
shaped or nearly round, hairless, with 
equal, threadlike ribs, crowned by 5 
prominent projections (calyx teeth), 
and a low, cone-shaped knob (stylopo- 

Leaves few, alternate, divided into 
narrow segments (leaflets), or the upper 
ones simple; bases somewhat sheathing 

Leaflets 3 to 7 (sometimes more), nar- 
row, grasslike or sometimes threadlike, 
up to 4 in. long 

Stem solitary, hollow, jointed, slen- 
der, erect, up to 4 ft. tall, smooth 

Root thickened, tuberous; "tubers" 
spindle-shaped, 1 to 3 in. long and % to 
% in. thick, solitary or in a close cluster 
of 2 or 3 (sometimes more) 

Yampa, a smooth, slender, erect perennial plant of the carrot or parsnip 
family (Umbelliferae), is also known as squawroot, wildcaraway, breaclroot, 
Queen-Annes-lace, and Indian-potato. It is the best known of the several 
closely related species of Carum native to the West and is a sister species 
of the Old World caraway (C. carvi) which produces the caraway seed of 
commerce, sometimes observed on western range lands as an occasional (and 
probably short-lived) escape from cultivation. Yampa is an Indian name 
and was used in naming the Yampa River and the town of Yampa in Colo- 
rado. The name, Carum, is commonly held to be derived from Caria, an 
ancient country of western Asia Minor. The Carians were a seafaring people 
and perhaps introduced caraway into commerce. The species name, guirdneri, 
commemorates Dr. Meredith Gairdner, a surgeon of the Hudson Bay Co. who 
collected plants around Fort Vancouver, Wash., prior to 1840. 

This weed is widely distributed throughout the western States, occurring 
from British Columbia and Washington south to California and eastward to 
New Mexico, Colorado, and the Black Hills of South Dakota. It grows on 
moderately moist soils in open, weedy parks within stands of aspen, ponderosa 
pine, and Douglas fir, in moist meadows, and in drier, more open situations 
within the sagebrush and wheatgrass types. It is found in the company of 
such plants as geranium, Idaho fescue, low larkspur, lupine, mules-ears, 
sedges, and yarrow. The elevations at which this plant is found vary from 
slightly above sea level along the Columbia River to about 9,000 feet in Montana 
and perhaps higher toward the southern limits of its range. 

Yampa is not usually abundant on the range but occasionally occurs in small 
rather thick stands, and in some moist moxintain meadows becomes very abun- 
dant. It is widely distributed, fair to high in palatability and furnishes an 
appreciable amount of feed on many western ranges. Because of the sparse- 
ness of the leafage, the individual plant does not produce very much forage. 
The forage which is produced, however, is of good quality. Both cattle and 
sheep readily eat the flowers, seeds, leaves, and sometimes a large portion of 
the stems. Yampa reproduces from seed as well as from tubers which break 
away from the parent plants to form new individuals. 

From the standpoint of Indian lore, yampa is an extremely interesting plant. 
The tubers have a sweet, nutty, creamlike flavor and were formerly eaten ex- 
tensively by the Indians, but now are little used. Piper 1 recognized yampa as 
the best food plant of the Northwestern Indians. Although the Klamath In- 
dians originally called the plant kash, contemporary members of the tribe and 
white men know it as ipo, sometimes pronounced epa, apo, or apaui Klamath 
Indians say that the word ipo comes from the south and was the Shasta's tribal 
name for the plant. However, it is probably not of Shastan origin, but a cor- 
ruption of the Spanish-Californian apio, meaning celery (Apium sp.), which 
members of the caraway genus somewhat resemble in appearance and flavor. 
The plant is valued by the Snake, Gosiute, and Ute tribes also, and is known 
to them as yampa. Sacajawea, the famous woman guide, counselor and in- 
terpreter for Lewis and Clark, appears to have been the first person to introduce 
this plant to the whites under that name. This Indian woman is said to have 
been exceptionally well versed in the uses of wild foods. 2 Capt. John C. Fre- 
mont ate the yampa as a vegetable with wild duck, and declared it to be 
the finest of all Indian roots. The roots were cleaned by placing them in 
baskets in running water where squaws trod them with bare feet to remove 
the dark outer skin and make them smooth and clean. They were then boiled 
or prepared as the Indians cooked other vegetables. 2 The roots were also 
eaten raw, ground into flour and made into bread, or used with other roots and 
seeds to make a meal or gruel. The seeds have an aromatic caraway flavor 
and were used to season other foods. 

Yampa roots are fleshy and tuberous, growing up to 3 inches long and 
three-fourths of an inch thick, and resemble tiny sweetpotatoes. They grow at 
the base of the stem singly, in pairs or in groups of three or more. The stems 
are solitary, smooth, slender and sometimes branched, one-eighth to one-fourth 
of an inch in diameter and 1 to 4 feet in height. 

1 Piper, C. V. FLORA OF THE STATE OP WASHINGTON. U. S. Natl. Mus., Contrib. U. S. 
Natl. Herbarium 11, 637 pp., illus. 1906. 

Mag. 14 : 171-172, illus. 1929. 



Castille'ja linariaefo'lia, syn. C. af finis linariaefo'lia 

Flowers in bracted, terminal clusters 

Bracts of the flower cluster somewhat 
petal-like, crimson, scarlet, or rose, X to 
2 in. long, 3- to 5-lobed, usually long-hairy 

United petals (corolla) greenish yel- 
low, tinged with scarlet, K to 2 in. 
long, strongly 2-lipped, the upper lip 
(galea) about as long as the tube 

Outer united flower parts (calyx) 
about % to 1% in. long, mostly red or 
crimson, narrowly cylindrical, 4-lobed, cut 
much more deeply in front than behind 

Seed pod (capsule) 2-celled, splitting 
down the middle of the back of each 
cell; seeds numerous, net-veined 

Leaves alternate, 2 to 4 in. long, nar- 
rowly linear, entire or divided into 
linear lobes, dark green, hairless to 
somewhat woolly-hairy 

Stems erect, tufted, up to 5 ft. high, 
nearly hairless to densely hairy 

'Roots fibrous, perennial, partly para- 
sitic on the roots of other plants 


Wyoming paintbrush, a tufted perennial with red, rose, or crimson flower 
clusters and narrow leaves, was selected in 1917 by the Wyoming Legislature 
as the State flower of that Commonwealth. This species is known most 
commonly as Indian paintbrush or narrowleaf paintbrush; the former name 
is untenable, as it is the accepted common name for C. coccinea, an eastern 
species which does not occur in Wyoming. Narrowleaf paintbrush is not a 
distinctive name in a genus of typically narrow-leaved species. Furthermore, 
it is not a literal translation of the specific name linariaefolia, which, alludes 
to the resemblance of the leaves to those of the common bastard toadflax, 
or butter-and-eggs (Linaria). Since the species has been selected as the State 
flower of Wyoming it seems eminently fitting that it be christened with the 
English name Wyoming paintbrush. 

Lith. A. Hoen & Co. 

This species is widely distributed, ranging from British Columbia to Wyo- 
ming, New Mexico, and California, and south into Mexico. It is one of the 
more common species of Castilleja, although generally not abundant. It occurs 
chiefly on dry or moderately dry soils, and often in rocky places, mostly in 
sagebrush, aspen, and open-pine types. 

Wyoming paintbrush is one of the more palatable species of Castilleja but 
its value varies in different localities. It rates as fairly good cattle forage 
and good sheep forage in Colorado and Wyoming ; poor for cattle and fair for 
sheep over the remainder of the range country except the Southwest where, 
in general, it is practically worthless for cattle and poor for sheep. How- 
ever, in certain sections of the Southwest, especially on the Kaibab Forest in 
northern Arizona, it is rated as fair cattle forage and good sheep forage and 
also as good deer forage. 

Wyoming paintbrush is variable, the bracts of the flower clusters being red, 
rose, or crimson, usually three-lobed and three-nerved. The corolla is greenish 
yellow tinged with scarlet, and is very unequally two-lipped, the upper lobe, 
or galea being prolonged and enclosing the four stamens which are arranged 
in two pairs of unequal length. The two pollen sacs (anthers) of each stamen 
are unequal, the outer one attached to its stalk (filament) by its middle, the 
other hanging from its attached upper end. The dark green leaves are narrow 
and entire or dissected into narrow lobes and vary from nearly hairless to 
somewhat woolly-hairy. The stems are usually tufted and either branched or 


Castilleja is a member of the figwort family (Scrophulariaceae). Many 
genera of this family include species with striking flowers ; the widely culti- 
vated snapdragons (Antirrhinum spp.) probably being the most familiar. The 
paintbrushes compose a fairly large, chiefly western North American genus of 
about 50 species of annual or perennial herbs, most of which are partially 
parasitic on the roots of other plants. The genus was named in 1781 by Dr. 
Jose Celestino Mutis (1732-1808), an eminent Spanish-Colombian physician 
and botanist, who came to America in 1760 and founded the botanical garden 
at Bogota, where he died. Mutis collected the type species of Castilleja, in 
New Granada (now Colombia), naming the genus in honor of his now rather 
obscure botanical contemporary, Domingo Castillejo, of Cadiz. Many botanists 
prefer to spell the generic name Castilleia, that form being more in accord 
with classic Latin traditions. Species of Castilleja, especially the reddish hued 
ones, are generally known as paintbrush or Indian paintbrush in the West, 
although the preferred book name seems to be painted-cup. The paintbrushes 
and painted-cups, although common, are never particularly abundant, always 
grow in association with other species, and compose but a small part of the 
plant cover. They occur from the lower elevations to above timberline in a 
wide variety of vegetative types. 

This genus varies considerably in palatability. Some species are practically 
worthless as forage plants and are not grazed by either domestic livestock or 
game animals. Other species are fairly good cattle forage and good forage for 
sheep, deer, and elk, at least in certain regions. Insufficient information is 
available regarding the palatability of the individual species of this genus and, 
accordingly, direct observation will be necessary to determine the actual value 
of the plants in any given locality. In general, however, the castillejas are not 
abundant and are of secondary importance as range plants. 

Paintbrushes and painted-cups are distinctive in that the flowers appear in 
terminal leafy spikes, being borne in the axils of usually large, brightly colored 
bracts, which are generally more conspicuous and showy than the flowers. In 
this particular, the paintbrushes resemble the closely related owlclover genus, 
Orthocarpus. The bracts are entire or 4- to 5-cleft, and are colored various 
shades of yellow, pink, red, or purple, or are green with the tips and margins 
of those colors. The outer flower parts (sepals) are united to form a narrowly 
cylindrical calyx, which is usually of the same color as the bracts in that 
particular species. The corollas are strongly 2-lipped with the upper lip much 
prolonged, enclosing the 4 stamens. The leaves are alternate, stalkless, entire 
or toothed, or divided into narrow lobes. The stems are usually somewhat 
tufted and either branched or unbranched. 


Chamaene'rion angustifo'lium, syns. Epilo'bium angustifo'lium, E. spica'tum 

Leaves -up to 8 in. long, narrowly 
lance-shaped, alternate, stalkless or 
nearly so, green above, pale and veiny 
beneath, the edges entire; veins united 
near margin of leur to form network 

Stems erect, up to 9 ft. high 

Petals 4, purple or rose-colored, large 
(up to '4 in. long), broadly reverse-egg- 

Outer flower parts (sepals) 4, often 
pink or purplish, somewhat hairy, 
united below into a very short tube, at- 
tached to top of seed-producing organ 
(inferior ovary) 

Stamens 8, purple, 4 alternate ones 
longer than the other 4 



organ (stigma) 4- 

Flower clusters elongated, each flower 
stalked and with a small slender bract; 
buds drooping but (lowers and fruit 

Seed pods (capsules) up to 3 in. long, 
stalked, very narrow, 4-sided, 4-celled, 
splitting by 4 valves 

Seeds numerous, small, each with a 
tuft of fine, silky, white hairs 

Rootstock extensive, underground, 
with buds wliich give rise to new steins 

Fireweed, a perennial herb of the evening-primrose family, ordi- 
narily attains a height of from 2 to 6 feet, averaging about 3 or 3~y 2 
feet, although under the most favorable conditions, and in humid 
climates, it may grow as tall as 9 feet. Its common name, fireweed, 
is most appropriate, since the plant flourishes in especial abundance 
on newly burned-off forest lands. The name blooming sally is also 
often applied, especially when it is grown as an ornamental. In 
common with species of the closely related genus Epilobium (in 
which, in fact, many botanists place it) it is also called willowherb 
and willowweed, inasmuch as the leaves and the masses of small 
silky-haired seeds are suggestive of the foliage and cottony seeds, 
respectively, of willows. The growth of fireweed is not restricted 
to burns; it also occurs in openings in timbered and wooded areas, 
around cultivated fields, and along streams, roadsides, and irrigation 

Fireweed has an enormous distribution. It extends across the 
North American continent from Labrador to Alaska and south into 
California, New 7 Mexico, and North Carolina. It also grows in 
Europe and Asia. Its altitudinal range is likewise great, extending 
from near sea level in the East and in Alaska and the Northwest 
to an elevation of 11,000 feet in the Rocky Mountains. It is mod- 
erately drought-resistant and may grow on relatively dry sites as 
well as in moist situations, and on coarse gravelly soils as well as 
in deep loam. 

Fireweed is undoubtedly one of the most important range forage 
weeds, and is the most valuable member of the evening-primrose 
family from the range standpoint. Its palatability varies from fair 
to good or occasionally, especially in Utah and parts of Idaho, very 
good for sheep, and from worthless to fair, averaging poor, for 
cattle. It is grazed to some extent by horses, deer, and elk. All 
portions of the plant are eaten when young, but as the season ad- 
vances the stems become woody and tough, and only the flowers and 
leaves are grazed. Growth begins early in the season and, since the 
plants do not mature until late, palatable forage is usually produced 
throughout the summer grazing season. 

From his studies in the Northwest, the late Douglas C. Ingram x 
concluded : 

When other feed is available, fireweed is readily eaten at any stage of its 
growth, although 4 years' experience on the Columbia National Forest indi- 
cates that its most palatable stage is at full bloom. When it is the principal 
feed, sheep become restless and unmanageable, craving a change in diet. 

An interesting point in connection with the grazing of this plant is the 
effect of early grazing in apparently stimulating the plant to put forth growth 
of palatable sprouts which form a supply for fall use. Although there is no 
definite proof for the belief, it may be that the early grazing stimulates the 
development of the latent rootstock buds which under ordinary conditions 
might not develop until the following year. The ultimate effect is a lowering 
of vitality and hastening of the life processes, resulting in smaller stems and 
a lower height growth the ensuing year, and finally in a shorter life cycle. 

Since this plant is one of those which materially increase the inflammability 
of cut-over lands, the effect of grazing in suppressing and eliminating it is 
of particular importance. 

Jour. Agr. Research [U. S.] 43:387-417, illus. 1931. 

(leaf 2) 

The production of flower stalks and seeds continues for an un- 
usually long period. The lower flowers appear early in the summer 
and are the first to unfold ; as the season advances, there is a gradual 
succession in flowering toward the top of the cluster (raceme). The 
uppermost flowers are usually still in bud or in full bloom while the 
lower ones have developed mature seedpods (capsules), or even 
mature seeds, so that flowering continues in some localities for about 
3 months, from, about June to August. Fireweed produces a great 
abundance of seed which usually matures from mid-July to late 
September. When fully ripe, the long slender seedpods split into four 
divisions and liberate a great number of very small seeds, each pro- 
vided with a tuft of silky hairs which enables them to be carried far 
and wide by the wind, a light breeze being sufficient. During the 
period of greatest seed dissemination in areas where fireweed is com- 
mon, the air is filled with the light, cottony seeds, which are soon 
widely distributed. But few cut-over and burned-over areas escape 
their invasion. The seeds find ideal lodgement in new burns where 
the ashes apparently stimulate germination and growth, but their 
viability is evidently not very high, Sampson 2 having found that in 
1908 and 1909 it averaged 21.5 percent in the Blue Mountains of 
Oregon. The seeds produced early in the season were from 10 to 12 
percent higher in viability than those maturing later. 

Fireweed is quickly established and usually forms a cover within 
two seasons which overtops or even excludes other plants and shrubs. 
Notwithstanding its great seed-producing capacity, this species soon 
appears to propagate mainly from underground rootstocks which 
bud along their length and send up new stems. Ingram (op. cit.) 
found that a definite rootstock is formed the first season, during 
which time it grows 4 to 6 feet in extent, and the above-ground part 
of the plant usually becomes 2 to 3 feet tall. The new growth above 
ground and the older portion of the rootstock die each succeeding 
year. In one instance, a 4-year-old rootstock was traced for a dis- 
tance of 20 feet and about 56 undeveloped buds were counted along 
it, although the average number is probably less. 

Ingram concluded that the ability of this plant to withstand com- 
petition is probably limited because, with the advent of shrubby 
species as reforestation proceeds, conditions become too unfavorable 
for its continued growth. It subsequently declines in quantity and 
size until, after 8 to 12 years, it comprises but a minor part of the 

Fireweed is well known as a nectar-producer, and bees and other 
insects are attracted by its flowers. In the coastal regions of Oregon 
and Washington apiarists follow the logging operations, moving 
every 5 to 7 years to newer cut-over areas where fireweed is most 

U. S. Dept. Agr. Bull. 545, 63 pp., illtis. 1917. 



Chrysop'sis villo'sa, syns. C. a'rida, C. asprel'la, C. ba'keri, C. but'leri 

Flower heads short-stalked, solitary 
or few, in somewhat flat-topped clusters 
at ends of upper branches 

Bracts in a series '(involucre) -around 
base of flower head, linear, overlapping, 
usually rather densely hairy 

Stems erect, 5 to 24 in. high, 
branched, leafy, hairy with coarse, 
stiff hairs 

Leaves alternate, usually spatula- 
shaped, 1 to 2 in. long, grayish green, 
hairy with rather coarse, stiff , oppressed 
hairs, often stalked below 

Outside (ray) flowers of heads yellow, 
petal-like, seed-producing 

Inner (disk) flowers of heads small, 
yellow, tubular, numerous, perfect, 

"Seeds" (achenes) flattened, soft- 
hairy (villous), crowned by 2 rows of 
slender, yellowish bristles; outer row of 
bristles smaller and shorter than inner 

Taproot woody, perennial, with thick- 
ened, somewhat branched root crown 

Hairy golden-aster, a perennial herb of the composite, or aster, 
family (Compositae), is an abundant and highly characteristic west- 
ern species of this small North American genus. It is common on 

the dry plains and foothill ranges from Manitoba and Minnesota to 
Texas, New Mexico, California, and British Columbia. This plant 
usually occurs on dry, sandy, or rocky soils from fairly low to medium 
elevations, but is sometimes found in open, drier sites of the higher 
mountains between altitudes of about 8,000 and 12,000 feet. Hairy 
golden-aster is notably resistant to drought and intense light and 
heat. Both the common and specific names allude to the white hairs 
(some stiff, others soft) which cover the plant, vttlosa being a Latin 
adjective which means soft, shaggy, hairy. 

Because its leaves are rather harsh and the stems woody, this spe- 
cies is not particularly palatable to livestock; in fact, it usually is 
considered practically worthless, although on some of the desert 
ranges it has a fair palatability for sheep. This quite variable plant, 
which has several named forms, is used in ornamental borders. 

GOLDEN-ASTERS (Chrysop'sis spp.) 

Golden-asters compose a relatively small genus of possibly 30 or 
more species of herbaceous plants native to North America. Repre- 
sentatives of this genus occur practically throughout the United 
States and even extend into Mexico. This genus was christened 
Chrysopsis because of its yellow flowers, the name being derived from 
the Greek chrysos, golden, and opsis, aspect. The flowers resemble 
those of asters (Aster spp.), but are superficially distinguished by 
the golden tint of the outer flowers (rays) of the head, whence the 
common name, golden-aster. 

In the West, these plants thrive on dry, frequently sandy, or rocky 
sites in full sunlight, from the low plains and hills to near timberline 
in the mountains. The strong, deep taproots of golden-asters some- 
times penetrate the soil to a depth of over 8 feet 1 and facilitate 
their existence in dry places. Because of this fact, coupled with 
their ability to grow on the poorer, dry soils, they are locally valu- 
able as soil binders. Although frequently abundant, these species 
never occur in pure stands. On some of the poor semidesert areas 
of the West, these plants are fair forage for sheep but, under more 
normal range conditions, are usually classed as worthless for all 
classes of livestock. 

The western golden-asters are perennials (occasionally biennials or 
annuals) with a persistent, woody base. As a rule, both stems and 
leaves are conspicuously hairy or woolly, varying from soft-silky 
to stiff-bristly or sometimes both soft and stiff hairs occur in combi- 
nation on the same plant; a few species are hairless or glandular- 
resinous. The alternate leaves are mostly without stalks (sessile), 
entire-edged, and noticeably hairy. The medium-sized, showy, 
golden-yellow flower heads, usually having many ray flowers (rarely 
ray less), are borne singly or in somewhat elongated clusters; the 
more or less bell-shaped cup of the flower head (involucre) comprises 
several series of narrow, overlapping bracts. The double arrange- 
ment of hairs (pappus) crowning the flattened, hairy body of the 
seedlike fruits (achenes) is characteristic of the genus. 

1 Weaver, J. E. THE ECOLOGICAL RELATIONS OF ROOTS. Carnegie Inst. Wash. Pub. 286, 
128 pp., illus. 1919. 


' ; (2 leaves) 


Cicu'ta spp. 

Waterhemlocks are, without doubt, the most virulently poisonous flowering 
plants native to the United States; in fact, they are, perhaps, the most toxic 
of all higher plants growing in temperate regions of the world, dealing death 
among both human beings (especially children) and livestock. The several 
species are known locally as beaverpoison, (spotted) cowbane, musquashroot, 
poison- or spotted-hemlock, and snakeweed. In the West, they are often, but 
mistakenly, called parsnips, poisonparsnips, or wildparsnips. The common 
name, waterhemlock, originates from the wet sites of these plants and, simul- 
taneously, distinguishes this group from the notorious, closely related poison- 
hemlock (Co'nium), also belonging to the large carrot, or parsnip family (Um- 
belliferae). The suffix "hemlock" refers to the deadly, Old World, poison- 
hemlock, or "hemlock" (Coni-um maeulatum) now, unfortunately, naturalized 
in parts of our western range country. It is noteworthy, in this connection, 
that, historically, Conium maeulatum is the true hemlock, a name later usurped 
by our American tree genus Tsuga. Konrad Gesner, a herbalist of the 16th 
century, was probably the first to distinguish between Conium and the related, 
toxic, Old World waterhemlock (Cicuta, virosa), which he called Cicuta 
aquatica. 1 

Cicuta is a small, chiefly North American genus of about eleven species ; 
C. virosa is the only one native to Europe and Asia. The waterhemlocks, 
widely distributed on this continent from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to 
Alaska, California, and Florida, and south into Mexico, occur along streams, 
in swamps, ditches, wet meadows, and boggy places, and in fresh, brackish, or 
saline marshes in probably every State of the Union. Conservatively speaking, 
six or possibly seven valid species are found in the West, although many more 
have been described. The western waterhemlocks usually occur almost from 
sea level to medium elevations, though occasionally observed at altitudes 
above 9,000 feet in Colorado and New Mexico. 

It is quite possible that the species of waterhemlock are equally toxic. How- 
ever, experimental data and other evidence of poisonings and their symptoms 
are largely concerned with the European species and with four American mem- 
bers: California waterhemlock (C. calif or' nica), spotted waterhemlock (C. ma- 
cula' ta), western waterhemlock (C. occidenta'lis) , and tuber waterhemlock 
(C. va'gans).* Most fatalities reported, both for human beings and animals, 
are directly attributable to eating the roots, admittedly the most toxic parts. 
All American species coincide in having some part or parts of the underground 
portion elongated and decidedly thickened or tuberous ; clusters of fleshy roots 
are characteristic of many of the waterhemlocks. Unfortunately, however, 
these underground parts are sometimes mistaken for those of edible plants. 
The young shoots are also generally recognized as very toxic. The basal part 
of the leaves of young plants is more virulent than the green blade, and, without 
doubt, the leaves of older plants are less poisonous than those of earlier 
growth. 2 Whether the toxicity of the aerial parts decreases with advancing 
maturity is a matter of dispute. 12 

Most livestock losses and deaths of human beings, due to these plants, occur 
in the spring. The young shoots are then eagerly devoured, providing tasty, 
succulent herbage when good forage is unavailable; at that time, greater like- 
lihood also exists of the roots being pulled up easily from the loose, wet soil 
where they grow. These underground parts, though evidently very toxic at 
all times, appear to be particularly dangerous in the spring and in the fall, 
the greater stored food concentration at those periods seemingly being accom- 
panied by an increase in the poisonous principle. 

1 Marsh, C. D., Clawson, A. B., and Marsh, H. CICUTA, OR WATER HEMLOCK. U. S. 
Dept. Agr. Bull. 69, 27 pp., illus. 1914. 

2 Chesnut, V. K., and Wilcox, B. V. THE STOCK-POISONING PLANTS OP MONTANA : 
A PRELIMINARY REPORT. U. S. Dept. Agr., Div. Bot. Bull. 26, 150 pp., illus. 1901. 



Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 1910-11. 

The toots, upon being cut or bruised, exude an oily, yellowish or reddish 
aromatic fluid. Cicutoxin, a bitter, disagreeable-tasting, amorphous, resinous 
substance, resides m the stems and leaves, but mainly occurs in the roots; 
it is violently poisonous, producing most of the symptoms characteristic of 
waterhemlock-poisoning. This toxic principle has a powerful and direct effect 
upon the central nervous system and secondarily influences the activity of 
the heart and respiratory organs. Even a very small piece of root will usually 
cause death in a short time. Water hemlocks are probably not only toxic to 
all classes of livestock, but to warm-blooded animals in general. Although 
apparently no goat fatalities have been reported, evidence is lacking that these 
animals are immune to the poison. 1 The maximum losses have occurred among 
cattle and sheep ; mortality of horses and hogs is also common. 

The sequence in symptoms of waterhemlock poisoning is very characteristic 
and readily recognized. In man they include nausea, dizziness, abdominal 
pains, weakened pulse, arching of the back (opisthotonos), and other extreme 
muscular contractions, violent convulsions, and eventual death from exhaustion. 
In animals the symptoms are uneasiness, frothing at the mouth, severe pain, 
muscular twitchiugs, a weak, intermittent, and rapid pulse, and dilation of 
the pupils (eyes). If the dose is fatal, death comes from exhaustion due 
to severe muscular convulsions. 1 2 Death may occur within 15 minutes after 
the first symptoms or, where the first symptoms come in less rapid sequence, 
within 2 or 3 hours. The poison acts so quickly that usually it is impossible 
to save the animal. The toxic dose for cattle has been roughly estimated by 
Hedrick (in Pammel") as a piece of root the size of a walnut. There is no 
known antidote, but in man the use of emetics has been effective. Bruce 4 
writes that credit for the recovery of an animal treated with opiates, among 
other substances, to control the convulsions, is probably attributable to the 
small amount of poison consumed and not to the remedies. 

Prevention is the only effective control. Hand-pulling is often the simplest 
method if pieces of the root are not left behind ; grubbing or fencing also have 
their place. All eradicated roots should be carefully burned, as they are 
deadly even when dry. 5 Plowing or clearing new land may expose the deadly 
roots along waterways. Reports persist, probably based on fact, that losses 
have resulted from contamination of springs and small seeps by water- 
hemlock roots crushed under the hoofs of animals. However, this danger 
has probably been exaggerated, particularly as the poisonous principle is only 
slightly soluble in cold water. 1 

Members of the genus Cicuta are rather similar in appearance ; for practical 
purposes, ability to identify the genus is essential, though it is hardly necessary 
to distinguish the 'species. Unfortunately, waterhemlocks and other members 
of the umbellifer family are often confused on the range. Such related plants 
as angelicas (Anffe'lica spp.), sweetroots (Osmorhi'za spp.), and woollyhead- 
parsnip (SpJtenoscia'dium capitella'tum) are harmless and good forage; more- 
over, they also occur in moist sites. The waterhemlocks are chiefly stout, 
coarse herbs with smooth, simple, or branched stems, occasionally as high as 
10 feet, having fairly large, compound leaves, which are divided one or more 
times into usually even- and sharp-toothed leaflets. Tuber waterhemlock has 
a distinctive growth habit, with straggling, almost reclining, branches arising 
from the base of the plant ; the other western species are erect. According to 
the late Dr. E. L. Greene, 6 the entire plant, including the underground parts, 
dies after flowering. The underground parts, located fairly near the ground 
level, are so distinctive that keys for specific recognition have been based 
upon them. Some American species have a short rootcrown, around which 
are clustered a group of elongated, fleshy-fibrous or tuberlike roots usually with 
an additional cluster or tuft of slender or thickened accessory roots; others 
have an enlarged rootstock, bearing fibrous roots on the under side. California 
waterhemlock has a freely branching rootstock, the branches close-jointed and 
enlarged at the ends with fibrous roots at the joints. Published statements to 
the contrary, the presence of cross-partitions in the rootcrown, rootstocks, and 

1 - 3 See footnotes on preceding page. 

ISH COLUMBIA. Canada Dept. Agr. Bull. 88, 44 pp., Illus. 1927. 

Expt. Sta. Bull. 187, 42 pp., illus. 1922. 


(leaf 2) 

roots, although important, does not afford an infallible means of distinguishing 
waterhemlocks from nonpoisouous genera. In fact, some angelicas have simi- 
larly prominent cross-partitions. During spring, when maximum danger of 
poisoning obtains, the partitions are often not clearly discernible ; 4 they are 
often absent or very indistinct in the younger roots. The small, white flowers 
of waterhemlocks are borne in compound, umbrellalike clusters (umbels) with- 
out bracts, or only a few, at the base of the rays of the entire cluster, but 
usually having some small, slender bractlets at the base of the stalks (pedicels) 
of each secondary cluster (umbellets). The flowers have five broad petals 
with incurved tips; the five pointed, toothlike outer flower parts (calyx lobes) 
are fairly prominent. The hairless, ribbed, oblong or ovoid, seedlike fruits are 
slightly flattened ; a single oil tube is conspicuous in the intervals between the 
ribs. One species, bulbous waterhemlock (C. bulM'fcra), ranging from Nova 
Scotia and Maryland to Nebraska and Idaho, produces clustered bulblets in the 
axils of the upper, reduced leaves. Most species begin to bloom in June or July. 


FIGURE 1. Flower cluster, or umbel (diagrammatic) of waterhemlock as contrasted with 
those of the harmless angelica, sweetroot. and woollyhead-parsnip. 





Osmorhiza ' Sphenosciadium 

UK '2. Fruits, or "seeds" (diagrammatic) of waterhomlock as contrasted with those 
of the harmless angelica, sweetroot, and woollyhead-parsnip. 

4 See footnote on preceding page. 

Figure 1 shows the relatively small flower clusters, in proportion to the size 
of Cicuta as compared with the larger flower clusters of Angelica; both bracts 
and bractlets are usually absent from the flower clusters in Angelica, but bract- 
lets are usually present in Cicuta,. The sweetroots (Osmorhiza spp.) have 
slender, irregular, few-rayed flower clusters; they, as well as the entire plant, 
emanate a sweet, aniselike odor. Incidentally, when once recognized, all three 
genera can be separated by odor alone from Cicuta, which is the least pleasant. 
tfphcnosciad'mm has ball-like, cottony flower heads in a regular umbel. 

Figure 2 illustrates the easily recognized character of the seedlike fruits of 
these genera. Ciouta has small, ribbed, wingless, rounded, oval or oblong, 
hairless fruits, up to about three-sixteenths of an inch long. Angelica fruits 
are flattened, broad-winged, and average about three-sixteenths to one-fourth 
of an inch long. The fruits of Sphenosciadium are hairy, ribbed below, and 
winged above; those of Onmorhisa are unmistakable, being elongated, some- 
what club-shaped, narrowly ribbed, hairless or bristly and often tipped with a 
short beak. 

FIGURE 3. Leaves (diagrammatic) of water-hemlock as contrasted with those of the 
harmless angelica, sweetroot, and woollyhead-parsnip. 

Figure 3 illustrates the general character of the leaves with the venation of 
the leaflets shown in detail. Although attention has been called in various dia- 
grams or discussions of the eastern spotted waterhemlock (C. macula' ta) and 
of western waterhemlock to the termination of the primary veins in the 
notches of the leaflets, Bombard 7 has recently reported that the difference in 
the venation of the leaflets of Cicuta and Angelica is a practical aid in dis- 
tinguishing these two genera, without the use of a hand lens, both afield and in 
the herbarium. The venation is usually more prominent on the under side of 
the leaflets in both genera. In Angelica, the primary veins, emanating from 
the midrib of the leaflets, proceed toward the middle of the apex of the teeth, as 
is usual in most toothed leaves. In the species of Cicuta, with one exception, 
the primary veins are directed toward the notches between the teeth. When the 
veins apparently end directly in the notches (e. g., spotted waterhemlock, west- 
ern waterhemlock, etc.), this diagnostic character is easily recognized; in most 
cases, however, it is the general trend of the veins (or their main forks) in the 
direction of the notches which must be noted since, just before reaching the 
notch, they deviate somewhat, or bend, sliding alongside a margin of the tooth 
but scarcely proceeding directly toward the middle of the tooth itself. Cali- 
fornia waterhemlock, the one exception, is a distinctive species, readily identi- 
fiable by other means. This venation method of separating the poisonous 
waterhemlocks from the nonpoisonous angelicas merits further testing, to 
determine its usefulness and accuracy, by first examining the leaflets of these 
plants when in flower or fruit and easily and accurately identifiable. 

ANGELICA. Jour. Wash. Acad. Sci. 26 (3) : 102-107, illus. 1936. 



Cicu'ta occidenta'lis 

Flowers small, white, 5-parted, 
on short stalks, grouped in small 
umbrella-shaped clusters (um- 
bellets) each with a basal whorl 
(involucel) of several slender 
bractlets; umbellets on long 
stalks (rays) clustered at end of 
stem in a compound umbel, 
whose base often has a few 
bracts (involucre) 

Leaves hairless, twice divided 
(bipinnately compound); stalks 
of lower ones enlarged and 
sheathing the stem 

Leaflets narrowly to broadly 
lance-shaped, up to about 4 in. 
long; margins with coarse teeth 
rather far apart 

Stem hairless, stout, hollow, 
ridged, branching above, up to 
6 ft. high 

"Seeds" hairless, the 2 parts 
(mericarps) joined, separating 
when ripe, oblong to globe- 
shaped, small (about Kin- long), 
strongly ribbed; ribs corky, flat, 
with side ones largest; each 
"seed" tipped by a short stalk 
(style) with a low conical base 
(stylopodium) surrounded by 5 
persistent teeth 

Rootstock underground, short, 
stout, vertical, with numerous 
horizontal chambers inside, and 
usually with a cluster of tuber- 
ous prolongations attached 

Roots rather few, shallow, 

Western waterhemlock, also called cowbane, poisonhemlock, and poisonpars- 
nip, is an extremely dangerous, poisonous plant of the carrot or parsnip family 
( Umbel liferae). It is a coarse, perennial marsh herb, which has a characteristic 
short, nearly erect, root crown, partitioned within, and bearing a cluster of 
elongated, coarse, fleshy roots. The stout, erect stem is 2% to 6 feet high. 

Western waterhemlock is the commonest and most widespread of the western 
species of waterhemlock, and ranges from South Dakota to New Mexico, Cali- 
fornia, British Columbia, and Alaska. South Dakota marks the eastern limit 
of western waterhemlock and, at the same time, the western limit of spotted 
waterhemlock (C. macula'ta), a more slender, essentially eastern species. In 
some of the important reference literature on range plants, C. maculata and 
C. ocddentalis are not distinguished. Western waterhemlock is a moisture- 
loving plant, and commonly grows in marshes, swamps, wet meadows, along 
streams, irrigation ditches, and similar places. It occurs in the plains, foothills, 
and mountains up to elevations of about 9,000 feet. Ordinarily the plants have 
a scattered distribution, although in certain restricted areas they may be found 
growing in dense stands. 

This plant, as well as other species of Cicuta, has not only killed large 
numbers of livestock, especially cattle and sheep, but has also resulted in 
fatalities among human beings. The root crown and other underground por- 
tions of the plant are the most poisonous parts. A small piece of root, 
which may easily be pulled up by a grazing animal, especially in the spring, 
is sufficient to cause sudden and violent death, the older root parts being 
the most toxic. The stems and leaves of the young shoots may poison livestock 
early in the season, but are not so dangerous in the summer and autumn. 
The dried seeds and older tops probably are not a source of danger. 1 

The high percentage of fatalities in western waterhemlock-poisoning cases 
indicates the need for efficient prevention. Livestock should be protected from 
the danger of eating waterhemlock by appropriate measures herding, fencing, 
grubbing, etc., as the individual case may indicate. If the area of infestation 
is not too extensive, the most practical control is to eradicate the plants by 
grubbing. The plants thus removed should be burned as soon as possible before 
livestock have access to them. 2 The restricted habitat and ordinary relative 
scarcity of the plants in a given location facilitate this manual method of 
extermination. It is especially desirable to eliminate waterhemlock from the 
vicinity of water holes where livestock congregate regularly and are liable 
to eat the plant It is often reported, although definite proof is lacking, that 
death has resulted from the contamination of water by the hoof-bruised roots 
of the western waterhemlock. 

Both root crown and roots have a strong, disagreeable, musky odor, and 
when broken exude an acrid, yellowish fluid, which contains the poisonous 

Tuber waterhemlock (C. vdgans), a species very closely related to western 
waterhemlock and sometimes called Oregon waterhemlock, has a more re- 
stricted range, occurring from British Columbia to Montana and south into 
northern California and central Idaho. It also occupies marshes and oth-er wet 
places, mostly within the ponderosa pine belt, is virulently poisonous, and is 
the species of waterhemlock most frequently illustrated in the various publica- 
tions concerning poisonous range plants. Its herbage has a bluish or purplish 
tinge, the stems are branched from the base, and are weaker than those of 
western waterhemlock; its large fleshy rootstocks (rhizomes) are horizontal 
and often occur partly above ground. The small, ribbed "seeds" of this species 
are rounded as contrasted with the more nearly egg-shaped or ellipsoidal fruits 
of the western waterhemlock. 

1 Marsh, C. D. STOCK-POISONING PLANTS OP THE RANGE. U. S. Dept. Agr. Bull. 1245, 
rev., 75 pp., illus. 1929. Supersedes Bull. 575. See also Marsh, C. D., Clawson, A. B., 
and Marsn, H. CICUTA, OR WATER HEMLOCK. U. S. Dcpt. Agr. Bull. 69, 27 pp., illus. 

2 Fleming, C. E., Peterson, N. F., Miller, M. R., Wright, L. H., and Louck, R. C. THE 


IN NEVADA. Nev. Agr. Expt. Sta. Bull. 100, 23 pp., illus. 1920. 



Cogswel'lia spp., syns. Loma'tium spp., Pence' danum spp. 

Biscuitroots are perennial herbs and constitute a large rather 
variable genus of the carrot or parsnip family (Umbelliferae) , con- 
sisting ox about 66 species aaid belonging to the drier regions of west- 
ern North America. The plants are also known locally as hogfennel, 
prairiefennel, whiskbroom-parsley, wildcarrot, wildparsley, and by 
the generic name, Cogswellia. Moreover, certain species, such as 
cous (C. dous and close allies), have individual names, and other 
species with large, fleshy, edible roots are often called Indianroot. 

As a group the biscuitroots are perhaps the commonest and most 
widely distributed of all umbelliferous plants on the western ranges. 
They occur in all of the Western States but have a much smaller rep- 
resentation in Arizona and New Mexico than elsewhere. Biscuitroots 
are very common in most sections but are generally scattered and not 
abundant in any one place. They occur from slightly above sea level 
in the Columbia basin of the Northwest to elevations of about 10,000 
feet in Utah and Wyoming. They grow in open or semi-open situa- 
tions in the valleys .and on hillsides from the pifion- juniper and sage- 
brush zones through the ponderosa pine and into the aspen belt. 
Many of the biscuitroots thrive under full sunlight and on well- 
drained soils, scablands, dry rocky mountain sides, open slopes, and 
exposed ridges; others abound in wet or semiwet areas, such as flats 
or depressions temporarily saturated by melting snows. Their com- 
mon companions include sagebrush, wheatgrasses, arrowleaf bal- 
samroot, bluegrasses, geraniums, lupines, mountain-dandelions, and 

These herbs are among the first plants to bloom in the spring. In 
making their extremely early growth and development they utilize 
the soil moisture left by melting snows. Except at the higher eleva- 
tions, they mature their seeds and dry up by early summer. The 
plants of this genus reproduce mostly from seed, but species having 
tuberlike or bulblike roots also propagate vegetatively by means of 
the "tubers" which break away from the parent plants. 

Because of their early growth and maturity, the biscuitroots are of 
appreciable value for forage only on ranges which are grazed in the 
spring and early summer. When at all abundant on such ranges, 
many of these plants generally rate as valuable forage weeds. The 
leaves, flowers, .and green seeds of most of the species are eaten readily 
by sheep, and the leafage of several species is utilized even after dry- 
ing. The palatability among the different species ranges from poor 
to good for cattle but is usually poor for horses. Deer, elk, and aiite- 
lope are known to relish several species of Cogswellia, and it is prob- 
able that all the species are palatable to these game animals. 

Many biscuitroots were important food plants of the Indians. The 
leafage of some species was eaten for greens, and the roots were used, 
as a vegetable, eaten raw, baked, or roasted, or dried and ground into 
flour for bread ; hence the name biscuitroot. Cous, above referred to, 
also known as cousroot and biscuitroot, and some of its close relatives. 

was one of the leading foods of the Northwestern Indians. 1 The 
fresh roots have a parsnip-like flavor, but, on drying, become brittle 
and white, with a somewhat celery -like taste. The dry root is readily 
ground into flour. 

The root systems of biscuitroots are of two main types: (1) deep- 
set, elongated, often spindle-shaped, somewhat woody taproots or 
(2) fleshy, tuberlike, or bulblike roots of greatly varying shape. 
Some species have rounded and others elongated roots ; in still others 
the roots are pinched or constricted to form a beadlike chain or 
string of "tubers." Most of the species have very short stems or are 
stemless except for the flower stalks which, in the majority of cases, 
are low (4 to 12 inches high), slender, unbranched, and leafless or 
nearly so; there are, however, many exceptions. The leaves and 
stems of several species make rank growth, sometimes attaining a 
height of 30 inches. C. nudicaulis and G.. platyphylla, are examples 
of species which have rather stout flower stalks with swollen or club- 
shaped tops where the flower clusters (umbels) begin. Individual 
plants of several species can be found which have somewhat 
branched leafy stems or flower stalks. As above intimated the leaves 
of most species are chiefly or wholly basal ; i. e., they arise from the 
root crown or from the short, compressed stem. The stalks of these 
basal leaves are flattened or broadly dilated at the base. The leaves 
are always compound (divided into segments) with few to many 
divisions and, in the different species, are extremely variable in size 
and shape. In many species the leaves are cut up into very fine 
divisions and in general resemble parsley leaves ; others with broader 
segments have fernlike leaves; some, such as nineleaf biscuitroot {C. 
triternata), have their leaves divided into long, narrow, grasslike 
lobes, and others, such as C. nudicaulis and C. platypKylla,, have 
leaves with broad, egg-shaped, heart-shaped, or wedge-shaped divi- 
sions, sometimes 1% to 2 inches wide. 

The flowers are usually yellow, in some species white, and occasion- 
ally purple. They are borne in umbrella-shaped clusters (umbels) 
of various sizes. In many species these umbels are characteristically 
irregular or lop-sided. In practically all species the hub or axis of 
the main umbel is without a circle of leaf like bracts (involucre), but 
it is characteristic of this genus that the secondary, small, flower 
clusters within the main umbel (umbellets) are usually encircled by 
a whorl of leafy bractlets (involucels). It is also characteristic that 
the sepals, or calyx teeth, are wanting or (very rarely) just visible. 
The fruits, or seeds, are strongly flattened, free from hairs and 
bristles and have thin, usually conspicuous side wings, equal thread- 
like ribs on the back, flattened faces, and lack prominent appendages 
(stylopodia) at the summit. The seeds grow in pairs, attached face 
to face by their side wings until maturity, and vary considerably in 
size and shape in the different species, from almost round to oblong 
in outline, and ranging from about one-eighth of an inch to 1 inch 
in length. 

1 Blankinship, .T. W. NATIVE ECONOMIC PLANTS op MONTANA. Mont. Agr. Expt. Sta. 
Bull. 56, 36 pp. 1905. 



Cogswel'lia triterna'ta, syns. C. sim'plex, Loma'tium sim'plex, 
L. triterna'tum 

Flowers small, yellow, borne in com- 
pound umbrella-shaped clusters (um- 
bels); hub of umbel free from bracts 
(involucre); rays of umbel up to 3% in. 
long, unequal, making umbel irregular 
or lop-sided 

Secondary flower clusters (umbellets) 
encircled at base by small, narrow 
bractlets (involucels) 

"Seeds" (mericarps) paired but sep- 
arating when ripe, strongly flattened, 
with thin side wings, unnotched at base 
or apex, hairless, roundish to narrowly 
oblong, X to X in- long, % to % in. wide; 
backs~with fine, equal ribs; face slightly 
concave, prominent terminal appendage 
(stylopodium) lacking 

Leaves mostly basal, divided into 
elongated segments (leaflets); leaflets 
narrowly linear to linear-lance-shaped, 
up to 4 in. long, hairless to minutely 

Stem slender, erect, up to 28 in. high, 
naked or with few leaves, minutely 
downy, summit not swollen 

" Taproot thick, elongated, not tuberous 

Nineleaf biscuitroot has been selected for discussion because it 
is one of the most common and widespread species of the C'ogsviettia 
genus and is reasonably typical of the plants in this large and 
variable group. Because of its general appearance and its member- 
ship in the carrot, or parsnip family (Umbelliferae) , it has been 
locally called wildcarrot, wildparsley, wildparsnip, and hogfennel. 
These names are undesirable, however, because they are loosely used 
for a large number of other umbelliferous plants. On the other hand, 
nineleaf biscuitroot, the common name adopted above, is distinctive, 
appropriate, and also fairly descriptive of the specific name, triter- 
nata, which means arranged in three times three, referring to the 
leaves, which are often divided into three main divisions, each of 
which is again divided into usually three or more long, narrow lobes. 
The roots of this and other species of Cogswellm are edible and were 
once used extensively as food by the Indians. They were eaten raw, 
or cooked as a vegetable, or diced and ground into flour for bread. 
This use of the plants gave rise to the name, biscuitroot, which is in 
common usage in many localities in the West. 

Nineleaf biscuitroot is distributed from British Columbia to north- 
eastern California, Colorado, and Alberta. It is typically a plant 
of the plains, foothills, and lower mountains, although occasionally 
it extends to higher altitudes, having been collected from dry open 
slopes at elevations of 9,500 feet in Utah and 10,000 feet in Wyoming. 
This species grows in well-drained or dry, rocky soils on the sunny 
open slopes, dry parks, and flats, open ridges and under open stands 
of timber through the sagebrush, pinon and ponderosa pine belts. 
It grows scatteringly in mixture with various other drought-resistant 
plants such as arrowleaf balsamroot, wheatgrass, sagebrush, oak- 
brush, and bitterbrush. 

Nineleaf biscuitroot is one of the most valuable forage species in 
the Cogswellia genus. It is a rank-growing plant, sometimes at- 
taining a height of 28 inches, and therefore produces more forage 
than many of the lower-growing biscuitroots. The plant is eaten by 
livestock and game animals throughout its range, being fair to very 
good for sheep and poor to fairly good for cattle. In the North- 
west it is prized greatly because of its high palatability for both 
cattle and sheep. Unfortunately nineleaf biscuitroot is seldom 
abundant enough to form an important part of the plant cover. 
This plant begins growth early in the season and usually matures its 
seed and dries up by early summer; consequently it is of value for 
forage mainly on the spring ranges. 

Most of the botanical manuals listing this plant separate it into 
two species: Cogswellia triternata and C. simplest} (syn. C. platy- 
carpa) , which are very similar in appearance, differing chiefly in the 
shape of the seeds and the width of their wings, the wider-winged 
forms being placed in C. simplex. Since a complete series of inter- 
grades exists wherever a line of division is drawn, the best present- 
day opinion is to combine both forms into one species under the 
oldest name G. triternata. 



Cre'pis acumina'ta 

Flowers yellow, all petal-like and 5- 
tootbcd at the tips 

Flower head enclosed by a conspic- 
uous series of smooth and equal invo- 
lucral bracts, with a few, very short, 
outer bracts at the base 

"Seed" (achene) smooth, 10-ribbed, 
narrowed toward summit but not pro- 
longed into a beak, tipped by a ring of 
whitish, persistent bristles (pappus) 

Stem leaves stalkless, the upper ones 
linear and entire 

Basal leaves grayish-white-hairy.. 
lance-shaped in outline, pinnately cut 
in to linear, sometimes toothed lobes, and 
prolonged into tapering (acuminate) tips 

Stems 1 to several, branched and 
leafy, 1 to 2% ft. high 

Taproot tough, usually elongated. 

Tapertip hawksbeard belongs to the chicory tribe (Cichorieae) of the large 
aster, or sunflower family (Compositae) and, like the other members of the 
genus, has yellow flowers with an involucre of a single series of long, sepallike 

phyllaries, and many-ribbed "seeds" (achenes), having the pappus of numerous 
soft, white bristles. It is a perennial, milky juiced herb, 1 to 2 1 / feet high. 

Tapertip hawksbeard is the most common member of the genus and occurs in 
the foothills and mountains from British Columbia and Alberta to Colorado 
and California. It most commonly grows in well-drained, frequently stony soils 
on open slopes and hillsides in the ponderosa pine, pinon-juniper, and sagebrush 
belts. Commonly associated plants are eriogoriums, lupines, Sandberg blue- 
grass, wheatgrasses, and arrowleaf balsamroot. 

Although widespread, tapertip hawksbeard is seldom abundant and rarely pro- 
vides a large part of the ground cover or forage. It is most palatable in the 
spring and early summer before the herbage matures and dries. Normally it is 
of low palatability to horses, fair for cattle, and good to excellent for sheep. 
In fact, overgrazing by sheep over a period of years has practically eliminated 
it from many western ranges. 

Both the common name, tapertip hawksbeard, and the specific name, 
acuminata, refer to the conspicuously prolonged character of the leaves. 

Gray hawksbeard (C. interme' dia) should be mentioned with tapertip hawks- 
beard, to which it is so closely related that it is sometimes considered a variety. 
The main distinguishing feature between the two is the gray covering of fine 
soft hairs which clothes the herbage of the former and accounts for its common 
name, gray hawksbeard. It inhabits much the same range and similar condi- 
tions of soil and moisture as does tapertip hawksbeard. Furthermore, grazing 
animals apparently do not show a preference in their use of these two species. 

HAWKSBEARDS (Cre'pis spp.) 

The 20 or more species of hawksbeards in the West vary considerably in height 
and in the size and shape of the leaves and the hairy character of their 
herbage, but, in general, the more common and widely distributed species are 
much alike. As a genus, they are most easily distinguished from the dande- 
lions (Leontodon spp.) and mountain-dandelions (Agoseris spp.) by their 
branched and leafy stems. The hawksbeards differ from the hawkweeds 
(Hieracium spp.) chiefly in that the latter are usually rough-hairy, more 
slender-stemmed, and with darker, somewhat brownish-colored pappus bristles. 
The common name, hawksbeard, refers to a fancied resemblance of the copious 
hairs of the "seed" pappus to the bristles at the side of a hawk's beak. 

Several species deserve mention, notably C. nana, C. occidentals, C. monticola>, 
and C. rwnoinata. These species do not, as yet, have well-established English 
names. C. nana, syn. Youngia nana, is unusual in the genus in that it is only 
1 to 4 inches in height and tufted. Although rare, small, and confined to high 
altitudes in the Western States, there is reason to believe that it may be a 
valuable feed for game in Canada and Alaska. C. ocoidentalis is perhaps the 
most common species in the mountains of California ; it has practically the same 
wide range as C. intermedia but extends into Arizona. It is similar to gray 
hawksbeard in color and, in fact, is called gray hawksbeard by some authors 
but, under field conditions, C. occidentalis is about half as tall as C. intermedia 
and deeper gray in color. C. monticola, a somewhat coarse species, is appar- 
ently limited to the mountains of northern California and southern Oregon. 
It is distinct from the other members of the genus, because the herbage is 
covered with long, brown, and glandular-bristly hairs. C. runcinata, common 
in the mountain valleys of the Rockies, differs from the other common species 
in having few, frequently entire, smooth leaves, and slender stems, bearing 
relatively few flowers. It is found in moist places, or even in standing water. 

From a range use standpoint, the hawksbeards, as a group, resemble taper- 
tip hawksbeard, occurring on open sites on well-drained soils, in the foothill 
and mountain areas. Sheep are fond of practically all species to the point of 

Dr. E. B. Babcock, professor of genetics at the University of California, has 
shown that this genus consists of about 250 species, and is a natural group 
with its center of origin in south central Asia. 12 

1 Babcock, E. B., and Navashin, M. THE GENUS CREPIS. Bibliog. Genetica 6: 1-90, 
illus. 1930. 

2 Babcock, E. B., and Cameron, D. R. CHROMOSOMES AND PHYLOGENY IN CREPIS. 


(11) : 287-324, illus. 1934. 


Delphi'nium spp. 

The native larkspurs are perennial, while those naturalized from 
the Old World are annual. Some 60 native and 2 naturalized species 
of larkspur occur on western ranges. Throughout the West this 

fenus is one of the best known members of the buttercup, or crow- 
oot, family (Ranunculaceae) because some species are poisonous and 
responsible for severe losses of cattle. Larkspurs are widespread, 
one or more species occurring in every western State, Alaska, and 
the Provinces of Canada. Larkspurs are common in the foothills 
and mountains in the Western States, chiefly occurring in well-drained 
loamy soil in mountain parks, grasslands, sagebrush areas, and in 
clumps of aspen or in partial shade of other trees. The generic 
name Delphinium is the Latin form for delphinion, a word used by 
the old Greek botanist Dioscorides for larkspur. 

Many larkspurs are known to be poisonous to cattle, but it is ques- 
tionable whether all species are poisonous under range conditions. 
However, as Marsh, Clawson, and Marsh a have pointed out, it is 
the safest policy to regard them all as suspicious pending full 
knowledge concerning them. Horses and sheep have been poisoned 
by forced feeding with certain species of larkspur but, under range 
conditions, horses usually avoid these plants while sheep eat them 
without injury. The greatest loss of cattle occurs during the early 
spring and summer, because larkspur produces an abundance of 
forage in advance of other plants and begins growth on the higher 
summer ranges soon after the snow melts. This group creates a 
serious problem in managing cattle on the range, because so many 
larkspurs are poisonous both before and after blooming. Under 
range conditions sheep are seldom poisoned by larkspur, and it is 
common for sheep to utilize larkspur areas. The palatability for 
sheep is considered good. 

In the treatment of poisoned animals beneficial results usually are 
obtained by injecting a solution of 1 grain physostigmin salicylate, 
2 grains pilocarpin hydrochloride, and 1/2 grain of strychnine sul- 
phate, with a hypodermic syringe, preferably in the shoulder. 1 The 
above amount dissolved in approximately 1 tablespoon of water is 
the proper dose for an animal weighing 500 to 600 pounds. The 
formula should be doubled for an animal of 1,000 pounds. The 
syringe used in administering blackleg vaccine will serve. 

Numerous larkspur-eradication projects have been conducted in 
the West, particularly with Barbey larkspur (D. barbeyi} and Sierra 
larkspur (D. glaucum). Eradication has been attempted both by 
grubbing and chemical means. In grubbing larkspur special care 
must be exercised to assure that all plants, including the seedlings 
and other small specimens, are dug. It is imperative that enough 
of the root system be removed to prevent the remnant from sprout- 
ing. This infers grubbing every larkspur plant discernible and 

1 Marsh, C. D., Clawson, A. B., and Marsh, H. LARKSPUR OR "POISON WEED," U. S. 
Dept. Agr. Farmers' Bull. 988, rev., 13 pp., illus. 1934. Supersedes Bull. 531. 

removing the roots to a depth of not less than 8 inches, including all 
side roots as well as the base of the plant. Workmen must make 
sure that no roots fall back into the hole and that all dirt is shaken 
from the roots grubbed to prevent posible regrowth. 

It is outstandingly important to burn all plants after removal 
to prevent their consumption by cattle. Regardless of the care ex- 
ercised in digging Barbey and other larkspurs, it is always nec- 
essary to go over the area the following year to remove any plants 
which have been missed. Usually a second follow-up is necessary 
to eradicate plants developing from seed stored from previous 
seasons. 2 

Chemical eradication has thus far proved very effective in Mon- 
tana, but only partly successful in Utah. In general, chemical 
eradication of larkspur is much more expensive than grubbing. 
The chemicals used are relatively costly, and heavy applications are 
needed to kill plants possessing such heavy deepset root systems as 
those of most tall larkspurs. It the plants are merely weakened they 
almost invariably recover unless the work is repeated. Although 
continued research with chemicals in larkspur eradication is justi- 
fied, for the present, hand grubbing is the most practical method of 
eliminating small stands of these plants from the range. 

Spraying with sodium chlorate in neutral, acid, or alkaline solu- 
tions of 2% percent or more and upwards during the active growing 
period of larkspur is effective. However, it is risky to use this! 
chemical because of its inflammability and toxicity in quantity to 
livestock. A salty taste increases its attractiveness and encourages 
consumption of treated plants. Calcium chlorate, while less effec- 
tive than sodium chlorate, has also been successfully used in chemical 
eradication of larkspur and has the advantages of being neither 
poisonous nor inflammable. These soluble chemicals are readily 
applied, kill both tops and roots of the poisonous plants and thus 
prevent sprouting. The addition of a little whale-oil soap or glycer- 
ine facilitates the uniform distribution and retention of the solution 
upon the leaf surfaces. 

Larkspurs may be bunched, leafy, and conspicuous or low, single- 
stemmed, and few-branched, and may vary in height from a few 
inches to 7 feet. In general, the species may be grouped, for prac- 
tical purposes, in two divisions: Tall larkspurs and low larkspurs. 
The stalks arise from long and woody or from short and thick roots, 
being hollow, and often rather stout, with the alternate leaves hairy, 
smooth, or covered with a bluish-white coating like that of a grape or 
plum. The leaves often resemble those of maple or currant. The 
leaf divisions extend from the tip of the leaf stem like a human hand 
with outstretched fingers. During the spring, before the plants 
blossom, it is difficult to distinguish between the leaves of larkspur, 
monkshood and geranium. Larkspur flowers are usually colored 
various shades of violet, blue, and purple, although white-flowered 
forms occur in nearly all species, with a few species having red 


FORESTS. U. S. Dept. Agr. Farmers' Bull. 826, 23 pp., ilius. 1917. 



Delphi'nium bar'beyi, syn. D. subalpi' num. 

Flowers dark blue (occasionally pink 
or cream-colored), on narrow-bracted, 
ascending, sticky-tawny-hairy stalks, 
borne in rather short, dense, end clusters 

Seed pods (follicles) 3, hairless, often 
bluish-veined, somewhat _ cylindrical, 
short-oblong, somewhat joined at base, 
erect, each tipped by persistent slender 
stalk (style) and splitting down inside 
ridge, many-seeded 

Leaves hairy, stalked, alternate, 
rounded in outline, 3 to 6 in. broad, 
palmately parted into usually 5 mam 
divisions; each division mostly broad 
and variously cleft or lobed 

Stems 1 to several, simple, erect, 2 to 
7 ft. tall, leafy, stout, hollow, dark 
green, hairy throughout but with 
spreading, tawny hairs toward tops 

Petals 4, smaller than sepals, in two 
unequal pairs: upper pair usually yel- 
low tinged with blue, prolonged back- 
ward into nectary-bearing spurs and 
enclosed within sepal spur; lower pair 
usually blue, each with narrow claw 
and broad, wavy-edged blade, yellow- 
haired on inner side 

Stamens numerous 

Outer flower parts (sepals) 5, petal- 
like, irregular, with somewhat sticky, 
yellowish hairs; upper sepal prolonged 
into a spur as long or usually longer 
than sepals 

Taproot deep, woody, perennial 

Barbey larkspur, a perennial herb, is one of the most characteris- 
tic, abundant, and widely distributed of the tall larkspurs. It is 
typically a plant of the higher mountains, ranging mostly from 
about 8,000 feet up to timber line, but occasionally as low as 6,000 
feet toward the northwestern limits of its range. The species ap- 
pears to be confined to four States : Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and 
Idaho. Large patches of this tall larkspur may be found growing 
abundantly in canyons and on moist, well-drained soils. Probably 
the most serious cattle losses from tall-larkspur poisoning through- 
out its known western range is caused by Barbey larkspur, and the 
species has been the basis of much experimental work as representa- 
tive of tall-larkspur poisoning. 

The stored food in the large and deep woody taproot of this and 
other tall larkspurs facilitates the rapid growth of leafy stems early 
in the spring before many edible but harmless plants have made an 
appreciable start. Growth of as much as 1 to 2 feet in May has 
been reported, but the rapidity of development varies greatly accord- 
ing to the altitude and moisture and temperature conditions. The 
large leaves are more poisonous than the stems and are most toxic 
when the plants are starting spring growth. Their poisonous prop- 
erties decrease when the flowers and seeds mature in July and 
August. In fact, cattle often graze the palatable green leaves that 
persist after the plant has seeded without harmful effect. 1 The seeds 
of this species are very poisonous and have occasionally caused some 
losses. Although the roots also contain the toxic principles, their 
woodiness, and deep underground habit of growth render them prac- 
tically inaccessible to cattle. Barbey larkspur does not die down 
after setting seed; the leaves remain palatable until killed by frost. 

Although Barbey larkspur, if eaten in sufficiently large quantities 
and within a comparatively short time, may cause sheep poisoning, 
range fatalities seldom, if ever, occur, except possibly under badly 
overgrazed or other very abnormal conditions. Horses may be 
poisoned experimentally by this species but, under range conditions, 
this class of livestock apparently never eats enough of this larkspur 
to be injured. In most instances infested ranges may be used with 
safety for pasturage of sheep and horses. 

Although it is easy to distinguish Barbey larkspur after it blossoms because 
no other plant in its habitat has similar flowers, these plants, in the early 
stages of leaf and stem growth, are often confused with sticky geranium 
(Geranium tftscosissimum) , a harmless, widely distributed and common range 
plant, and also with monkshoods, particularly Columbia monkshood (Aconitum 
columbianum) . The leaves of sticky geranium are mostly basal and long- 
stalked those that do occur on the stem being paired while the leaves of 
Barbey larkspur all come from the stem, are not paired, and are shorter- 
stalked. The leaves of monkshood are very similar in shape, size, and arrange- 
ment to those of Barbey larkspur, but are somewhat shorter-stalked ; the stems 
of monkshood are pithy as a rule, while those of larkspur are usually hollow ; 
the roots of monkshood are tuberous and often clustered near the soil surface, 
while those of Barbey larkspur are enlarged, woody, and deep; the well-devel- 
oped hood of the monkshood flower and the marked spur of the larkspur are 
very distinctive. 

1 Marsh, C. D., Clawson, A. B., and Marsh, H. LARKSPUR OR "POISON WEED." U. S. 
Dept. Agr. Farmers' Bull. 988, rev., 13 pp., illus. 1934. Supersedes Bull. 531. 

Dept. Agr., Supplement to Farmers' Bull. 988, 2 pp. 1933. 



Delphi'nium bi'color 

Flowers dark blue or purplish (rarely 
white), usually few, large and showy, 
irregular, stalked; lower flower stalks 
elongated, borne in -end clusters 

Sepals petal-like, dark blue or pur- 
plish, egg-lance-shaped, sharp-pointed 
or tapering; upper sepal spurred, up to 
% in. long 

Petals in 2 pairs; upper pair "white or 
yellowish, veined with blue, prolonged 
backwards into a spur, enclosed in the 
spurred sepal; lower pair cleft, usually 
blue, with a tuft of hairs near the 
middle; stamens numerous 

Leaves alternate, finely hairy, round 
in outline, deeply parted into narrow, 
linear or linear-oblong, blunt-tipped 
segments; upper stem leaves smaller 

Stem up to 20 in. high, hollow, few- 
leaved, hairy, sometimes sticky-hairy 

Roots thick, woody, elongate, often 

Seed pods (follicles) erect or curving, 
3 to 5, more or less sticky-hairy; each 
tipped by persistent, threadlike stalk 
(style), splitting down along inside 

Low larkspur, which resembles spring larkspur (D. menziesii), 
is a small, perennial, poisonous larkspur with rather large ? showy 
flowers. It occurs on medium dry to moist sites on the plains, and 
in the mountains at elevations of from about 3,000 to 9,000 feet, from 
British Columbia to Montana, South Dakota, Colorado, Nevada, and 
Oregon. This plant, which seeks the full sunlight, is one of the 
earliest-appearing wild flowers, frequently blooming at the edge 
of snow banks in the mountains. 

On many ranges, low larkspur is relatively abundant and during 
the early spring forms a very conspicuous part of the vegetation. 
As all parts of the plant are quite toxic to cattle, its extensive use 
results in some losses of that class of livestock, especially in Montana, 
where the species is rather plentiful. Under range conditions, ap- 
parently it is not poisonous to sheep ; 1 in fact, the plant is usually 
considered fairly good forage for such animals. Fortunately, cattle 
losses are easily preventable by prohibiting entry of those animals 
to infested ranges until low larkspur, which matures early, has dried 
up, or until more palatable forage is available. 

Being one of the most beautiful of the American larkspurs, 2 this 
species is frequently cultivated as an ornamental. The flowers are 
dark blue or purplish, although the two, small, upper petals are 
white or pale yellow streaked with blue, hence the specific name 
bicolor, two-colored. Early settlers in the West commonly used 
the seeds of this larkspur as poison baits in exterminating lice and 
other vermin. 

1 Marsh, C. D., Clawson, A. B., and Marsh H. LARKSPUR POISONING OF LIVE STOCK. 
U. S. Dept. Agr. Bull. 365, 91 pp., illus. 1916. 

2 Marsh, C. D., Clawson, A. B., and Marsh, H. LARKSPUR OR "POISON WBBD." U. S. 

Dept. Agr. Farmers' Bull. 988, rev., 13 pp., illus. 1934. Supersedes Bull. 531. 



Delphi'nium glau'cum, syn. D. scopulo'rum glau'cum 

Flowers blue to purplish (rarely 
white), numerous, irregular, slender- 
stalked, somewhat hairy, in rather 
crowded end clusters (racemes) up to 
1# ft. long 

Outer flower parts (sepals) petal-like, 
dissimilar; upper one produced back- 
ward into a hollow spur about }{ in. 

Petals small, in 2 pairs; upper pair 
prolonged backward into spur enclosed 
by spurred sepal; each of lower pair 
often cleft to middle 

Seed pods (follicles) usually 3, some- 
times 5, about }'i in. long, erect, not 
spreading at tips, veiny, hairless, each 
tipped by persistent threadlike stalk 
(style) and splitting down along inside 

Stamens numerous 

Leaves alternate, mostly 5- to 7- 
lobed into wedge-shaped divisions which 
are again cleft, sometimes covered with 
a bluish, waxen bloom; upper leaves 
smaller, sparingly lobed or entire 

Stems stout, hollow, erect, up to 7 ft. 
high, very leafy, hairless, more or less 
covered with a bluish, waxen bloom 

Root stout, woody, perennial 

Sierra larkspur is a tall poisonous perennial herb of the buttercup 
family (Ranunculaceae). The specific name is derived from the 
Greek word glaucon, meaning bluish, and refers to the bluish, waxy 
bloom which usually covers the herbage of this plant. The species 
is commonly found in the mountains of California to western 
Nevada and northward to the Yukon River. This larkspur, typi- 
cally a plant of the high elevations (6,000 to 9.000 feet), is found 
in a variety of sites, but prefers rich, moist, shaded soils, along 
streams and in alpine meadows. 

Sierra larkspur is poisonous to cattle and horses, but apparently 
is not injurious to sheep. Although all parts of the young plants, 
except perhaps the flowers, are jxoisonous, these toxic properties 
disappear subsequent to the blooming stage and maturity. Unfor- 
tunately, cattle relish California larkspur in the early spring, when 
the young and succulent plants are particularly toxic and other 
forage is scarce. Accordingly, the practical method of preventing 
losses is to prohibit this class of livestock from grazing infested 
areas until late summer, when this larkspur is no longer harmful. 

The early symptoms of poisoning are similar to those produced 
by deathcamas the animal's muscles stiffen and the gait becomes 
irregular; later, the front legs give way, and the animal falls, usu- 
ally with muscles quivering. The animal kicks violently before 
death ensues. Poisoned animals become constipated, but usually 
recover if this condition is relieved. Bloating occurs in some cases. 
When the poisoning is sufficiently severe to produce fatal results, 
death ordinarily follows in a very short time. 1 In the treatment 
of larkspur poisoning, the animal's head is kept higher than the 
body and all unnecessary exercise prohibited. An injection, with a 
hypodermic syringe, is made of the following solution: 1 grain 
physostigmin salicylate; 2 grains pilocarpin hydrochlorid ; y 2 grain 
strychnin sulfate. This formula would apply to an animal weigh- 
ing 500 or 600 pounds. For a large animal or 1,000 pounds the dose 
should be doubled. For further details concerning this formula 
the genus notes for Delphinium (W58) should be consulted. 

Sierra larkspur is one of the so-called tall larkspurs. It is a 
large and showy plant, commonly from 2^ to 7 feet in height. 
The flowers are characteristically a deep purplish blue, and the 
ultimate leaf divisions are markedly jagged and sharp. The large 
lower leaves, as much as 6 inches across, are 5- to 7-lpbed and some- 
what resemble a maple or currant leaf. This species can be dis- 
tinguished from the other tall larkspurs by the tact that the seed 
pods are hairless, and the hairless leaves and stems are usually 
covered with a whitish or bluish waxen bloom which easily rubs off. 

1 Marsh, C. D., Clawson, A. B., and Marsh, H. LARKSPUR OR "POISON WEED." U. S. 
Dept. Agr. Farmers' Bull. 988, rev.. 13 pp., illus. 1934. Supersedes Bull. 531- 



Delphi'nium menzie'sii, syns. D. nelso'nii, D. pineto'rum 

Seed pods (follicles) 3, smooth to hairy, about 
X to % in. long, oblong-cylindrical, somewhat 
joined at base but recurving and widely spread- 
ing at tips, each splitting from tip downward 
along inside ridge, many-seeded, tipped by per- 
sistent short stalk (style) 

Flowers showy, dark blue or purplish, irregu- 
lar, hairy, sometimes somewhat sticky, each on 
a slender, ascending or spreading, bracted stalk, 
in 2- to several-flowered, elongating end clusters 

Outer flower parts (sepals) 5, petal-like, ir- 
regular, K to % in. long, spatula-shaped, oblong, 
the upper one prolonged into a slightly curved 
spur about equal in length to the sepals 

Petals 4, small, pale to brownish yellow with 
conspicuous, dark purplish veins, in 2 unequal 
pairs; the upper pair prolonged into spurlike, 
nectar-bearing appendages, and enclosed in 
the spurred sepal; lower pair clawed, with 
rounded, slightly cleft blade about % in. long 

Stamens numerous 

Stems slender, erect but bending easily, 
usually less than 1 ft. (rarely 2 ft.) high, spar- 
ingly leafy, usually branching at base, the 
branches widely spreading 

Leaves alternate, somewhat rounded or kid- 
ney-shaped in outline, palmately 3- to 5-parted 
and each of these divisions variously cleft- or 
lobed, smooth or hairy; lower leaves larger and 
longer-stalked than upper ones 

Root tuberous, clustered, perennial 

Spring larkspur, a perennial herb, probably the most widely dis- 
tributed of the low larkspurs, ranges from British Columbia to 
extreme northern California, New Mexico, and Montana. Its most 
abundant growth is probably in Colorado and Utah, though it is 
very common in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Wyoming, and New 
Mexico. It is typically a plant of the mountains, growing at alti- 
tudes from 1,000 feet or so in northwestern California and in the 
northern and northwestern parts of its range up to elevations at 
least as high as 10,500 feet in the Rocky Mountains, especially the 
more southern portion. The species grows in numerous associations, 
in aspen, openings in lodgepole pine, and in the sagebrush, oakbrush, 
and ponderosa pine belts, but is especially characteristic of open 
grass-weed-brush areas. Frequent associates are lupines, blue- 
grasses, wheatgrasses, and rabbitbrushes. It inhabits a variety of 
soils dry to moist, shallow and sandy, gravelly, or rocky, to deep 
rich loams or heavy clays. 

Spring larkspur causes heavy losses of cattle on the spring and 
early summer ranges. This poisonous species is probably the most 
destructive of the low larkspurs. It is widely distributed, occurs in 
dense masses, grows in a variety of soils, and is readily grazed. 
Most of the United States Department of Agriculture experiments 
with low larkspur have been concerned with this species. 1 The 
formula of the recommended remedy and the methods of its use are 
presented in detail in the genus notes (W58). 

No known losses of sheep or horses have occurred on the range 
from spring larkspur poisoning. This species is more palatable to 
sheep than to cattle and is sometimes grazed rather extensively by 
both classes of livestock when little other feed is available. Sheep 
generally prefer grasses and other weeds to the low larkspurs, and 
on some ranges in Idaho and Nevada spring larkspur is regarded as 
unpalatable to livestock. Due to the early seeding and subsequent 
dying down of spring larkspur on the range, it is usually safe to 
graze cattle after the first of July on areas which produce large 
quantities of this species, unless normal plant development is delayed 
by unfavorable weather or other conditions. 

Although low larkspurs are somewhat similar in appearance to 
tall larkspurs, their solitary stalks and low growth distinguish them 
from the tall larkspurs. The leaves of low larkspurs are few in 
number and are more finely dissected than those of most tall lark- 
spurs. As the common name spring larkspur indicates, this plant 
starts growth early, sending up a single, short (rarely 2 feet high), 
sparingly leafy stem with usually clustered, tuberous roots ; the stalk 
generally branches somewhat near its base. The showy, dark blue 
or purplish (rarely white) flowers open in May or early June; seed 
forms in late June or early July, varying with the elevation or sea- 
sonal and site conditions. After seeding, the plant dries up and 

1 Marsh, C. D.. Clawson, A. B., and Marsh, H. LARKSPUR OR "POISON WEED". U. S. Dept. 
Agr. Farmors' Bull. 088, rov., 13 pp., illns. 103-1. Supersedes Bull. 531. 



Delphi'nium occidenta'le, syns. D. abieto'rum, D. cuculla'tum 

Flowers grayish blue, blue or purplish, 
irregular, stalked, numerous, in a dense, 
often branched, end cluster (raceme) 

Outer flower parts (sepals) 5, petal- 
like, irregular, hairy, upper one pro- 
duced backward into a hollow spur, 
often so tipped as to suggest a dunce 

Petals small, in 2 pairs; upper pair 
yellowish, . spurlike, enclosed in sepal 
spur; lower pair with broad, wavy- 
margined lobes; stamens numerous 

Stems stout, hollow, leafy, erect, up 
to 6 ft. tall, usually hairless below but 
grayish with fine, closely pressed hairs 

Leaves alternate, mostly 6- to 7- 
divided; divisions usually lance-shaped 
or diamond-shaped, finely hairy to hairy 

Seed pods (follicles) usually 3 (some- 
times 5), straight, about J^ in. long, 
from sparingly sticky-hairy to densely 
hairy, each tipped by short, persistent, 
threadlike stalk (style), splitting down 
along inside ridge 

Root ^stout, woody, perennial 

Duncecap larkspur is a tall perennial herb of the buttercup family 
(Ranunculaceae). The specific name occidentale is Latin for west- 
ern, referring to the range of this plant. It is found in the higher 
mountains (5,000 to 11,500 feet) in all of the 11 far-western States 
except California, Arizona, and New Mexico. Duncecap larkspur 
grows in a variety of soils but prefers the richer loam soils in moist 
situations. This herb flourishes on both open and shaded sites and 
is common in aspen patches. 

Recent experiments have demonstrated that this species is poison- 
ous and is responsible for most of the deaths of cattle by larkspur 
in Montana. 1 While experiments have not definitely shown that this 
is true of larkspurs generally, and further study is necessary, the 
wisest range management must assume meanwhile that all species of 
larkspur, when abundant, are dangerous on cattle range. In the 
treatment of animals poisoned by larkspur the formula as given in 
the larkspur genus write-up (W58) should be used. 

On the whole, duncecap larkspur resembles other tall larkspurs. 
It is commonly 3 to 6 feet high, with leaves divided somewhat as a 
maple or currant leaf. It may be distinguished from Barbey lark- 
spur by the white, mildewy appearance of the upper part of the 
stalk, due to the presence of close-lying hairs upon the part, as con- 
trasted with the tawny, stick hairs which stand straight out on the 
stems of Barbey larkspur. The seed pods are usually densely hairy, 
whereas those of barbeyi are hairless. The spur is pointed and re- 
sembles a duncecap, which explains the common name. The flowers 
are grayish blue when in full bloom. 

1 Marsh, C. D. STOCK-POISONING PLANTS OF THE KANGE. U. S. Dept. Agr. Bull. 1245, 
rev., 75 pp., illus. 1929. Supersedes Bull. 575. 



Eri'geron spp., syn. Lep'tilon spp. 

Erigeron, a member of the aster tribe of the composite family 
(Compositae), is a large genus of annual, biennial, or perennial herbs 
with numerous small flowers in heads which have the appearance 
of a single flower. Plants of this genus are commonly known as 
fleabanes, daisies, and erigerons; the source of the name fleabane 
is from the supposed value of some species as flea repellants. Pre- 
sumably, when burned, at least some species of Erigeron were objec- 
tionable to insects; formerly bunches of the plants were hung in 
rural cottages for the purpose of excluding insects. However, the 
true fleabanes are European plants of other related genera, especially 
Pulicaria, and C&nyza. Daisy (or English daisy) is the accepted 
common name of the frequently cultivated, Old World plant, Bellis 
perennis, and, moreover, is popularly and rather loosely applied not 
only to species of Erigeron, but to asters {Aster spp.), oxeye daisy 
(Chrysanthemum leucanthemum) , and other plants with similar 
flower heads. In the West, daisy is almost universally used for 
species of Erigeron and, although the English generic name wild- 
daisy is not entirely satisfactory, it seems much preferable, at least 
from the range standpoint, to the rather inappropriate fleabane, 
even though that name is widely used in the East and in the horti- 
cultural trade. Erigeron, an old Greek plant name used by Dio- 
scorides and Theophrastus, reputedly was applied originally to 
some species of groundsel (Senecio). 

This genus is widely distributed in temperate and mountainous 
regions and is particularly well represented in the western United 
States, where probably more than 100 species occur, Colorado being 
the center of distribution. The wild-daisies occur in nearly all kinds 
of soils and in practically all plant types throughout the West. 

The palatability of the wild-daisies varies from practically worth- 
less to about fair or, in some instances, good. They are more palat- 
able to sheep and goats than to cattle, but are practically worthless 
for horses. Generally, those species with very hairy foliage are less 
palatable than the hairless species, and presumably are cropped to 
a greater extent on ranges where the forage is predominantly browse 
or grass, especially if such areas are used by sheep. Deer and elk 
also crop the wild-daisies. However, the majority of these plants 
are poor forage species, actually being nothing more than "weeds" 
and occupy space which, preferably, should be utilized by more 
palatable plants. Wild-daisies have undoubtedly increased on many 
areas which have 'been severely overgrazed. 

The flower heads of wild-daisies are generally composed of center 
(disk) flowers with yellow tubular corollas, which do not change 
to purple, and usually numerous, petallike outer (ray) flowers with 
pink, bluish, purplish, or white, narrow, strap-shaped corollas. The 
ray flowers are rarely yellow or orange and in a few species are 
entirely absent. The flower heads are usually borne on leafless 
stalks. The bracts surrounding the base of the flower heads are 

mostly in two rows (sometimes one or three), not herbaceous, nearly 
equal in length, rather loose, and only slightly overlapping. The 
stems are leafy; the leaves alternate and entire, toothed, lobed, or 
divided. The fruits, or "seeds" (achenes) are usually flattened, 
mostly two-nerved, and crowned by slender white bristles. 

Many species of western range plants, particularly asters, are 
sometimes confused with the wild-daisies, the flower heads of asters 
being similar to those of wild-daisies. In asters, however, the flower 
stalks tend to be somewhat coarser, less naked, and more leafy at 
the top than those of the wild-daisies ; their disk flowers turn reddish 
or brownish in drying, and their heads are generally somewhat more 
numerous. Moreover, the bracts surrounding the base of aster 
flower heads are usually in rows, strongly graduated, overlapping, 
somewhat herbaceous, and rather numerous and the petallike, mar- 
ginal, strap-shaped flowers (rays, or ligules) are much broader and 
fewer than in typical species of Emgeron. In view of these differ- 
ences, most asters and wild-daisies are easily distinguished from each 
other but, in a few cases, it is sometimes necessary to examine the 
tips (stigmas) of the threadlike stalks (styles) of the seed-produc- 
ing organ (ovary) and the brush of hairs (pappus) on the tips of 
the seedlike fruits for additional confirmation of identity. The 
stigmas in Aster tend to be narrow and sharp-pointed, rather than 
broad and blunt, as in Erigeron. The pappus on Aster fruits is 
simple and copious; that of Erigeron is often double (with a short 
outer series) and is more scanty and fragile. 

Many of the wild-daisies bear attractive flower heads and several 
species are grown as ornamentals both at home and abroad. At least 
two of these species, Oregon wild-daisy (E, specio'sus], and smooth- 
wild-daisy (E. gldbel'lus], are native to the West. Oregon wild- 
daisy has more or less woody stems from 12 to 24 inches high, with 
narrowly reverse-lance-shaped, stalkless stem leaves almost to the 
top, and fairly large heads of violet ray flowers. Smooth wild- 
daisy is a perennial with stems from 6 to 20 inches high, narrow 
leaves, and one to three large heads with violet-purple or white ray 
flowers. Various other western species are cultivated. 

Some of the wild-daisies reputedly have remarkable medicinal properties 
and are under suspicion as poisonous to livestock. Outstanding among these 
species is horseweed (E. canaden'sis, syn. Lep'tilon canaden'se), so called 
probably because of its. common occurrence in horse pastures. It is also 
known as Canada fleabane and, for some unknown reason, is often misnamed 
scabious. This annual is native to the eastern United States and is now 
diffused almost universally. The drug obtained from this plant physiologically 
produces smarting of the eyes, soreness of the throat, aching of the extremities, 
and prostration. It is reputed to be a diuretic, tonic, and astringent, being 
especially valuable in cases of chronic diarrhea, and in parturitional hemor- 
rhage. The species is a bristly-hairy plant with erect, wandlike stems 4 to 
12 inches high ; it has linear, entire stem leaves ; lobed basal leaves ; and 
numerous small flower heads with very short, inconspicuous ray flowers. 
Annual wild-daisy (E. an'nuus) and Philadelphia wild-daisy, misnamed sweet 
scabious (E. philadel'phicus), both native and widely distributed in the 
eastern United States, are other wild-daisies with similar properties. "These 
plants were well known to the northern Indians by the name of Cocash or 
Squaw-weed, as emmenagogues and diuretics." * 


bethtown, N. J. 1845. 



Eri'geron flagella'ris 

Flower heads-^-solitary, on leafless 
stalks 2 to 5 in. high; center (disk) 
about % in. wide 

Center (disk) flowers of heads numer- 
ous, small, yellow 

Outer (ray) flowers of heads rather 
numerous, white, pinkish or purplish, 
narrow, strap-shaped, about % in. long 

Bracts in a 2-rowed series (involucre) 
at base of flower head, equal, narrow, 
sharp-pointed, somewhat spreading 

Leaves alternate, narrow, about % to 
1 in. long on creeping stems; -basal 
leaves stalked, about % to 1% in. long, 
reverse lance-shaped to spatula-shaped, 
pointed, appressed-hairy 

Stems branched at base, spreading, 
leafy, the slender, runnerlike branches 
rooting at tips 

Taproots biennial 

Trailing wild-daisy^ sometimes known as trailing fleabane and, 
most commonly, as vine daisy or trailing daisy, is a small biennial 
with prostrate creeping stems which root at the tips. The specific 

name Hagellwns is from the Latin flayeltwn, meaning a whip, or a 
whiplike shoot or branch of a plant, and refers to the long, slender, 
runnerlike stems. Trailing wild-daisy ranges from Montana to 
South Dakota, New Mexico, Arizona, and Mexico, and is typically a 
mountain species, occurring chiefly in the ponderosa pine, aspen, 
and spruce belts. It grows in a wide variety of (mostly rather dry) 
soils, including heavy clays, rich loams, and sandy or gravelly soils, 
both in the open and in moderately dense shade of brush and timber 
types. Trailing wild-daisy, together with bluestem (Agropyron 
smithii) and a small rabbitbrush (CJirysotli<wnYWs sp.), often make 
up the sparse cover in the adobe soils of southwestern Colorado. 

Trailing wild-daisy is important on many of the western ranges, 
particularly in the Southwest, because of its abundance. It is some- 
times considered fair forage for sheep and deer and poor to fair for 
cattle. However, it is a small plant with the stems and leaves borne 
close to the ground so that but little of the foliage is easily available 
to grazing animals. 

Trailing wild-daisy is one of the range plants best adapted to grow 
on poor soils and, because it produces an abundance of seed and 
reproduces vigorously by means of creeping stems, it is able quickly 
to invade and revegetate depleted areas. This species is generally 
comparatively lightly grazed except on very closely utilized ranges, 
and its strong reproductive powers apparently enable it readily to 
replace the more palatable plants as they are destroyed by excessive 
grazing. Consequently, where trailing wild-daisy is abundant, con- 
sideration should be given to the possibility that the range has been 
severely overgrazed and the better cover depleted. 

Only a few of the American species of Erigeron produce runners 
similar to those of trailing wild-daisy. Creeping wild-daisy (E. 
repens), a species having broadly reverse-egg-shaped to broadly 
spatula-shaped, toothed or lobed leaves, occurs in Texas and Mexico. 
Early wild-daisy (E. vemus), an eastern species producing short 
offsets or stolons and several flower heads on each stem, grows in 
wet soils from Virginia to Florida and Louisiana. Two species, 
hoary wild-daisy (E. senilis) and shorn wild-daisy (E. tonsus), are 
reported only from New Mexico and may be merely forms of flagel- 
laris, the main differences being in the width and hairiness of the 
leaves and the size of the flower heads. E. tonsws is nearly hairless 
with small heads and E. senilis is very hairy and has blunt, reverse- 
egg-shaped to reverse-lance-shaped leaves. Sprawling wild-daisy 
(E. nwMflorus, syn. E. comvmi'xtus} , a species very similar to trailing 
wild-daisy, occurs from Colorado to Nevada, Arizona, and Texas 
and south into Mexico. This densely hairy species has narrowly re- 
verse-lance-shaped to spatula-shaped, entire or somewhat lobed basal 
leaves, and narrowly linear to reverse-lance-shaped stem leaves. The 
stems are branched at the base, but often are initially erect, the 
spreading branches being produced later. The flower heads are 
solitary, three-eighths of an inch wide at base, and have numerous 
white or pink ray flowers. Little information is available concern- 
ing the abundance and palatability of these close relatives, but it 
is probable that in low palatability and aggressive tendencies they 
resemble the trailing wild-daisy. 



Eri'geron macran'thus 

Flower heads rather large, usually 
several, borne in a somewhat flat- 
topped cluster, on stalks from the 
upper lenf axils 

Outer (ray) (lowers of heads numer- 
ous, narrow, strap-shaped, about 'j in. 
long, lilac to bluish purple 

Bracts in a 2-rowed series (involucre) 
around base of flower head, narrow, 
about equal, finely glandular 

Center (disk) (lowers of heads numer- 
ous, yellow, tubular 

"Seed' (aehene) flat, 2-nerved, 
crowned by numerous, slender, white 
bristles (pappus); outer bristles often 
somewhat scale-like 

Stems leafy, hairless or sparingly hairy 
above, up to 32, in. high 

Leaves alternate, entire, conspicuously 
long-hairy on the margin, 3-nervcd, dull 
green; basal leaves stalked, reverse- 
lance-shaped, 2 to 4 in. long; stem 
leaves oval to narrowly lance-shaped, 
long-pointed, stalkless, the lower ones 
nearly as large as basal leaves, the 
upper ones reduced, chiefly egg-shaped 

Kootstock short, underground 

Roots perennial 

Rocky Mountain wild-daisy is a somewhat tufted perennial with 
erect, leafy stems and daisylike flower heads with lilac or bluish 
purple ray flowers. The .specific name macranthus, derived from the 
Greek macros, long (hence, loosely, large), and anthot, flower, refers 
to the relatively large flower heads of this species. Rocky Moun- 
tain wild-daisy, as the name implies, occurs chiefly in the moun- 
tains from British Columbia to Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico, South 
Dakota, and Alberta. This species is found mainly in the upper 
ponderosa pine, aspen, lodgepole pine, and spruce belts in parks, 
meadows, and burns and in the sagebrush and aspen types, but also 
occurs in cut-over and other open timber stands, although usually 
it .does not grow in dense shade. It is a common weed in the better, 
moderately moist soils and is frequently locally abundant. 

The palatability of Rocky Mountain wild-daisy apparently varies 
in different localities. In Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, and parts 
of Idaho, where this species is most abundant, it usually rates as 
poor cattle forage and fair to fairly good for sheep. Elsewhere it 
is considered practically worthless as cattle forage and only poor 
forage for sheep. Under normal conditions, horses practically never 
crop this plant. Deer and elk graze it somewhat, but it probably is 
only an incidental item in the forage they graze. However, since 
it is relatively tall and leafy, and is very common and sometimes 
locally abundant on the mountain ranges, the species, undoubtedly, 
supplies a considerable amount of forage despite its low palatability. 

Although it bears a general resemblance to certain sister species of 
Erigeron, as well as to some of the asters (Aster spp.), Rocky Moun- 
tain wild-daisy is usually easy to identify if careful attention is 
paid to its species characters. The one to several flower heads are 
borne in somewhat flat-topped clusters on comparatively short stalks 
arising from the upper leaf axils. The central portion of the head 
(disk) is about five-eighths of an inch wide and is composed of flow- 
ers with tubular yellow corollas. The border of the head is formed 
of numerous flowers with very narrow, lilac to bluish purple, strap- 
shaped corollas about one-half of an inch long. The bracts sur- 
rounding the base of the flower heads are in two rows, somewhat 
spreading, narrow, about equal in length, and finely glandular but 
not hairy. The stems are erect and unbranched, solitary or tufted, 
and usually very leafy. The leaves are alternate, entire, conspicu- 
ously long-hairy on the margins, distinctly three-nerved, and dull 
green in color. The basal leaves are about 2 to 4 inches long, reverse- 
lance-shaped, and stalked; the stem leaves are oval to narrowly 
lance-shaped, stalkless, the lower ones being nearly as large as the 
basal leaves. This handsome plant is hardy and has proved to be 
very satisfactory in ornamental cultivation. 


Erio'gonum spp. 

(2 leaves) 

Flowers small, with 6 petal-like outer flower 
parts (calyx) but wthout petals, stalked, fe'w 
to many in a cuplike structure (involucre) 


Flowers white or pink, hairless, borne in 
nodding-stalked, bell-shaped, 5-lobed involucres 
scattered along the repeatedly 2- or 3-forked 
flowering branches; plant an annual 


Flowers usually white, sometimes rose or 
yellow, in stalkless, erect, cylindric, 5-toothed 
involucres clustered at ends or forks of flower- 
ing branches; leaves all basal; plant perennial 


Flowers pink or white, in stalkless, erect, 
tubular-bell-shaped, 5-toothed involucres scat- 
tered (racemose) along the flowering branches; 
each involucre with 3 scalelike, united bractlets 
sheathing it 

Leaves basal, long-stalked, elliptic or oblong, 
sometimes heart-shaped, densely woolly-hairy 
(at least beneath); plant perennial 


Flowers greenish or yellowish, in stalked, 
hairy, top-shaped, erectly 5-toothed involucres 
in small groups (cymes) borne in large, open, 
branched clusters (panicles) 

"Seeds" (achenes) winged (alate), hairless, 
up to about % in. "long 

Leaves mostly basal, tufted, somewhat spa- 
tula-shaped, up to about .4. in. long, bristly- 
hairy on upper surface and on midrib beneath; 
plant perennial 

SULPHUR ERIOGONUM (E. ufnbellatum) 

Flowers sulphur yellow, with calyx narrowed 
into a long, stalkhke base 

Involucres long-stalked, usually 3 to 9, top- 
shaped, with 8 bent-back lobes, in an umbrella- 
shaped cluster (simple umbel), with .a whorl 
of small, linear or reverse-egg-shaped, leaflike 
bracts at its base 

Stems erect, leafless, from a branching, woody 
base; plant perennial 

Eriogonums constitute a large, exclusively North American genus belonging 
to the buckwheat family (Polygonaceae). On a conservative basis at least 175 
species of Erfoffonum, occur in the western United States, the group ranking 
among the three largest genera of range plants. The buckwheat family also 
includes the well-known knotweeds (Polyyonum spp.), docks (Rumcx spp.), 
and such commonly cultivated plants as rhubarb (Rheum rhaponticum) and 
buckwheat (Fagopyrwn csculentum). Although sometimes known as wiklbuck- 
wheats, the eriogonums do not strikingly resemble their buckwheat cousin, ex- 
cept for their three-angled achenes. 

Growth habit within the genus is variable. The species may be frail an- 
nuals, herbaceous perennials, part shrubs, or genuine shrubs. Practically all 
species have well-developed taproots; some of the part shrubs have spreading 
or prostrate stems, which tend to root at the joints or near the ends. The 
herbaceous eriogonums frequently have but one main stem, which may be 
either simple or branched, and with or without leaves. Those species inclined 
to be shrubby usually have several stems, but often the flower-bearing portions 
are herbaceous, erect, and leafless (scapelike). The leaves are simple and 
entire, and in many herbaceous species are basal, but they may also occur 
alternately or in whorls on the stems; they are short-white-woolly in many 
species, but are dark green and hairless in some, at least on the upper surface. 
The individual flowers, mostly borne on tiny stalklets, are perfect, typically 
small, and usually occur in groups of several flowers, more or less protruding 
from a four- to eight-toothed flower-cluster cup (involucre). Although true 
petals are lacking, the more or less united outer flower parts (calyx, or peri- 
anth) are colored, petallike, six-parted or cleft and are persistent around the 
single, usually three-angled "seed" (achene) ; there are nine stamens. The 
flower clusters may be borne in heads, in stalked, umbrella-shaped groups 
(umbels), or scattered along the flowering branches, or at the ends of scapelike 

The eriogonums appear at practically all elevations, from sea level to above 
timber line. However, throughout their range they are plants of essentially 
dry situations, preferring rocky, sandy, and well-drained soils in regions of 
moderate or low rainfall, and can even withstand long and dry summers. They 
almost invariably grow in exposed, sunny, and warm sites, even when asso- 
ciated with brush, coniferous, or other woodland types. The genus is perhaps 
most abundantly represented in the foothill areas, especially those bordering the 
deserts of the Intel-mountain region. 

As a group the eriogonums are inferior forage plants. Their use is limited 
largely to spring and fall or winter. In the spring the new growth, especially 
in the herbaceous species, is somewhat succulent, so that livestock tend to crop 
it, or to nip off the flower heads as they develop. Because of the absence of 
more palatable forage during the fall or winter, the somewhat shrubby species 
are at least slightly grazed. Taken as a whole, the eriogonums, so far as their 
herbage is concerned, probably average from worthless to poor for cattle, 
and from poor to fair for sheep. Livestock, however, particularly sheep, are 
fond of the flowering tops and frequently pick these off and ignore the rest. 

The eriogonums seldom form extensive patches or become the dominant vege- 
tation, but are characteristically scattered with greater or less frequency among 
associated plants ; exceptions to this rule include the local concentration of 
some annual species on depleted areas. 

A number of species, by reason of wide distribution, local frequency, or some 
other factor, rate special mention. Nodding eriogonum (E. cer'nuwn), for 
example, is often common in waste places and overgrazed areas on the plains, 
foothills, and in canyons upward to the spruce belt. It ranges from Alberta 
and Saskatchewan, to Nebraska, Kansas, New Mexico, California, and Oregon. 
This annual usually grows from 6 to 12 inches high, and is much branched, 
especially above. The small white or pinkish flowers are borne in numerous, 
characteristically nodding, stalked clusters scattered along the branches of the 
inflorescence. This species is negligible as a forage plant. 

Desert-trumpet (E. infla' turn) , sometimes called Indianpipe weed, is another 
interesting annual, which ranges from Colorado and New Mexico to California, 
and is common along washes and on mesas and desert areas. As the specific 
name inflatum suggests, the tubular stems, naked except for the basal leaves, 
are inflated and trumpetlike near their ends, and somewhat resemble a cigarette 
holder. After the terminal, diffusely branched inflorescences fall off (often as 

(leaf 2) 

units) and are blown away, the remaining stems whiten and tend to separate 
at the joints into pieces, which, when strewn over the ground, have given rise 
to the book name cigaretteplant, sometimes applied to this species. 

Broom eriogouum (E. vimi'ncum) has several wiry stems much branched 
above; the branches have a broomlike appearance, being borne rather stiffly 
erect. The stalkless, rose-colored, or yellowish flower clusters are scattered. 
Nowhere throughout its range, from Washington and Idaho to Utah, Arizona, 
and California, is this annual at all important as a forage plant. 

Sorrell eriogonum (E. polycla'don) is a densely white-woolly annual with 
erect, many-branched stems from about 12 to 20 inches high. Its numerous, 
bright rose pink flowers, rather suggestive of sorrel, are borne in slender, one- 
sided racemes. It occurs scatteringly in dry, open, sandy, or gravelly plains 
and foothills from western Texas to Arizona, and has a little local utility 
as a sheep and cattle weed. Bidwell and Wooton * have published a chemical 
analysis of this plant. 

The perennial eriogonums can be roughly arranged in three groups: (1) 
herbaceous, (2) partly shrubby, and (3) shrubs. Those species in the first 
group usually have stout taproots, a basal rosette of leaves, and annually 
produce herbaceous stems during a relatively short period in the spring, when 
moisture conditions are favorable. A number of the species in this group are 
common and widely distributed in the range country. 

Wing eriogonum (E. ala'tum), a large, rather coarse, hairy weed with an 
erect, more or less leafy main stem, usually from 12 to about 40 inches high, 
and a much-branched (paniculate) inflorescence, is distributed from southern 
"Wyoming to Nebraska, Texas, Arizona, and Utah. It prefers dry, sandy soils 
in open situations, occurring scatteringly among sagebrush and other dry-site 
plants from the foothills upward to the spruce belt. Where sufficiently abun- 
dant this is a fair species on southwestern goat and sheep ranges. 

Rush eriogonum (E. ela'tum), so called because of its rushlike, almost leaf- 
less stems, is another rather tall, perennial, herbaceous eriogonum, sometimes 
attaining a height of about 3 feet. The common name catsfoot is frequently 
applied to this plant on account of its rounded clusters of whitish flowers 
borne principally at the ends of the repeatedly three-forked flowering branches. 
The erect, long-stalked, basal leaves, especially on the more robust individuals, 
sometimes strikingly resemble those of a small arrowleaf balsamroot (Balsam- 
orhiza sagittata). Rush eriogonum prefers the drier, rather rocky sites. Al- 
though widely distributed and common it occurs from Washington to Idaho, 
Nevada, and California it lacks forage importance. 

Barestem eriogonum (E. nu'dum), sometimes called tibinagua, varies greatly 
in aspect and characters ; at least nine of its varieties have been published. 
Typically, it has tall, slender, hairless steins, with basal leaves arising from 
a short woody root crown. The slender-stalked leaves are densely short-white- 
woolly beneath, but soon become hairless on the upper surface, or nearly so. 
The flowers are usually white, but sometimes are rose-colored or yellow, and 
are borne in clusters on a repeatedly two- or three-forked inflorescence. Bare- 
stem eriogonum grows scatteringly throughout the dry hills, valley flats, and 
mountain slopes from Washington to California and Nevada ; a peculiar form, 
tentatively identified as this species, has been collected on the Weiser National 
Forest, west central Idaho. The young, succulent stems are palatable but, later 
in the season, livestock but rarely display any interest in them. 

Redroot eriogonum (E. racemo' sum) is a white-woolly herb with one or 
more stoutish stems, usually from 8 to 32 inches high, arising from a thick, 
red-colored, woody taproot. Stalkless, close-pressed groups of white or pink 
flowers are borne in one-sided, spikelike clusters (cymes). The petal-like 
flower lobes (perianth) enlarge as the seed develops. Redroot eriogonum grows 
scatteringly on dry plains, in canyons, and on mountain slopes of the sagebrush 
belt upward to the spruce belt, from Colorado to Texas, Arizona, and Nevada. 
It is hardly important as a forage plant, although deer on the Kaibab Na- 
tional Forest, northern Arizona, have been reported as eating the stalks. 

Three species of low, more or less cushionlike, eriogonums woody at the base 
may be mentioned because of their wide distribution and abundance : 

STATES. U. S. Dept. Agr. Bull. 1345, 40 pp., illus. 1925. 

James eriogonum (E. jame'sii), known locally as antelope sage, ground 
chaparral, ground eriogonum, and redroot, ranges from Kansas and Colorado 
to Arizona, Texas, and south into northern Mexico. Although its base is 
woody and somewhat branched, it is not so conspicuously cushionlike in ap- 
pearance as the other two species mentioned immediately below, on account 
of the spreading stems and the repeatedly and irregularly forked, erect flower 
stalks with their leafy nodes. The long-stalked, spatula-shaped or oblong, 
mostly basal leaves are green and sparingly woolly-hairy above and densely 
gray- woolly-hairy beneath. Probably the most characteristic feature of this 
species is the repeatedly and irregularly branching (proliferating) habit of the 
headlike clusters of whitish or pale yellowish flowers which often become some- 
what pink in age. In general, James eriogonum is almost worthless as forage. 

Cushion eriogonum (E. ovalifo' Hum) , sometimes called ovalleaf eriogonum 
or silver plant, ranges from British Columbia and Alberta southward to New 
Mexico, Arizona, and California, and prefers exposed, rather rocky sites on 
plains and slopes from the sagebrush to the spruce belts. The color of the 
flowers varies from whitish or yellowish to pink, rose, wine-red, or even pur- 
plish ; these color differences have been considered by some botanists as deserv- 
ing varietal, or even specific, rank. The low cushion of leaves from the short, 
closely branched, woody caudex, and the numerous, rather short and slender 
scapelike flower stalks with their single, headlike flower clusters, constitute 
the characteristic growth habit of the species. Although cuehion eriogonum 
is cropped to some extent by sheep and goats as good winter feed and on 
some exposed sites is a valuable ground cover, it is generally very sparse. 

Piper eriogonum (E. pi' peri) is a northwestern species, ranging on high 
open, sunny sites from Washington and Oregon to Montana and northwestern 
Wyoming. It resembles yellow eriogonum (E. fla'vum) of the Rocky Moun- 
tains, differing mainly in its taller flower stalks and long-soft-hairy rather 
than woolly-hairy leaves. The woody, short-branched, cushionlike root crown is 
covered by long-stalked, erect leaves and numerous, slender flower stalks often 
8 to 10 inches in height, which give the plant a herbaceous aspect. The green- 
ish yellow hairy flowers, often tipped with scarlet in age, are borne in an 
equally five- to eight-rayed headlike umbel, subtended by a whorl of small 
leaves. Piper eriogonum is practically worthless as forage, and has become 
conspicuously abundant on certain badly depleted ranges in the Blue Mountains. 

The partly shrubby species are divided more or less roughly into two types : 
(1) those with short, woody-branched root crown or stem bases that form 
dense leafy mats from which the erect flower stalks arise, and (2) those with 
spreading and woody stems, along which, particularly at the ends, are short, 
woody, upright leafy branches, whence the herbaceous flower stalks are 
produced. This second group of part shrubs is more important from a range 
standpoint than the first. Its members are very numerous, widely distributed in 
the range country, and are of low palatability. 

Wyeth eriogonum (E. heracleoi'des), also called Indian-tobacco, was first 
collected about a hundred years ago by Nathaniel B. Wyeth, an American 
traveler and trader. The specific name heradeoides doubtless refers to a 
fancied resemblance of the large, umbrella-shaped clusters of yellowish flowers 
to those of the cowparsnip (Heracleum laruitum). Wyeth eriogonum is a 
much-branched plant, attaining a height of about 20 inches, with spreading, 
rather woody stems from which upright, more or less herbaceous stalks arise 
that bear a whorl of leaves near their middle. A rather dense covering of 
woolly hairs gives it a somewhat grayish appearance. It prefers the dry slopes 
of the ponderosa pine, aspen, and spruce belts, and is often associated with sage- 
brush and lanceleaf yellowbrush. Throughout its range, from British Columbia, 
Montana, and Wyoming to Utah and Nevada, this species is scattered and 
common, but seldom abundant and has little or no forage value. 

Sulphur eriogonum (E: umbella'tum), a variable species of which numerous 
varieties have been proposed, has a wide range, extending from Montana, 
Wyoming, and Colorado west to the Pacific Coast States. It prefers open, dry 
situations in the valleys and on the mountain sides upward to the subalpine 
belt, but is seldom abundant. Typically it has showy, sulphur-yellow flowers in 
several-rayed, umbrella-like flower clusters subtended by a whorl of leaves. 
The rather bare (scapelike), herbaceous flower stalks arise from a branched, 
woody base which is tufted with leaves at the nodes. 

Some of the representative shrub species of Eriogonum are treated briefly in 
connection with the discussion of Wright buckwheatbrush (B75). 



Ero'dium cicuta'rium 

Flowers stalked, in few-flowered, um- 
brella-shaped clusters (umbels) which 
arise from leaf axils; each umbel with 
usually 4 bracts (involucre) at its 

Petals 5, pink with darker veins of 
rose or purple, often much reduced in 
size in the later flowers, early falling off 

Outer flower parts (sepals) 5, green- 
ish, hairy, slightly shorter than the 
petals, narrow, pointed, with 1 or 2 
bristlelike hairs (awns) at tips 

Stamens 10 in all, 5 with pollen sacs, 
(anthers) alternating with 5 scalelike 
stalks (staminodia); anther stalks (fila- 
ments) dilated, purplish 

Stems 3 to 12 in. long, leafy 

Leaves at first in a basal rosette only, 
later also opposite on the stems, di- 
vided, hairy, with scalelike bracts 
(stipules) at the bases 

Leaflets short-etalked, with margins 
deeply cut, the lobes acute, often 

Taproot rather slender 

Seed pod (capsule) of 5 parts (carpels) 
which are united and joined to central 
column when young but separate at 
maturity; threadlike stalks (styles) 
hairy or bearded on inner surfaces, 
separating and spirally coiling at ma- 

"Seeds" (carpels) narrow, spindle- 
shaped, each tipped by an elongated 
tail (persistent style) 1 to 2 in. long, 
sharp-pointed and somewhat hairy at 

Alflleria, also known as alfilerilla, fllaree or redstem filaree, heronbill, pin- 
clover, pingrass r and storksbill, is an annual herb of the geranium family 
(Geraniaceae). This family is represented in the United States by two genera, 
Geranium and Erodium, both of which are easily recognized by their distinctive, 
beaked fruiting structures. In Erodium the hairy tails on the "seeds" (carpels) 
become spirally twisted and form a remarkable device of great importance in 
planting the sharp-pointed "seeds" effectively, since they unwind when moist- 
ened (hygroscopic motion) , thus boring into the ground and firmly anchoring the 
seed. This species is a somewhat hairy weed of the rosette type, but it some- 
times forms clumps. It is considerably branched from the base, and the 
reddish-colored stems are low and spreading or somewhat ascending. The 
name, Erodium, is from the Greek word, erodios (a heron). Alfileria is de- 
rived from the Spanish word alfiler meaning a pin. The name alfileria, some- 
times spelled alfilaria, is now most often pronounced al-fill-ear'-ree-ah. 

This plant is a native of Europe and has been introduced into the New World 
from the Mediterranean region, which is its original home. It is now well 
established in southern Canada and most of the United States, especially in the 
warmer areas, and extends into Mexico. It is common in all of the western 
range States and thrives particularly well in so-called desert ranges of Arizona 
and in the valleys and foothills of California, where it probably reaches its 
maximum growth in this country. The plant appears to have been introduced 
into the Southwest by the Spanish Conquistadores and later to have invaded 
other portions of the North American continent from that region. It, occurs 
from the desert up to the aspen belt, but is most common in semiarid valleys 
and canyons and on the plains, mesas, and foothills of the pinon-juniper type 
(Upper Sonoran Zone). It grows well in sandy soils and often occurs on waste 
land and denuded areas. That the species is an aggressive invader, which 
spreads very rapidly, is indicated by the wide distribution which it has achieved 
since its introduction into this country. 

Alfileria furnishes choice spring forage for all classes of livestock and is 
also relished by deer and possibly by other game animals. It makes a very 
vigorous growth early in the spring and is one of the very first plants to 
begin development at that time. In the most arid portions of its range it 
matures rapidly, dries up readily, and soon disappears. It also supplies winter 
forage, since it often begins to grow in the Southwest after the fall rains and 
may remain green all winter, if the season is mild, and it may even achieve 
some growth during the warm periods. Thomber x indicates that alfileria is 
perhaps the most valuable species of the group of winter annuals in Arizona, 
where the dried and discolored stems are often eaten by livestock until the 
beginning of the summer rains, when other forage becomes available. Together 
with Indianwheat (Plantago) it is one of the outstanding sheep weeds on 
desert lambing grounds about Phoenix, Ariz. 

Over much of its range, alfileria occurs as a small, rather scattered plant 
and, under such conditions, produces but little forage. However, on favorable 
areas in the Southwestern States and California and, to some extent, elsewhere, 
it produces in the aggregate a large amount of herbage. On such ranges, 
where it grows in abundance, it often provides a large portion of the spring 
forage over extensive areas. It tends to hug the ground closely on heavily 
grazed range and thus somewhat protects itself by becoming less readily acces- 
sible. It evidences a marked ability to reproduce and maintain itself, and even 
succeeds in spreading on arid lands in spite of heavy grazing. This aggres- 
siveness, coupled with its palatability and nutritive value, make alfileria a 
highly esteemed forage plant on many ranges. 

The flowering period usually from February to May varies considerably, 
depending upon the region and the amount and distribution of seasonal rainfall. 
As a rule the seeds germinate in the fall or winter. Sampson 2 found that 
the germination of alfileria seed is high when collected in the late fall, but 
low when collected in the early summer and that, in artificial reseeding with 
the species, some preliminary soil treatment is necessary. 

1 Thornber, J. J. THE GRAZING RANGES OF ARIZONA. Ariz. Agr. Expt. Sta. Bull. 65 : 
[245J-360, illus. 1910. 

Forest Serv. Invest. 2 : 14-17. 1913. 


Eschschol'tzia califor'nica 

(2 leaves) 

Flowers large, showy, on flower stalks 
2 to 6 in. in length 

Outer flower parts (sepals) 2, united 
into a beaked cap that is pushed off by 
the unfolding petals 

Petals 4, % to 2 in. long, fan-shaped, 
shiny, deep orange to straw-colored 

Stamens numerous, yellow, short, at- 
tached to base of petals 

Enlarged stem tip (receptacle or 
torus) hollow, crowned by a spread- 
ing rim 

Seed pod (capsule) linear, 1 to 3 
(rarely 4) in. long, 1-celled, 10-ribbed, 
many-seeded ; seeds net-veined, spherical 

Leaves several times (ternately) di- 
vided into linear or oblong segments, 
with stalks of varying length, the en- 
tire leaf % to 1 ft. long, smooth and 
bluish ; stem leaves smaller 

Stems-^-several to many, erect 
spreading, branched, usually leafy, 
to 2 ft. high 

Taproot deep, stout, perennial, de- 
veloping large root crown in older plants 

Lith. A. Hoen & Co. 

California-poppy has attracted wide attention because of its abun- 
dance and great beauty. Much has been written about its charm, and 
many legends bear testimony to the fascination it has exercised 
on those who know it in its native haunts. Californians selected 
it for their State flower in 1890, thus making it the first generally 
accepted State flower in the Union. The early Spanish inhabitants 
called it copa de ora (cup of gold), and legend explains that the 
orange petals, turning to gold, filled the soil with the precious metal 
so eagerly sought for by the Forty-niners. The large, beautiful flow- 
ers unfold only in the full sunlight; when the plants are abundant 
the whole landscape may be gilded by their intense color. The 
species easily ranks among the most attractive native plants of 
the Pacific coast. Originally, it occurred from the lower Columbia 
River country to Lower California, in Mexico, and east to Arizona, 
but attained its best development and greatest abundance in the 
foothills and valleys of California. Garden escapes have increased 
its range so that it now appears, at least occasionally, in most of 
the Western States. 

This species most commonly grows in patches or extensive fields, 
but always in the full sunlight. It occurs in a considerable variety 
of soils, provided they are porous or that there is sufficient slope for 
surplus moisture to drain away. Common sites are idle grain fields, 
railroad rights-of-way, and dry washes, but the plant becomes espe- 
cially abundant on low, open, unused, or lightly grazed hills. The 
species is generally limited to low elevations, seldom growing natu- 
rally above 2,500 feet in California and occurring below the pon- 
derosa pine belt throughout its natural range. 

The foliage of California-poppy is not very palatable to live- 
stock; it is rated as poor forage for cattle and fair for sheep. This 
deficiency in forage value appears to be due to some disagreeable 
taste, as otherwise the foliage has desirable qualities, being soft and 
juicy and remaining green long after the common associated plants 
have matured. It seems to have a higher palatability as a silage. In 
one study of plants harvested in full bloom, the cured silage was 
wet and slimy, with a pleasant odor and was eaten readily by cat- 
tle. 1 Livestock losses have been reported as due to California-poppy, 
although the toxic effect has not been verified by experimental feed- 
ing. The close relationship of this species to the opium poppy 
(Papaver somn-iferum) of the Old World doubtless explains, in part, 
why the former is sometimes suspected to be poisonous. 

California-poppy is cultivated extensively as an ornamental, usu- 
ally as a hardy annual, in most temperate climates and has now 
become naturalized in Europe, Australia, and elsewhere. The large, 
showy flowers and attractive bluish green foliage adapt this species 
for border plantings. In its native habitat, the bright, highly col- 
ored blossoms are extensively gathered for home decoration. The 
Indians are reputed to have used it as a food, boiling or roasting 
the foliage and then rinsing in water before eating. The Spanish- 
Americans prized as a hair oil a concoction made by boiling the 

1 Westover, H. L. SILAGE PALATABILITY TESTS. Jour. Amer. Soc. Agron. 26(2) : 
106-116. 1934. 

(leaf 2) 

leaves in olive oil, straining and adding perfume. 2 The foliage 
yields a drug that has some use as a harmless substitute for mor- 
phine to relieve headache and insomnia. This species, however, does 
not contain opium, although it does apparently produce a small 
amount of morphine. 3 

A very variable plant, California-poppy has been the subject of 
considerable taxonomic study. The species E. Columbians and E. 
douglasii of Oregon and Washington, for example, are sometimes 
considered variations of E. calif orniica. In California, the appar- 
ent difference of various geographic races largely disappeared when 
they were grown under identical conditions. 4 In the Sacramento 
and San Joaquin Valleys, one variety (E. californica crocea) has 
two seasonal phases: 4 In the spring the stems are numerous and 
erect, the flowers are large and deep orange, and the receptacle ring 
very pronounced; in the summer the stems are fewer and more 
spreading, the buds much shorter and not long-pointed, the flowers 
small, pale or straw-colored, and the receptacle ring much reduced. 

The individual plants of California-poppy are fairly compact, 
having many leaves and numerous stems. The foliage contains a 
colorless juice, but the juice of the roots may sometimes be reddish. 
The flowers appear in the spring, although, as mentioned previously, 
some varieties (as crocea) bloom again in the summer or fall. 


Eschschol'tzia spp. 

The goldpoppies, a western North American genus of the poppy 
family (Papaveraceae), are annual or perennial herbs with watery, 
bitter juice. All the species resemble California-poppy in having 
stalked (petioled), ternately divided leaves, 2 sepals united into a 
cap, which is pushed oft by the 4 unfolding, shiny and orange or 
straw-colored petals, and elongated, many-seeded capsules. The 
species are most abundant in California. The genus was named by 
the eminent German author, traveler, and botanist, Adelbert von 
Chamisso, in honor of his friend and co-worker, Dr. J. F. Esch- 
scholtz, who was his companion during the Kotzebue scientific expe- 
dition around the world, visiting California in 1816. 

As a group goldpoppies inhabit well-drained, sunny slopes, in the 
foothills and valleys and desert areas below the ponderosa pine belt. 

Several species, notably E. mexieana. and E. glyptosperma,, occur 
in the desert areas, growing in the sagebrush and creosotebush (Cowl- 
lea) belts in the Intermountain and Southwest regions. These spe- 
cies, however, are relatively unimportant on the range, being of 

8 Smith, E. E. THE GOLDEN POPPY. 231 pp., illus. Palo Alto, Calif. 1902. 

8 Wood, H. C., Remington, J. P., and Sadtler, S. P., assisted by Lyons, A. B., and 


WOOD AND DR. FRANKLIN BACHE. Ed. 19, thoroughly rev. and largely rewritten . . . 
1,947 pp. Philadelphia arid London. 1907. 

illus. Berkeley, Calif. [1925.] 

sparse or local distribution. Of the various species California-poppy 
is the most important, being the largest and the only one of the 
genus that grows in such profusion as sometimes to dominate the 
landscape with its gaudy color. 

The members of this genus do not yield opium. This drug is de- 
rived from the juice of the opium poppy, which is extensively culti- 
vated in the Old World. 


Fraga'ria glau'ca, syn. F. ova'lis glau'ca 

(2 leaves) 

Flowers white, stalked, about % in. 
across, in a bracted cluster at end of 
usually leafless, silky-hairy stalk which 
rarely overtops the leaves 

Stameqs numerous, in about 3 rows 

Outer united flower parts (calyx) 
flat, with 5, triangular- or oval-lance- 
shaped lobes alternating with 5, nar- 
rower and shorter, green bractlets 

Petals 5, reverse-egg-shaped, about 
twice as long as the calyx 

Fruit (strawberry) about X in. in 
diameter, nearly globe-shaped, consist- 
ing of the calyx and bractlets and the 
enlarged, fleshy receptacle studded with 
numerous small "seeds" .(acbenes) in 

Leaves all basal, divided into 3 seg- 
ments (leaflets); leafstalks long, usu- 
ally silky-hairy, .with adherent, mem- 
branous bracts (stipules) at their bases 

Leaflets 1 to 2 in. long, broadly 
reverse-egg-shaped, covered with a blu- 
ish, waxy bloom (glaucous), hairless 
above, silky-hairy beneath, becoming 
hairless in age; edges coarsely toothed; 
center leaflet short-stalked 

Runners (stolons) long, slender, 
jointed near middle, rooting at tips 

Rootstocks short, scaly, perennial 

Roots fibrous 

Blueleaf strawberry, one of the most common and widespread of 
the native western strawberries, may properly be considered as 
representative of the genus Fragaria in the West. The common 
name blueleaf and the specific name glaitca both refer to the bluish 
white, waxy bloom on the lower surface of the leaves. This straw- 
berry appears from Alaska and the District of Mackenzie south to 
Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and South Dakota. It occurs at 
altitudes between 3,000 and 8,000 feet in Montana, but in Colorado, 
principally from about 8,000 to 11,500 feet. Blueleaf strawberry 
thrives on dry to moist, sandy or clayey loam soils in the open woods, 
aspen groves, and meadows of the foothills and mountains, espe- 
cially in canyons of the aspen and spruce belts. It is never very 
abundant and usually occurs as scattered individuals, although occa- 
sionally growing in small patches on satisfactory sites. 

This species possesses but little forage value, having a palatability 
of from practically worthless to poor, or occasionally fair, for sheep 
and is practically worthless for cattle. The fruit frequently attains 
fair size and is of good flavor, being eaten readily by birds and 
various small rodents. It is unimportant for human consumption, 
seldom producing enough berries in any one patch to provide much 
fruit at one time. 

STRAWBERRIES (Fraga'ria spp.) 

The genus Fragaria, belongs to the rose family (Rosaoeae) . 
Strawberries are low, apparently stemless, perennial herbs with 
underground, scaly rootstocks; they also have runners, which root 
at the tips, producing new plants. The generally rather numerous, 
basal leaves are composed of three, usually toothed leaflets; the 
rather long leafstalks (petioles) are sheathed at the base by a pair 
of membranous bracts (stipules). The flowers are white, rarely 
reddish, borne in flat-topped clusters on usually leafless stems 
(scapes), the central flowers being the first to blossom. The numer- 
ous, short, seed-producing organs (pistils) are borne on a cone- 
shaped, fleshy receptacle. The pistils, ripening into small, hard 
"seeds" (achenes), persist on the receptacle, which becomes pulpy 
and enlarged to form the familiar, edible "berry". 

Strawberries are native in Europe, northern Asia, North America, 
and the cooler portions of India and South America. They extend 
from the low plains to alpine elevations in the high mountains, both 
in open, sunny situations and in the shade of brush and timber. 
Some 150 species have been described ; actually, however, the genus 
probably includes less than 50 conservatively valid species. Lead- 
ing authorities 1 report about 27 species in North America, of which 
approximately 11 are found on western ranges. The fact that thesei 
plants cross freely and produce mostly perfect hybrids, must be 
considered in estimating the accurate number of true species. 

The generic name Fragaria comes from the Latin fragwm, straw- 
berry, a word derived from fragrans, fragrant, alluding to the at- 
tractive odor of the fruit. The origin of the common name straw- 
berry is somewhat obscure ; many authorities derive it from the An- 

1 Rydberg, P. A. KOSACEAB (PARS). North Amer. Flora 22 : 293-388. 1908. 

(leaf 2) 

glo-Saxon streaw'benge (streafw, straw, and berige, berry) , which, in 
turn, they say is so named from the resemblance of the plant runners 
to straws. Some authors (more plausibly) state that the Anglo- 
Saxon name means stray berry, because the runners cause the plants 
to stray from their original location. 2 The statement often heard, 
that strawberries are so named from being strawed to keep the berries 
clean is a fallacy, as the name of these plants obviously far antedates 
their cultivation. 

These species are relatively unimportant as forage, generally rating 
as practically worthless or poor; they are grazed to a limited ex- 
tent by livestock, except horses. Certain species, however, rank in 
some localities as fair in palatability for sheep and cattle, deer and 
elk. The fruits are relished by birds and rodents. The Indians have 
long esteemed these berries as a delicacy ; in fact, most persons find 
time to linger for a few minutes in any patch of ripe wild straw- 
berries to partake of the small but very appetizing fruits. In the 
words of quaint old Dr. Boteler (as quoted by Izaak Walton in his 
Compleat Angler), "Doubtless God could have made a better berry, 
but doubtless God never did." 

The records fail to show that strawberries were cultivated by 
the Romans, who knew these plants exclusively as wild fruit. Straw- 
berries were cultivated in France as early as the fourteenth cen- 
tury, 2 3 but it was not until the sixteenth century that frequent men- 
tion is made of this table delicacy by various European writers, who 
refer both to the wild fruits and to those cultivated in gardens. 4 
The Flemish botanist, de 1'Obel (1538-1616), after whom our plant 
genus Lobelia is named, was apparently the first to give a distinct 
name to a cultivated variety of strawberry when, in 1576, he desig- 
nated a variety of the Hautbois strawberry (F. moscha'ta, syn. 
F. elaftior), having a large pale-colored berry, as Le Chapiron (or, 
later, Chapiton). 4 The early American colonists were much im- 
pressed by the abundance as well as the large size and sweet, agree- 
able flavor of the wild Virginia strawberry (F. Virginia? no) , which 
was superior to any of the three native European species; Virginia 
strawberry was forthwith introduced into England, where it became 
widely known and was improved under cultivation. In the mean- 
time, the large, firm-fruited Chiloe strawberry (F. chiloen' sis} , a 
native of the Pacific coast from Alaska to Chile, was introduced into 
France from Chile in 1712 by a French officer named Frezier. Straw- 
berry culture was not begun in North America on any scale until 
about 1800, because of the abundant supply of appetizing wild ber- 
ries. There were, however, collections in private gardens of English- 
improved varieties of Virginia strawberry, Chiloe strawberry, the 
"pine" strawberry (F. cmanas'sa, syn. F. grandiflo'ra), and the na- 
tive European species, i. e., alpine strawberry (F. ves'ca), often 

2 Bobbins, W. W., and Ramaley, F. PLANTS USEFUL TO MAN. 428 pp., illus. Phila- 
delphia. 1933. 

BREEDING. 234 pp., illus. New York. 1917. 

Trans. (1888), Pt. 1:191-204. 1888. 

called wood strawberry, and the Hautbois strawberry, all of which 
had been introduced from Europe. 3 

The exact origin of our present garden strawberries is unknown, 
although the general opinion is that they are hybrids from the Vir- 
ginia and Chiloe strawberries. 5 6 The pine strawberry, progenitor of 
our modern strawberry, which first appeared in Europe about 1750, 
apparently was a hybrid of these two species. 3 5 Recent genetical re- 
search 5 strongly indicates that neither the alpine nor the Hautbois 
strawberry played a part in the development of the garden type, de- 
spite that the alpine strawberry became naturalized in this country 
at an early date. It is notable, however, that the Hovey strawbc-rry 
(parentage uncertain), originating in Boston in 1834, was the first 
named variety of any fruit produced in North America by systematic 
plant breeding. 3 

Strawberry breeding, designed to improve the flavor and shipping 
quality, and to develop strains adapted to a particular climate, has 
been carried on rather extensively, especially in recent years. The 
United States Department of Agriculture has sponsored much of 
this work; Government specialists have been experimenting with 
strawberries since 1920 in Maryland, North Carolina, and Oregon. 8 7 
Thousands of hybrid seedlings have been produced as a result of the 
use of both wild and cultivated varieties of strawberries as experi- 
mental (parent) stock. The wild stock included some 75 collections 
of native strawberries of the West made by national forest officers, 
working in cooperation with the Division of Eange Research of the 
United States Forest Service. As a result of this intensive breeding 
work seven new and superior varieties of strawberries were selected 
and introduced to the trade by 1925. 6 

3 See footnote on preceding page. 

5 Mangelsdorf, A. J. ORIGIN OF THE GARDEN STRAWBERRY. Jour. Heredity 18: 177-184, 
illus. 1927. 

6 Darrow, G. M., Waldo, G. F., Schuster, C. E., and Pickett, B. S. TWELVE TEARS OF 
STRAWBERRY BREEDING . . . Jour. Heredity 25 (11) : 451-462, illus. 1934. 

7 Darrow, G. M., Waldo, G. F., and Schuster, C. E. TWELVE YEARS OF STRAWBERRY 
BREEDING. Jour. Heredity 24 : 391-402, illus. 1933. 



Ga'lium borea'Ie 

Flowers white, small (about ,'i in. wide), 
numerous, stalked, borne in branched, showy 
end cluster.? (compound cymes) 

Threadlike stalks (styles) 2-branched, tip- 
ping seed-producing organ (ovary), with knob- 
like ends (stigmas) 

United petals (corolla) wheel-shaped, with 4 
spreading lobes; outer Mower parts (sepals) 

Stamens 4, alternating with corolla lobes 

Seed pod (capsule) globular, about y lt in. in 
diameter, 2-celled, 2-sccdcd, somewhat stilf- 
hairy to smooth, dry and separating into ?. 
parts when mature 

Stems erect, up to about 2y 2 ft. high, 4-angled, 
usually rough on the angles but otherwise hair- 
less, arising from underground, perennial, 
slender, woody rootstocks 

Leaves opposite but alternating with 2 leaf- 
like bracts (stipules), thus appearing as whorls 
of 4, linear to broadly lance-shaped, about J to 2 
in. long, distinctly 3-veined, thick, blunt-tipped 

Northern bedstraw is an erect, leafy perennial with 4-angled stems and 
numerous small white flowers. It takes its specific name from the Latin 
borealis (-e), northern. This is a widely distributed species which occurs 
in all the Western States, ranging in North America from Alaska to Quebec, 
New Jersey, Missouri, New Mexico, and California. It also occurs in Europe 
and northern Asia. Although usually scattered, it is of general occurrence 
from the plains and foothills to an elevation of 10,000 feet in the mountains 
of Colorado and New Mexico. It is typical in grass and weed types of 
parks, in brush types, in aspen and, to some extent, in open coniferous timber. 

It favors moderately moist, rich loam soils, but is found on a wide variety 
of dry to moist soils. 

This species is common and often forms an appreciable part of the plant 
cover, although not occurring in pure stands. It is practically worthless as 
forage for cattle and horses, and is only fair forage for sheep and goats 
which generally crop only the flowers and leaves. It is one of the species 
that is likely to increase on ranges which are somewhat overgrazed. 

This species grows from perennial rootstocks normally producing numerous, 
leafy, sterile shoots as well as a number of flowering stems. The leaves 
,-ippear to be in whorls of four, but actually are in pairs (opposite), each pair 
being accompanied by two bracts (stipules) which are similar to the leaves. 
Northern bedstraw forms attractive and conspicuous white bunches when in 
full bloom and is sometimes grown as an ornamental, especially in rock gardens. 


Ga'lium spp. 

The bedstraws, which belong to the very large madder family (Rubiaceae), 
compose a genus of anual or perennial herbs or woody perennials widely 
distributed throughout temperate regions. The majority of the madder family, 
including all the more important economic genera, such as coffee (Coffea spp.) 
and the Peruvian-bark trees (Cinchona spp.) from which quinine is obtained, 
are tropical trees, shrubs, and vines. Some authorities state that the generic 
name Galium is derived from the Greek gallon, bedstraw; others claim that 
the word f/alium is derived from the Greek word for milk, gala, since certain 
species were used to curdle milk. Bedstraw is probably the most common 
name for species of Galium, but some species are known as cleavers (from 
cleave, to adhere closely ) . 

Approximately 43 species and 9 varieties of bedstraw are indigenous in the 
West, about 9 species being undershrubby or shrubby, the rest often weak 
and trailing herbs. 1 In addition, several herbaceous species have been natural- 
ized from the Old World. Bedstraws occur on a wide variety of soils and 
in practically all types from the lower elevations to above timberline, but 
probably are most common in grass, weed, and brush types. These plants, 
especially the smaller herbaceous species, are very common and make up an 
appreciable part of the plant cover on many western ranges, although they 
do not, as a rule, occur in dense stands to the exclusion of other plants. 

The shrubby species of bedstraws usually have coarse, woody stems, small, 
thick, often pricklelike leaves, and are practically worthless as forage plants. 
Although the palatability varies with the different species and regions, the 
herbaceous species, in general, are of fair palatability to sheep and goats and 
of low to zero palatability to cattle and horses. Bedstraws like many of the 
relatively unpalatable range plants tend to increase, to a certain extent, on 
overgrazed ranges. 

Several species of bedstraws were formerly used as medicinal plants. Goose- 
grass bedstraw (G. aparine), an annual common in North America, Europe, and 
Asia, and usually called goosegrass from its use as food for geese, was probably 
the most generally used in medicine. The roots of dye bedstraw (G. tinc- 
torium) were used by the Indians in the preparation of red and yellow dyes. 
The roots of white bedstraw (G. mollugo') yield a purple dye. 

The bedstraws all have four-angled (square) stems apparently with whorls 
of four to eight (sometimes only two) leaves at the joints. Actually the 
leaves are in pairs (opposite) or in whorls of threes or fours, accompanied by 
two, three, or four bracts (stipules) which are similar to the leaves. The 
flowers are small, usually less than one-fourth of an inch wide, white or 
greenish-white, yellowish, or purplish. Outer flower parts (sepals) are lacking 
and the corolla is wheel-shaped, consisting usually of four spreading lobes. The 
stems and fruits of many species are beset with hooked hairs. Some species 
are "dioecious", i. e., the male (pollen-producing) and female (seed-producing) 
flowers are borne on separate plants ; or male, female, and perfect flowers may 
occur on the same plant. 

1 Dayton, W. A. IMPORTANT WESTERN BROWSE PLANTS. U. S. Dent. Agr. Misc. Pub. 
101, 214 pp., illus. 1931. 


(2 leaves) 

Gentia'na el'egans, syn. Anthopo'gon el'egans 

Flowers solitary at ends of stems 
or branches, large, showy, sky bluo 
to ..purplish, veined 

United petals (corolla) bell-shaped or 
funnel-shaped, 1 to 2 in. long, 4-lobed ; 
lobes toothed at tips and fringed along 

Stamens 4, with straight pollen saca 

Outer united flower parts (calyx) 
about as long as tubular part of corolla, 
green, spotted or tinged with purple, 
with 4 ndged, tapering-peinted lobes 

Seed pod (capsule) 1-celled, stalked, 
many-seeded, tipped by persistent, 
short, thickened stalk (style) ending in 
2 somewhat rounded plates (stigmas) 

Leaves opposite, blunt-tipped, hair- 
less; basal leaves spatula-shaped or 
reverse-egg-shaped, stalked ; stem leaves 
oblong, often somewhat clasping, stalk- 

Stem erect, 4 to 16 in. high, angled, 
usually branched near base 

Taproot slender, shallow; annual 

Although feather gentian has been suggested as a desirable com- 
mon name for this species, to avoid possible confusion with the 
fringed gentian (G. crinitob) of the East, Gentiana elegcms is al- 
ways known as fringed gentian in the West, and it seems desirable 
to continue use of the latter name, though adding some modifying 
word, such as western, to distinguish it from its more advertised 
eastern cousin. Western fringed gentian, sometimes called Rocky 
Mountain fringed gentian, an annual herb of the gentian family 
(Gentianaceae), is one of the commonest of the range gentians and 
one of the most beautiful of western wild flowers. The specific 
name elegcms is a Latin adjective meaning elegant (literally, elect, 
or choice). This species grows in the mountains at elevations of 
from about 6,000 to 13,000 feet, ranging from the Mackenzie River in 
northwestern Canada southward to Arizona and New Mexico. It 
prefers rich, moist, loam soils on open or partially shaded sites, 
being commonly associated with rushes and sedges. Western fringed 
gentian produces its handsome showy flowers chiefly during July 
and August. It occurs most commonly in the wet alpine and sub- 
alpine meadows of the higher mountains, and sometimes grows in 
such profusion that its gorgeous blue flowers emblazon wide stretches 
of landscape in almost ultramarine glory. 

The gentians as a group this species is no exception are rela- 
tively low in palatability, being seldom better than poor cattle 
forage and fair sheep feed. However, western fringed gentian, 
which is so common on the higher ranges where sheep usually graze, 
furnishes considerable feed, although fundamentally not a good 
forage plant. In its native habitat, this plant possesses a high 
aesthetic value. It is particularly abundant in Yellowstone National 
Park and lends picturesque beauty to that playground. Being a 
plant of the higher elevations, it is not adapted to cultivation at 
the lower altitudes, where flower gardens customarily are located, 
and hence is apparently unknown to the horticultural trade. This 
species is probably the commonest and best known of those annual 
western gentians which have their flower parts in fours and the 
corolla lobes more or less fringed the fringed gentians (section, 
subgenus or genus Anthopogon) . 

Unfortunately, the taxonomy of this gentian is greatly confused. 
In early American botanical manuals the species was misidentified 
as the Old World G. serratasm error still perpetuated by some 
authors. Rydberg 1 states that G. elegcms A. Nels. (1898) is a 
synonym of the older G. thermalis O. Kuntze (1891), a species based 
on depauperate material growing about hot springs. G. thermalis 
may, therefore, be the correct name for this species but, for the time 
being, it seems desirable to adhere to present usage in the Bureau of 
Plant Industry, United States Department of Agriculture. 

pp. New York. 1917. 

(leaf 2) 
GENTIANS (Gentia'na spp.) 

In 1719 A. D. Gentiana was adopted as the generic name of this 

?roup of plants by the distinguished French botanist Tournefort 
the father of plant genera) . The name, however, is very old and 
according to Dioscorides, a Greek medical writer of the first century, 
B. C., commemorates Gentius, a king of Illyria in southern Europe 
(circ. 180-167 B. C.), reputedly the discoverer of the medicinal value 
of gentian (?'. e., the officinal yellow gentian (G. lutea) of Europe, a 
well-known drug plant). This large genus of annual, biennial, and 
perennial herbs of the gentian family (Gentianaceae) is native to 
the cooler portions of the earth largely in mountainous regions and 
northern and north temperate areas. It is represented in every far 
western State, where about 36 species occur. In addition, about 
11 other gentians are indigenous in the region from Alaska to 
British Columbia, and Manitoba, and 4 other eastern species reach 
the edge of the range country at their western limits. Gentians 
characteristically grow in meadows and other moist, open sites in the 
mountains, although some species occur in the lower foothills or, 
farther north, near sea level. 

Apparently correlated with their intense bitter flavor, gentians 
have a comparatively low palatability mostly poor for cattle and 
poor to fair for sheep. Although horses seldom eat them, certain 
species provide fair feed for deer and elk. Some species are abun- 
dant, especially on the high summer sheep ranges, and supply con- 
siderable forage. Some observers believe that, despite their rather 
low palatability, gentians, because of their tonic and stomachic quali- 
ties, have a distinct value in the range menu of domestic livestock. 
This is a matter which merits scientific investigation. 

Certain gentians, particularly yellow gentian, have long been 
famed for their medicinal qualities; many of the complex prepara- 
tions handed down by the Greeks and Arabs contain gentian among 
other ingredients. Simple bitters or tonics made from gentian ap- 
parently are beneficial in all cases of digestive debility or where a 
general tonic is required and have proved useful in the treatment 
of malaria and various other diseases. 2 Gentian preparations have 
a somewhat sweet though bitter flavor and, if taken in overly large 
amounts, are likely to cause nausea. The roots of yellow gentian, 
relatively rich in sugar, are frequently fermented and distilled; the 
resultant liqueur is said to be used as a popular beverage in the Alps. 
The official preparations in this country include the extract, infusion, 
or tincture obtained from the roots of yellow gentian, although sev- 
eral other species have analogous properties. 2 A number of authori- 
ties have expressed the opinion that American gentians merit chem- 
ical study as possible substitutes for the Old World G. 1/Mtea and for 
other purposes. 

8 Wood, H. C., Remington, J. P., and Safltler, S. P., assisted by Lyons, A. B., and 


WOOD AND DR. FRANKLIN BACHE. Ed. 19, thoroughly rev. and largely rewritten . . . 
1,947 pp. Philadelphia and London. 1907. 

The gentians have opposite (occasionally whorled), often clasping 
leaves, and attractive flowers with bell- or funnel-shaped, four- or 
five-lobed corollas, which are blue, violet-purple, greenish, yellow, 
red, or white. The characteristic hue of the American species is 
"gentian bine" and this is one of the reasons advanced by some Amer- 
ican botanists for placing our native species in other genera 
Amarella, Anthop&gon, C hondrophylla, and Dasystephcma the bo- 
tanical type of Gentiana, being the Old World G. lutea, with yellow 

Although the gentians are difficult to start, when once established, 
the perennials, at least, last indefinitely ; many of the species rate the 
effort required to grow them. 3 Unfortunately, the fringed gentian 
(G, crinita), one of the most beautiful members of the genus, has not 
been successfully domesticated. 3 In fact, this eastern species is 
threatened with extinction as a result of the thoughtlessness of count- 
less "nature lovers" who pick the beautiful blossoms at every oppor- 
tunity. This is the fringed gentian that the poet Bryant, in his 
well-known ode of that name, described as "colored with the heaven's 
own blue." 

The eastern and western fringed gentians are representative of 
those species whose flowers open in the morning and close at eventide. 
In other species, the flowers open only slightly, and the unique 
flowers of the closed gentian have been the theme of various poems. 
Legends concerning gentians are numerous, bizzare, and intriguing. 
One quaint and interesting tale seeks to explain why the flowers of 
some gentians open and close whereas those of other species remain 
closed. The story originally is, all gentian flow T ers were closed, until 
once when the fairy queen, unable to reach home, entreated a gentian 
to open its flower and allow her to spend the night therein. In grati- 
tude for this hospitality, the fairy queen informed the gentian that, 
subsequently, she and all her children would open each morning. 4 
During the reign of King Ladislas in Hungary, according to another 
gentian legend, the people were ravaged by a plague. The king, in 
despair, going into the field prayed that an arrow shot at random 
would be directed to some plant which would serve as an effective 
remedy. The arrow which he then shot pierced the root of a 
gentian. From that time forward, gentian roots used as a medicine 
supposedly effected wondrous cures. 5 

illus. New York and London. 1933. 

4 Clements, E. S. FLOWERS OF COAST AND SIERRA. 226 pp., illus. New York. 1928. 

AGES AND IN ALL CLIMES. [302] pp., illus. Philadelphia and London. [1925.] 



Gera'nium spp. 

Geraniums are perennial, annual, or occasionally biennial herbs 
and derive their name from the Greek word for crane (geraiws), be- 
cause of the fancied resemblance of the long fruit-bearing beak 
(styles) protruding from the center of the flower to that of a crane. 
There are approximately 16 species of geranium, almost wholly per- 
ennial, occurring natively on western ranges, and about five annual 
species naturalized from Europe according to conservative botanists. 
A few other species occur in Alaska. Geraniums are widely dis- 
tributed and well known both in North America and in the Old 
World. There are at least several species of the genus in each of the 
11 far- western States. 

The common potted geraniums belong to the related South African 
genus Pelargonium. Therefore, the English name cranesbill hasl 
been designated in Standardized Plant Names as the approved name 
for members of the genus Geranium. Historically the name geranium 
applies to this genus, and these plants are universally known as 
geraniums both in the range country and in the literature of range 
plants. Standardized Plant Names approves the name wild geranium 
for one species of the genus (G. maculatwri). 

Geraniums occur up to elevations of at least 10,000 feet in drier 
mountain meadows and parks, in open timber where the ground 
is damp, and in the grasslands of plains and foothills. These plants 
usually prefer a rich loam with partial shade, growing as scattered 
individuals or in patches but seldom occur in pure stands. 

Geraniums are of only moderate forage value, varying from 
fair to good in the central Rocky Mountains and Northwest, and 
fair in the Southwest. They are of more value for sheep than for 
cattle. Sheep frequently consume most of the herbage in the spring 
but later eat only the flowers or nibble the leaves. Cattle eat only 
the more tender herbage. Game, especially deer, graze both the 
flowers and the leaves. Some observers consider geraniums of great- 
est value during the latter part of the grazing season but this is 
probably due to the consumption of the herbage of the grasses and 
more palatable weeds as the season advances, which tends to con- 
centrate grazing on the less palatable species. Geraniums custom- 
arily produce sufficient seed to maintain their stands. Nature has 
provided these plants with springlike mechanisms which effectively 
distribute the ripened seeds. 

Certain geraniums are used for medicinal purposes, principally 
as astringents. Such utilization dates back to the Indians. 1 The 
native, spotted geranium (G. maculatum) , often called wild ge- 
ranium, which is frequently cultivated, furnishes a popular remedy 
for diarrhea, chronic dysentery, certain throat ailments, and other 
purposes. The annual, herb robert (G. robertianwtn) , which grows 

iWood, H. C., Remington, J. P., and Sadtler, S. P., assisted by Lyons, A. B., and 
WOOD AND DR. FRANKLIN BACHE. Ed. 19, thoroughly revised and largely rewritten , 
1,947 pp. Philadelphia and London. 1907. 

wild both in Europe and in the United States, is popularly used for 
fever, hemorrhage, jaundice, and as a gargle. This solution is pre- 
pared by boiling the herbage. 

Geraniums are readily recognized by their distinctive odor when 
the leaves are crushed, and by their peculiar fruiting structure which 
resembles a Maypole. Each section (carpel) of the five-lobed seed- 
pod (capsule) separates elastically at maturity from the base to the 
beaked apex as it gradually curls upwards and outwards, thus ex- 
pelling its solitary seed from the pouchlike covering which remains 
attached to each carpel strip. The flowers open from late spring 
until mid-to-late summer. The time of blossoming varies with the 
elevation, beginning earliest at the lower elevations. The flowers 
are borne either singly or in loose, flat or somewhat rounded clusters, 
and vary in color from deep purple to violet, pink and almost white, 
the five petals commonly being marked by pink or purplish lines. 

The various species differ considerably in habit of growth. The 
stems occur singly or there may be several from the base; in some 
species they are erect, varying from 4 to 36 inches in height ; in other 
species the stems extend along the ground with only the growing tip 
erect, or are produced in large tufts. The perennial species often 
develop a stout, vertical, woody root crown which may be branched 
or unbranched. The leaves may be either basal, arising directly from 
the root crown or may be placed opposite each other at the swollen 
joints of the plant stem. The leaves of geranium are parted some- 
what like a human hand, being often confused early in the season 
with those of larkspurs and monkshoods. In addition to their pe- 
culiar odor and fruit, already referred to, geraniums are also readily 
distinguished by the two small leaflike outgrowths (stipules) aris- 
ing from the base of the leafstalks where they join the stem. Lark- 
spurs and monkshoods do not have stipules, and their leaves are al- 
ternate on the stem. The stems, leaves, leafstalks, flower stalks, and 
portions of the inflorescence of geraniums are usually provided with 
simple, often sticky hairs. 



Gera'nium viscosis'simum, syns. G. inci'sum, G. orega'num, G. strigo'sum 

"Seed pods "(carpels) 5, each 1-seeded 
and tipped by a long, persistent stalk 
(style); the 5 styles grown together 
below and to the elongated central col- 
umn from which they separate at ma- 
turity by simply recoiling 

Flowers rather large, showy, purple 
or rose-colored, rarely white, borne on 
branched, hairy, leafy-bracted stalks at 
ends of stems 

Petals 5, up to nearly 1 in. long, 
broadly reverse-heart-shaped, usually 
conspicuously veined, densely bearded 
within at their bases 

Stamens 10, joined together in a tube 
by their stalks, with glands at their 
bases, 5 of them longer than the other 5 

Outer flower parts (sepals) 5, greenish 
or somewhat purplish, sometimes with 
papery edges, sticky-hairy, abruptly 
narrowed into a short, stout awa at the 

Leaves more or less hairy, mostly 
basal and long-stalked; stem leaves 
opposite, smaller and shorter-stalked 
than the basal leaves, rounded in out- 
line, palmately 5-lobed, each lobe again 
deeply cleft, sometimes bearing bulblets 
in their axils, and with bracts (stipules) 
at base 

Stems stout, often forked, up to 3 ft. 
high, soft-hairy 

Root crown stout, woody, sometimes 
branched near top, covered with old 
leafstalk and stem bases 

Sticky geranium, a coarse, leafy, branched perennial herb from 1 to 
3 feet tall, is so named because it is practically covered with glandular 
hairs which make it sticky to the touch (viscid). It is perhaps the 
best known of the western geraniums since it is widely distributed 
throughout the West, ranging from British Columbia and Saskatche- 
wan to California and Colorado, but apparently it does not extend 
into Arizona and New Mexico. Specimens have been, collected 
throughout a wide altitudinal range as low as 750 feet above sea 
level in Oregon and up to 10,000 feet in Utah. The plant is most 
abundant in parks and glades of the foothills and mountains at 
elevations of between 5,000 and 8,000 feet. 

This plant grows in abundance and is conspicuous on many forest 
ranges especially in the Intermountain region, but seldom occurs in 
pure stands. Sticky geranium is characteristic of open situations, 
being frequently associated with wheatgrasses, fescues, bluegrasses, 

lupines, paintbrushes, and yarrow and is also found intermixed with 
shrubs and in open woods, especially aspen. It rarely occurs under 
conifer timber. The species is not restricted to any particular type 
of soil, usually occurring on a fairly moist, either gravelly or sandy 
loam. It occasionally appears on drier granitic soils and on heavy 
clayey loams. 

Sticky geranium is an important forage plant because of its abun- 
dance and leafiness, its palatability being only fair or fairly good or 
occasionally good for sheep and worthless or poor to fair for cattle. 
Any higher estimates of the species are largely based on overgrazed 
conditions. Horses rarely eat it. Practically the entire plant may 
be consumed in the spring but later in the season only the flowers and 
more tender herbage are eaten. This herb withstands grazing 
very well, due chiefly to the large reserve of food stored in its thick, 
vertical rootstock, which anchors the plant firmly in the ground and 
prevents pulling by grazing animals. The flowers appear in June 
and July, the fruits in August and September. After seed produc- 
tion, the leaves usually dry up and are then practically worthless as 

Sticky geranium has large, rather thick leaves, borne on long leaf- 
stalks, which are nearly round in outline and deeply and fingerwise 
cut into three or five divisions, which are again sharply cleft. Due 
to the similarity of the leaves, sticky geranium is sometimes mis- 
taken for a larkspur, especially before flowering begins. Hence, it 
has occasionally and erroneously been considered as poisonous. 

The related Richardson geranium (G. richardsonii) is also widely 
distributed over the same range in the West, except that it extends 
farther southwest, and is common in parts of Arizona and New 
Mexico, where sticky geranium is unknown. The growth require- 
ments and sites of these two geraniums are similar. They apparently 
hybridize in the high mountain ranges of the Wasatch, and possibly 
elsewhere. Richardson geranium is slenderer, has hairs tipped by 
purple glands, especially on the upper part of the plant, and bears 
white flowers with pink or roseate veins. The palatabilities of Rich- 
ardson and sticky geraniums are about equal but may vary in differ- 
ent localities. In the Southwest, Richardson geranium is rated as 
worthless to poor for cattle, poor to fair for sheep, and fair for deer. 


Grinde'lia squarro'sa 

(2 leaves) 

Flower heads numerous, half globe- 
shaped (hemispherical), .up to iy t in. 
across, in rather flat-topped end 

Leaves alternate, stalkless, more or 
less clasping at the base, rather thick, 
mostly 2 to 4 times longer than broad, 
oblong to spatula-shaped, with toothed 
edges, conspicuously gland-dotted, 
gummy, hairless 

Stem erect, 8 to about 40 in. high, 
branched above the middle, hairless, 

Outside (ray) flowers of heads 24 to 
36, yellow, petal-like, seed-producing 

Inner (disk) flowers of heads num- 
erous, small', yellow, tubular, perfect, 

Bracts in a 5- to 6-rowed series (in- 
volucre) around base of flower head, 
very gummy, narrow, with very wide- 
spreading (squarrose), back-curved 

"Seeds" (achenes) with tips squared 
as if cut off crosswise, crowned by 2 to 
6 bristlelike scales, or awns (pappus) 
which soon fall off 

Taproot-^thickeiied, woody, biennial 
or perennial 

Curly cup gum weed is a biennial (in cultivation, sometimes peren- 
nial J ) herb of the sunflower, or aster family (Compositae). The 
name gumweed alludes to the sticky, resinous character of the plant, 
the flower heads being particularly gummy, especially when in bud. 
The specific name squarrosa refers to the widely spreading (squar- 
rose) ? often down-curving, bracts (involucre) of the flower head. 

Primarily a plant of me drier prairie soils, this species rather 
commonly inhabits plains and foothills from Manitoba and Minne- 
sota to Missouri, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, and Saskatchewan; 
it possibly extends into Mexico. In the long-narrow-leaved variety 
G. sqicarr&'sa set^rulaft (syn. G. semda'ta) it occurs naturally in 
parts of southern California. Curlycup gumweed is an aggressive 
plant, and its range is extending as it is steadily invading areas 
bordering the States mentioned. It is reported as being abundant 
locally in northeastern California and to have been collected in 
Oregon and Washington ; it is now found in northeastern Michigan, 
Indiana, and Illinois, being widely naturalized along roadsides, rail- 
road banks, and in fields of the eastern United States and Canada. 
The species appears up to about 9,000 feet in Colorado and New 
Mexico. It usually occurs on the drier, rocky, gravelly or sandy 
soils, being qualified to survive where moisture is limited. This 
herb also grows on deeper, sandy, or clayey loams and is characteris- 
tic of wastelands and overgrazed areas, often densely inhabiting 
old fields, eroded hill- and road-sides where the surface soil has been 
disturbed. Curlycup gumweed was first collected on the open 
prairies along the banks of the Missouri Kiyer by Captain Meri- 
wether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark expedition (1804^06). 

Curlycup gumweed has little forage value and is unpalatable to 
livestock, although sheep occasionally crop the flower heads on poor, 
overgrazed ranges. The leaves and flowering tops of this species 
and of the closely related shore gumweed (G. robiis'ta), of Califor- 
nia, are the official source of fluid extract of grindelia, a valuable 
antispasmodic, also used because of its stimulating effect upon the 
mucous membrane in the treatment of chronic bronchitis and 
asthma. 2 It is also used as a tonic. Curlycup gumweed is one of 
several species of Grmdelia employed in the treatment of poison-oak 
and poison-ivy inflammation. 3 Honeybees favor this plant as a source 
of nectar, although the honey is reputedly inferior in flavor. Bee- 
keepers also claim that it candies too quickly to be desirable in the 
comb. In fact, this nectar tends to coagulate so rapidly that it candies 
in the sacks of the bees unless they hurry to the hive immediately 
after gathering the material. 4 5 

SPECIES OF THE GENUS GRINDELIA. Ann. Mo. Bot. Gard. 21 : 227-230, 433-608, illus. 

3 Wood, H. C., Remington, J. P., and Sadtler, S. P., assisted by Lyons, A. B., and 


B. WOOD AND DR. FRANKLIN BACHB. Ed. 19, thoroughly rev. and largely rewritten . . . 
1,947 pp. Philadelphia and London. 1907. 

8 Stuhr, E. T. MANUAL OP PACIFIC COAST DRUG PLANTS . . . 189 pp., illus. Lan- 
caster, Pa. 1933. 

4 Clements, E. S. FLOWERS OF COAST AND SIERRA. 226 pp., illus. New York. 1928. 


VALUE TO THE BEEKEEPER AS SOURCES OF POLLEN. Ed. 3, rev. and enl., 419 pp., illus. 
Hamilton, 111. 1930. 

(leaf 2) 

Grinde'lia spp. 

Gumweeds compose a moderate-sized group of coarse, annual, bi- 
ennial, or perennial herbs, sometimes woody at the base, native to 
western North and South America, and particularly well represented 
in the United States west of the Mississippi. Grindelia is a very 
homogeneous group of plants, easily distinguished by clear-cut char- 
acters. However, as is the case with certain other well-marked and 
distinctive genera (e. g., Rucbus, Saline, Viola), considerable varia- 
tion and instability within the genus itself makes specific boundaries 
difficult. 1 Although the species total has long been estimated at 25 
or 30, the genus in its entirety has not been carefully studied ; recent 
intensive study, both in North and South America, indicates that the 
number of species is probably greater than has hitherto been sup- 
posed. The eminent German botanist, Karl Ludwig Willdenow, 
named this genus in honor of David Hieronymus Grindel (1776- 
1836), a Kussian professor and botanical author. The resinous 
character of many species has given rise to the common names, gum- 
weeds, gumplants, and rosinweeds; the flower heads usually exude 
the most of this medicinal resin. 2 3 

These plants grow on a variety of sites at medium elevations. 
Many species prefer dry, rocky, or gravelly situations, often appear- 
ing along water courses; some invade roadsides, embankments, and 
waste ground ; still others inhabit saline or marshy sites, or grow oil 
alkaline or limy soils. Despite moderate abundance in some regions 
gum weeds possess little forage value and are relatively unpalatable 
to all classes of livestock; presumably even goats refuse to eat them. 
Local abundance of gumweeds is often an indication of depletion, due 
to severe and prolonged overgrazing; the plants frequently form 
dense stands on abused and abandoned dry-farming areas. 

Some species of gumweed were used by the Indians and early west- 
ern settlers as a tonic and blood purifier. 6 The Indians also used 
the resinous buds in the treatment of asthma and bronchitis. 4 Fluid 
extract of grindelia, an official drug, is obtained from the flowering 
tops and leaves of two species (either separately or in mixture) of 
this genus, curlycup gumweed, and shore gumweed. These plants 
are extremely hardy ; some species are cultivated for their ornamental 
yellow flowers. 

Gumweeds have simple or branched stems, sometimes much- 
branched from the base. The rather stiff, undivided leaves are 
alternate, with sessile or partly clasping bases, or the lower leaves 
may be short-stalked; they are commonly toothed on the margins, 
hairless or occasionally hairy, and usually gland-dotted, sometimes 
shining because of the resinous covering ; the herbage exudes a pleas- 
ant, balsamlike odor. The rather large flower heads are solitary or 

1234 See footnotes on preceding page. 

U. S. Dept. Agr., Div. Bot., Contrib. U. S. Natl. Herbarium 7 : 295-422, illus. 1902. 

borne in end-clusters. The western species commonly have con- 
spicuous yellow petallike parts (ray flowers), but some species of the 
genus have none, the flower heads being rayless (discoid). The 
flower head cup (involucre), composed of four to eight series of 
frequently sharp-pointed bracts, is probably the most distinctive 
character of the gum weeds; these bracts overlap closely and may be 
erect, widely spreading, or curved downward. The inner bracts, at 
least, are gland-dotted and the involucral cups of the budding flower 
heads are often completely filled with a gummy exudation. 



Hedy'sarum pabula're 

Flowers lilac to purple, 'about % in. long, not 
drooping, pea-like; each with a small bract at 
base; borne in erect clusters (racemes) on stalks 
arising from the leaf axils and longer than the 

Stems several, somewhat spreading at base, 
branched, leafy, somewhat ashen-hairy 

Leaves 'compound with 9 to 15 leaflets, all 
but the end leaflet being in pairs 

^ Outer united flower parts (calyx) tubular, ft 
Jr in. long, hairy, 5-toothed ; teeth tapering-pointed, 
slightly longer than united portion (tube) 

Bracts (stipules) at base of leaf, 2, opposite, 
leaflike, thin, brownish, more or less united- 

Pod (loinent) flattened, finely hairy, 2- to 5- 
jointed; joints somewhat rounded in outline, 
Yt in. broad, 1 -seeded, separating at the constric- 
tions but not splitting open, with conspicuous 
veins running crosswise from edge to edge (not 

Leaflets silvery green/gland-dotted, elliptic or 
narrowly to broadly oblong, up to 1 in. long, 
hairless or nearly so above, white-hairy beneath, 
without bractlets (stipels) at base 

Rocky Mountain sweetvetch is a perennial herb of the pea family and super- 
ficially resembles certain locos, peavines, and vetches. It has a stout, tough, 
deep taproot and a somewhat woody root crown from which grow several fairly 
leafy, branching stems from 6 to 30 inches long. Some of the stems are rather 
erect and others extend out laterally along or near the ground a few inches 
before curving upward. 

The name Hedj/sarum is from the two Greek words hedys (sweet) and 
aroma (a spice or sweet herb; whence our English word aroma, meaning 
pleasant odor) apparently referring to the fragrant flowers and sweet-tasting 
herbage of some species. "Joiutpod" is sometimes applied as a common name, 
because of the peculiar jointed pods (loments). Depending on the species con- 
cept of the individual botanist, about 9 to 11 species of sweetvetch occur in the 
West, ranging from Alaska to the Dakotas, New Mexico, Nevada, and Oregon. 
The genus apparently does not occur in California and Arizona. 

Rocky Mountain sweetvetch is one of the most widespread and abundant of 
these species and is selected here as illustrative and characteristic of the genus 
Hedysarum from a range standpoint. It ranges from Montana to Utah and 
New Mexico and is the only species of Hedysarum occurring in New Mexico. 
Generally, it is scattered sparsely but is limitedly abundant on a few localized 
areas. Rocky Mountain sweetvetch grows mostly on dry, open, or lightly 
shaded areas in the sagebrush, oakbrush, ponderosa pine, and aspen belts at 
elevations from 4,000 to 10,000 feet. 

Some observers have reported Rocky Mountain sweetvetch to be of low 
palatability, but almost certainly they have confused it with loco. Of course, 
the association of sweetvetch with abundant and very choice grasses will 
doubtless reduce its consumption by livestock. It is of interest to note that 
Prof. Aven Nelson, in describing this species, 1 states that it "is reputed an 
excellent forage plant", and the scientific name he applied to the species (pa&- 
ulare) 2 reflects this viewpoint. Moreover, this appears to be the species which 
Prof. Nelson formerly called "H. mackenzii" and which he states is greatly 
relished by livestock, of frequent occurrence, locally abundant, and an im- 
portant source of forage in the Red Desert of Wyoming. 3 

Utah sweetvetch (H. utahen'se) is very similar to Rocky Mountain sweet- 
vetch, very closely related to it, and probably intergrades with it. Hedysarum 
utahense differs chiefly in its flowers, which are more rose-purple and have 
a little longer calyx. Utah sweetvetch is limited to Utah and eastern Idaho, 
but is there locally abundant. Forest Service technicians report it as mod- 
erately to well used on Utah ranges, by both sheep and cattle, although in- 
tensive use of the species is related to close grazing of the range. Artificial 
reseeding trials made with Utah sweetvetch in its native habitat by the Inter- 
mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station have thus far failed. 

Sweetvetch species, as a rule, are grazed by all classes of domestic live- 
stock. Their strong, woody, deep taproots get sustenance from a large soil 
area and render the plants resistant to abuse. The peculiar, easily broken, 
jointed pods are conducive to seed dispersal, on which reproduction of the 
plants is necessarily dependent. Reports of these plants holding their own, 
or even increasing, on overgrazed range are doubtless correlated, in part, with 
these root and fruit characters, and probably also with less resistant qualities 
of associated palatable species. The plants are frequently confused with loco- 
weeds by observers, hut the gland-dotted leaves (apparent when held to the 
light), the squared effect of the flower tips, and above all the characteristic 
pods clearly distinguish Hedysarum from Astragalus. 

In parts of southern Italy, Algeria, Spain, and other portions of the Medi- 
terranean region a native species of sweetvetch called "sulla" (H. coronarium) 
is a very important cultivated forage plant, locally having about the same 
status as alfalfa does in this country, 

Proc. 15 : 183-186. 1902. 

2 Latin pabularis, -c, fit for fodder (pabulum). 

Agr., Div. Agrost. Bull. 13, 72 pp., illus. 1898. 


Hele'nium hoope'sii, syn. Dugal'dia hoope'sii 

(2 leaves) 

Outside (ray) flowers of the heads 
numerous, petal-like, orange-yellow, 
showy, up to \y t in. long, narrow, strap- 
shaped, 2- or 3-toothed at tips, spread- 
ing or bent-back in age, seed-producing 

Inner (disk) flowers of the heads 
numerous, small, tubular, yellow, turn- 
ing brownish, perfect, seed-producing 

Flower heads sunflowerlike, up to 3 
in. across, solitary or several, on long, 
_ naked, often woolly -hairy stalks; center 
(disk) hemispherical, about 1 in. thick 
and K to % in. high 

Bracts in a 2-rowed series (involucre) 
surrounding flower head, bent-back in 

Stems fuzzy-hairy at first -but soon 
becoming smooth, ribbed but not 
winged, stout, leafy ( 1 to several from 
root crown, erect, up to 3 ft. high 


jLten v ea HU jii u w iiu u rcBmuus-uuiicu, 

thickish, veiny, with entire margins, 
oblong-lance-shaped or the lower leaves 
spatula-shaped with long-tapering bases 
and larger (up to IK ft. long and 3 in. 
wide) than the upper ones, not extend- 
ing down upon the stems 

"Seeds" (achenes) tawny-hairy, 
small, ribbed, top-shaped, tipped "by 5 
to 12 thin-papery, elongated bracts 
(pappus), sfightly shorter than the 

Taproot strong, thickened, rather 
short, perennial 

Orange sneezeweed, sometimes also called Hoopes sneezeweed, owls- 
claws, sunflower, western sneezeweed, and yellowweed, is a perennial 
herb of the sneezeweed tribe (Helenieae) of the immense aster, or 
composite family (Asteraceae, or Compositae). It is one of the im- 
portant western poisonous plants and sometimes proves a very seri- 
ous handicap to profitable range sheep raising, especially in Utah. 

Helenium is Latinized from the Greek word hclenion, an old plant 
name possibly referring to this genus or, more likely, to the related, 
cultivated elecampane (Inula helenium). The ancient plant helen- 
ion is said by some to have been named in honor of the famous Helen 
of Troy, wife of Menelaus, King of Sparta, and whose abduction by 
Paris "fired a thousand ships and burnt the topless towers of Ilion." 
Others state that the plant commemorates another outstanding figure 
of the Trojan War, the warrior-seer Helenus, son of Priam and He- 
cuba, by whose advice the Greeks built the celebrated wooden horse 
whereby they entered the walls of Troy (Ilium, or Ilion) and cap- 
tured it. The name of the species is in honor of its first collector, 
Thomas Hoopes. 

Orange sneezeweed extends from eastern Oregon to western Mon- 
tana and southward to New Mexico and California. Although its 
altitudinal range is from 5,000 to 12,500 feet, or from the pon- 
derosa pine belt to well above timberline, it most frequently occurs 
between elevations of about 7,000 and 10,500 feet. It prefers moist, 
well-drained soils on sunny slopes of the aspen and spruce-fir belts, 
but it also thrives in open parks, mountain meadows, and along 
streambanks or near colonies of willows. Where the range is prop- 
erly managed and normal vegetative conditions obtain the species 
typically occurs in small, scattered patches. On range subjected by 
overgrazing and overstocking to prolonged soil and cover deteriora- 
tion this aggressive invader may be locally abundant and even the 
dominant species on extensive areas. 

Wherever good forage plants are plentiful orange sneezeweed is 
so low in palatability as to be scarcely grazed, with the occasional 
exception of young plants, which are sometimes moderately grazed 
by sheep. It is, however, grazed by all classes of livestock when 
palatable plants are lacking, and this situation makes it a source of 
danger. The entire plant is poisonous, at least to sheep, at all sea- 
sons, but since the effects of the poison are cumulative a single or even 
several feedings usually have no noticeable effect, if the animal has 
not previously grazed it. Sheep that graze orange sneezeweed to 
any great extent, however, eventually become sick and are often so 
seriously affected that death results. Although experiments 1 have 
shown that orange sneezeweed is proportionately as poisonous to 
cattle as it is to sheep and occasional instances of the death of cattle 
have been directly attributed to it, there is little danger of cattle 
losses under range conditions, due to the greater bodily size of cattle 

1 Marsh, C. D., Clawson, A. B., Couch, J. P., and Marsh. H. WESTERN SNEEZEWEED 

(HKLBNIUM HOOPESII) AS A POISONOUS PLANT. U. S. Dept. Agf. Bull. 947, 46 pp., illuS. 

1921. See also Marsh, C. D. STOCK-POISONING PLANTS OP THE RANOE. U. S. Dept. 
Agr. Bull. 1245, rev., 75 pp., illus. 1929. Supersedes Bull. 575. 

(leaf 2) 

and their lesser inclination to graze weeds, and sneezeweed in par- 
ticular. Horses are rarely, if ever, poisoned by this plant. 

Nausea, which is often the only symptom of orange sneezeweed 
poisoning noticed by herders on the range, has given rise to the 
name of the "spewing or vomiting sickness" of which sheep are 
the usual victims. Other accompanying symptoms may include 
depression, weakness, salivation, bloating, and diarrhea. Inasmuch 
as the poison acts slowly, animals suffering from having eaten orange 
sneezeweed have generally grazed the plant over an extended period 
of time. It has been the common observation of people who handle 
sheep in Utah that when a band of sheep) is introduced to a sneeze- 
weed range comparatively few cases of poisoning occur the first year, 
with more the second, and still more the third, the effects of the 
feeding continuing over from year to year. The results of experi- 
ments carried out by Marsh, Clawson, et al., op. cit., show that the 
effects of the poisoning "may be permanent ; that sheep once affected 
by this plant are likely to succumb more quickly to a succeeding 
feeding, and, even if they apparently recover, are likely to prove 
worthless." Sheep may even die on the winter range from the effects 
of having grazed orange sneezeweed during the previous summer. 

The losses in Utah have been greatly reduced by removing the 
sheep from sneezeweed-infested range when they show symptoms 
of poisoning and driving them to lower brush range until their 
condition is improved; they are then returned to the sneezeweed 
range until the poisoning symptoms recur when the process is re- 
peated. This is but a temporary expedient and does not effect a 
real cure. It is obviously advisable to prohibit^ if possible, the 
ingress of livestock to ranges infested with this poisonous plant and 
also to encourage the restoration of the range by proper manage- 
ment which, though a slow process, is apparently the only sure 
means of lessening the spread of orange sneezeweed. Marsh, Claw- 
son, et al., in the work referred to, report that grubbing the plants 
has been found to be too costly a method of exterminating them 
from the range and cutting with a scythe seems to stimulate rather 
than prevent growth. Orange sneezeweed presents a serious problem 
on the range, since it is a vigorous grower, spreads rapidly, produces 
seeds in abundance, and propagates prolincally from the under- 
ground parts. 

This species has a stout, woody taproot only a few inches long 
which develops into a crown, whereby the plant enlarges vegetatively, 
and there are also numerous, slender, fibrous roots. Orange sneezeweed 
has a strong tendency to develop adventitious buds on these parts. 
Clumps of leafy stems sometimes as large as one foot in diameter 
arise from the older plants. The stems, although sometimes un- 
branched and bearing only one flower head, are usually branched 
near the top into a few sparsely leaved stems several inches long, 
each terminated by a large, orange-yellow flower head. The pale to 
dark green, parallel-veined leaves show a gradual transition in size 

and shape from the base to the top of the plant. Both the stems 
and the leaves are inclined to be hairy or woolly when young, but 
later lose the hairs (become glabrous). The greenish, leaflike 
bracts (phyllaries) that encircle the flower head are in two rows 
and, at maturity, curve outward at their tips, a characteristic which 
has given rise to a Navaho name for the plant, meaning owl's 



Helianthel'Ia uniflo'ra 

Flower heads sunflowerlike, usually 
solitary at ends of stems 

^Outside (ray) flowers of heads yellow, 
petal-Like, up to 1% in. long, not seed- 

Inner -(disk) flowers of heads small, 
numerous, yellow or brownish, tubular, 

Stems leafy, deader, erect, 1 to 2 ft. 
high, usually slightly harsh-hahy 

Leaves mostly opposite, sometimes 
alternate, with entire edges, oblong- 
lance-shaped, usually 2 to 5 in. long 
and % to 1 YA in. wide, bright green, firm, 
net-veined, roughened by fine stiff hairs ; 
lower leaves largest, short-stalked; 
upper ones smaller, stalkless 

Bracts ha a 2-rowed series (involucre) 
around base of flower head, narrow- 
lance-shaped, pointed 

Taproot strong, deep-set, woody; nu- 
merous stems arise from root crown 

"Seeds" (achenes) wedge-shaped or 
reverse-egg-shaped, strongly flattened, 
narrowly winged on edges, notched on 
summit, tipped by a pair of scaly 
bristles (pappus) 

Little-sunflower, a perennial herb belonging to the sunflower tribe of the aster 
family (Compositae), is closely related to the common sunflowers (Helianthus 
spp.). It is one of the most important forage plants of the Helianthella genus, 
which is represented in the West by about nine species, all similar in appearance 
and palatability. The scientific name of this species is very descriptive. In the 
generic name the diminutive suffix -ella signifies that it is a small Helianthus, 
or sunflower (from the Greek, hclios, sun; anthos, flower) ; hence the common 
name, little-sunflower. The specific name uniflora, meaning one flower, refers 
to the usually solitary flower head. The names one-flowered sunflower and 
single-flowered helianthella are also sometimes used for this species. 

Little-sunflower ranges from Montana to eastern Oregon and south to Nevada, 
Arizona, and New Mexico. It occurs at medium to high elevations and may be 
found up to 10,000 feet in Utah. It grows on moderately rich soils in wheat- 
grass and weed types, on open exposures within the oakbrush, ponderosa pine, 
and aspen types and extends into the spruce-fir zone. Among its most common 
associates are arrowleaf balsamroot, lupine, yarrow, Idaho fesc,ue, mules-ears, 
geranium, and snowberry. This plant usually grows in mixture with other 
plants, and rarely, if ever, occurs in pure stands. It sometimes grows in 
abundance in dense patches but as a rule is scattered. 

Little-sunflower apparently does not occur in California, but the genus is 
represented in that State by other species of Helianthetta. The most common, 
of these is H. californica, which is very similar to little-sunflower but of less 
importance as a forage plant. In Oregon little-sunflower grows on the eastern 
side only of the Cascade Mountains, and there appears to be no authentic 
record of its occurrence in Washington. However, a closely related northwest- 
ern species, H. douglasii, is sometimes mistaken for it, the two species being 
very similar in appearance and forage value. H. douglasii, which differs mainly 
in being more hairy-stemmed and having thinner leaves, is common in eastern 
Oregon and Washington and extends northward to British Columbia and east- 
ward into western Wyoming and Montana. 

In some sections little-sunflower provides considerable forage. The leafage, 
flowers, and more tender portions of the stems are eaten by all classes of graz- 
ing animals, being fair to very good in palatability for sheep nml only slightly 
less palatable for cattle. The flower heads are eaten with unusual relish. The 
foliage is utilized by all classes of grazing animals during the summer but after 
drying in the fall is grazed to a less extent by livestock and game. The strong 
Avoody taproot enables this plant to stand up unusually well under heavy graz- 
ing and trampling. Reproduction is from seed only. The seed usually ripens 
during August and is shed soon after maturity. 

The helianthellas are often confused with some of the common sunflowers 
(Helianthus spp.), but can be distinguished by the "seeds" (achenes), which are 
strongly compressed, narrowly winged along the edges, notched on top and 
tipped with a pair of scaly awns. On the other hand, the "seeds" of the common 
sunflowers are 4-angled and thickened and are neither winged, strongly flattened, 
nor notched. The helianthellas are also sometimes confused with Vigulera 
multiflora which differs, however, in having numerous flowers, dark green foli- 
age, thickened "seeds", and in being smaller and more slender-stemmed. The 
stems of little-sunflower are 1 to 2 feet high and grow in rather loose bunches of 
20 to 30 from a tough woody root crown. The lower leaves are largest and have 
short stems (petioles) ; the upper ones are stemless and tend to get smaller 
toward the top, the topmost sometimes being very small. The yellow flower 
heads are large (up to 2% inches across) and usually borne solitary on the 
stem though occasionally the stems branch into two or more stalks, each bear- 
ing a single flower. The individual flowers of the flower head are set among 
firm-papery bracts (paleae) on the common seed-bearing disk (receptacle). 
The circle of bracts (involucre) below the flower head is somewhat rigid and 
hairy especially on the edges. 



Heracle'um lana'tum 

Inflorescence large umbrella- 
shaped clusters (compound um- 
bels), 6 to 12 in. across, made 
up of numerous secondary clus- 
ters (umbellets) with stalks 
(rays) up to 6 in. long 

Individual flowers small, 
white, with 5, reverse-heart- 
shaped, often unequal petals; 
outer flower parts (calyx teeth) 

indistinct, often lacking 

Leaves divided into 3 main 
parts (leaflets), very hairy or 
downy, especially underneath, 
stalked with base of stalk much 
expanded into a sheath 

Leaflets large (up to 12 in. 
across), heart-shaped at the 
base, lobed and sharply saw- 
toothed around the edges 

"Seeds" (mericarps) strongly 
flattened, oval or somewhat 
rounded in outline, % to % in. 
long, y t to % in. wide, with con- 
spicuous side wings, paired but 
the two parts separating when 

Stem stout (often 2 in. thick 
at base), hollow, jointed, densely 
soft-hairy, ridged, erect, up to 
9 ft. tall 

Roots woody, thickened, 

Cow-parsnip is a leafy-stemmed, perennial herb, 3 to 9 feet tall, 
one of the largest in the carrot or parsnip family (Umbelliferae). 
It is also frequently called cow-cabbage and wild-pieplant. Swine 
are fond of the plant which explains the name hogweed sometimes 
used. It is a common and unusually widespread plant, growing from 
Labrador, Newfoundland, New England, and Ontario to Alaska 
southward to North Carolina, Texas, New Mexico, and California. 

Cow-parsnip is very widely distributed through the more moist 
range lands of the West. It is a typical moisture-loving plant which 
thrives best under conditions of semishade and grows chiefly on 
rich loamy soils along stream banks, on wet bottoms, in open wood- 
lands, shrub types, and meadow areas. Its common associates are 
willows, alders, sedges, false-hellebore, and other water-loving plants. 
Frequently it grows in scattered groups on moist, northern, or well- 
shaded hillsides in aspen stands and similar places. Its altitudinal 
range extends from slightly above sea level to about 10,000 feet. 

Cow-parsnip is highly palatable to all classes of livestock, being 
relished by cattle, sheep, and goats, especially in the earlier stages 
of its growth. The large tender leaves, flowers, and green seeds 
are eaten first, and frequently the large juicy stems are consumed 
nearly to the ground. In many places of scattering occurrence 
it is "becoming extinct because the livestock seek it in preference to 
more abundant forage. Although cow-parsnip seldom grows in dense 
stands, it frequently produces a plentiful supply of excellent forage 
owing to its large size and abundant leafage. The foliage remains 
green and palatable throughout the summer. Reproduction is 
entirely from seed. 

The tender leaf and flower stalks of cow-parsnip, being sweet and 
aromatic, are sought by certain Indians for green food before the 
flowers have expanded in the spring and early summer. Formerly 
the Indians used the thick basal parts of the stems as a salt substi- 
tute. The early Spaniards are reported to have used a medicine, 
compounded from the roots, in the treatment of rheumatism. 

Because of its vigor and great size cow-parsnip was given the 
generic name, Heraclewm, in honor of Heracles (Greek for Hercu- 
les). The species name lanatu/m means woolly or hairy, and refers 
to the fine silky hairs usually found on the plants, especially on the 
upper portions. This is the only species of Heraclewm, native to 
North America. 

The roots of cow-parsnip are thick, woody, and aromatic. The 
hollow, jointed stems are very stout, often being about 2 inches thick 
at the base. The leaves are compound and each is divided into three 
large, rather thin leaflets which are usually very hairy or downy 
underneath. Each leaflet has an individual stalk (petiole) and, to 
the casual observer, looks like a large simple leaf. Because of their 
form, they remind one of rhubarb or pieplant leaves. The small 
white flowers grow in large, showy umbrella-shaped clusters (umbels) 
6 to 12 inches broad. Blossoming usually occurs during July and 
August. "Seeds" are borne in rather large quantities and usually 
ripen during September ; they are oval, strongly flattened, somewhat 
hairy, and have conspicuous side wings. 



Heu'chera spp. 

Flowers yellowish, bracted, in a rather 
dense, spikelike cluster % to 3J{ in. long 
at end of leafless, densely sticky- 
hairy stalks 4 to 24 in. high 

Outer united flower parts (calyx or 
hypanthium) urn-shaped or bell- 
shaped, with 5, petal-like, lance-shaped 
to broadly oval lobes about same 
length as united portion ; petals usually 

Stamens 5, shorter than calyx lobes 
and opposite them 

Seed pod (capsule) egg-shaped, 1- 
celled, opening between the 2 beaks 
(styles), many-seeded 

Leaves all basal, tliickish, M to 2 
in. long, stalked, usually densely sticky- 
hairy, oval in. outline, with squared, 
rounded, or slightly heart-shaped base, 
.5-lobed; lobes toothed 

Root with thickened, woody, scaly, 
erect to almost horizontal root crown, 
which is often branched in older plants 

Ovalleaf alumroot (Heuchera ovalifo'lia). 

The genus Heuchera, named by Linnaeus in honor of Johann Helnrich von 
Heucher (1677-1747), professor of botany in Wittenberg, Germany, is an 
exclusively North American group, ranging from the Arctic regions to Mexico. 
About 80 species, all perennial herbs, are known ; of these, at least 30 species 
occur in the western range country ; about 12 others are confined to the 
Eastern States. Alumroots, blossoming as they do before hot, dry weather 
begins, prefer steep, rocky hillsides, that are moist in the early spring. 
They frequently occur in sheltered crevices of cliffs, apparently growing upon 
solid rocks. These plants rank among the first perennial vegetation to in- 
habit rock slides. Nearly all alumroots have strong, deep, vertical, taprootlike 
rootstocks which anchor them securely in the soil and fortify them against 
both drought and cold. The group is an exceptionally hardy one, and their 
leaves often persist throughout the winter. These plants are called alum- 
roots because of the alumlike taste of the rootstocks; some species are locally 
prized on account of their astringent properties. 

Alumroots are seldom abundant and frequently grow in places inaccessible 
to livestock; they are seldom eaten, however, probably due to the stinging 
astringency of the herbage. The rootstock of American alumroot (II. ameri- 
ca'na), an eastern species, is the source of the drug heuchem, an astringent 
and antiseptic, formerly official in medicine. It was used by the Indians as a 
powder in the treatment of sores, wounds, ulcers, and as a base for cancer 
powders. 1 Analysis 2 has shown that tannin is present in this drug. Holm 1 
also reports that hunters in Montana use the rootstocks of three native west- 
ern alumroots, i. e., rough alumroot (H. his'pida), roundleaf alumroot (H. 
cylin'drica)) and littleleaf alumroot (H. parrifo'lia), as astringents, and par- 
ticularly as a remedy for the diarrhea caused by drinking alkali water. Some 
pharmacologists believe that our American alumroots justify thorough study 
from the chemical and pharmaceutical standpoints. 3 4 

A few alumroots are known horticulturally, being grown chiefly in rock 
gardens. Coralbells (H. sangui'nea), a very showy, red-flowered species grow- 
ing on shaded cliffs in Arizona, New Mexico, and Mexico, is probably the most 
widely cultivated species, the source of a number of named horticultural 
varieties. 5 

The leaves of alumroots are usually long-stalked, more or less heart-shaped, 
shallow-lobed with toothed edges, and are mostly basal, or reduced and alter- 
nate when they occur on the stems bearing the flower clusters. The small, 
white, yellowish, greenish, purplish, or red, bell-shaped flowers are borne in 
loose, delicate clusters (panicles) on a slender or stout stalk. The five petals 
vary in length as compared with the five sepals or occasionally are lacking; 
they are often less conspicuous than the sepals and calyx tube (hypanthium), 
which are usually colored. The five slender-stalked stamens are inserted with 
the petals on the calyx tube, which is attached to the lower portion of the 
seed-producing organ (ovary). The dry, one-celled, two-beaked fruit (capsule) 
separates into two halves at maturity. 

Ovalleaf alumroot (Heuchera ovaUfoUa), a more or less tufted perennial herb 
with oval leaves, is representative of the range species of this genus. It occurs 
from southern British Columbia and southern Alberta to Colorado, Nevada, and 
northern California, being especially characteristic of the aspen, spruce, and al- 
pine belts but occasionally appearing at elevations of less than 2,000 feet in 
Washington. The plant prefers dry, sunny sites, growing commonly among the 
cliffs and rocks of the foothills and mountains ; sometimes, however, it develops 
as scattered individuals on the better soils of open grass or weed types. 

Although rather widely distributed, ovalleaf alumroot is not very abundant 
and has practically negligible livestock value. Deer and elk sometimes eat 
the plant, and sheep occasionally nibble at the flowers. 


Merck's Kept. 21 : 267-269, illus. 1912. 

a Peacock, J. C., and Peacock, B. L. DeG. FURTHER STUDY OF THE TANNIN OF 
HEUCHERA AMERICANA, LiNNE. Jour. Amer. Pharm. Assoc. 16 : 729-737. 1927. 

3 Schneider, A. PHARMACAL PLANTS AND THEIR CULTURE. Calif. State Bd. Forestry 
Bull. 2, 175 pp. 1912. 

4 Stuhr, E. T. MANUAL. OF PACIFIC COAST DRUG PLANTS . . . 189 pp., illus. Lancaster, 
Pa. 1933. 

illus. New York and London, 1933. 


Hiera'cium albiflo'rum 

(2 leaves) 

Flofrer heads small, 15- to 30-flowered, few to 
numerous, in open-branched clusters (panicu- 
late cymes) 

Flowers white- or cream-colored, all petal-like, 
squared at tip 

Bracts in a usually 1-rowed, cylindric or bell- 
shaped series (involucre) around the flower 
head, about % in. high, linear-lance-shaped,- 
equal, with a few short ones at base, hairless, 
minutely downy, or with a few bristly hairs 

Seeds" (achenes) reddish , brown, about ^ 
in. long, linear-cylindrical, mostly 10-ribbed, 
squared on top, crowned by a dense tuft of 
fragile, dull-white bristles (pappus) 

Stems slender, erect, 8 in. to 3 ft. tall, long- 
hairy below, usually hairless above 

Leaves mostly basal, with entire or only 
slightly toothed or wavy margins ; lower leaves 
oblong to reverse-lance-shaped, usually 2 to 6 
in. long, sparsely beset with long, white hairs 
especially on veins, narrowed at base to a 
winged leafstalk; stem leaves alternate, lance- 
shaped to linear; upper ones much reduced, 

Roots fibrous, from a rather thick, short root- 

White hawkweed, also known as white-flowered hawkweed and 
white woolly weed, is one of the most widely distributed and economi- 
cally important western species of Hieratiwin. It is rather typical 
in general appearance and forage value of most of the 25 or more 
species which occur on the western ranges, but is the only native 
species which has white flowers. The Latin specific name is an 
adjective meaning white-flowered (derived from albus, white, and 
flos, flower) ; both it and the English name refer to the distinctive 
white flowers. 

White hawkweed is distributed from Alaska to British Columbia 
and Saskatchewan, and south to Colorado and California, It grows 
in dry to moderately moist, open wooded slopes in the foothills and 
mountains, ranging from a few hundred feet above sea level in 
California and the Northwest to over 9,500 feet in the Rocky Moun- 
tains. This species occurs most commonly under the shade of pon- 
derosa-pine and lodgepole-pine stands, but also grows in old burns, 
cut-over lands, Douglas fir, and spruce-fir forests and, to a slight 
extent, in open grass and weed types. 

Unfortunately, white hawkweed almost invariably grows sparsely 
scattered over the range, making up only a very small part of the 
total ground coyer and, on that account, is usually classed as a filler. 
Where found, it is a valuable range weed as it is palatable to all 
classes of livestock, usually rating good to very good for sheep, fair 
to fairly good for cattle, and fair for horses. Deer and elk also 
graze this weed with relish from the time it first appears until it 
dries up in the fall. 

Apparently, white hawkweed is unable to withstand continued heavy 
grazing, as it is gradually disappearing from some of the closely 
utilized western sheep ranges. Reproduction occurs entirely from 
seed, but on most ranges relatively few seedlings are in evidence even 
under the most favorable conditions, indicating that the seeding 
habits of this species are weak. 

HAWKWEEDS (Hiera'cium spp.) 

The hawkweeds are members of the chicory tribe (Cichorieae) of 
the composite family (Compositae). A number of those range spe- 
cies which are conspicuously shaggy-hairy are usually called woolly- 
weeds. Many of the Old World species are conspicuously variable 
and have attracted the attention of students of mutation. As a result 
over 6,800 species of Hieradum have been described, making it, ap- 
parently, the world's largest genus of flowering plants. However, 
a conservative estimate of the actual number of species is probably 
about 400. Hawkweeds are distributed throughout the north tem- 
perate regions of the world and in the Andes Mountains of South 
America, with the greatest number occurring in Europe and northern 
Asia. Only a relatively few species are native to the United States, 
of which approximately 25 species grow on the ranges of the West. 
The generic name Hieraeiwrn is derived from the Greek word Jwerax, 
a hawk hence the common name, hawkweed. According to ancient 
legends, hawks sharpened their eyesight by using the sap of these 

(leaf 2) 

Hawkweeds are widely distributed in the Western States. They 
grow most abundantly in woodlands, open timberlands, moderately 
dry open habitats or, in the case of a few species, in moist meadows 
and parks. Practically all of the species are grazed closely by sheep 
and goats, and are also fair forage for cattle and horses. A number 
of species are utilized readily by game animals. Ordinarily, the 
hawkweeds occur sparsely throughout the western grazing lands and 
are usually of minor importance in any given locality. Several of 
the most characteristic and more valuable western species merit 
special mention. 

Woollyweed (H. scou'leri, syns. H. gris'eum, H. alberti'nwn), a 
yellow-flowered plant with its foliage, stems, and involucres densely 
covered with long, soft, white hairs, is one of the most important 
range species. It grows typically on dry, open grass and weed types 
and under open ponderosa pine timber, ranging from British Colum- 
bia and Alberta to Wyoming, Utah, and California. Woollyweed is 
highly palatable to sheep, but only fair for cattle. Although usually 
scattered in occurrence, it is sometimes fairly abundant in localized 
range areas. 

Houndstongue hawkweed (H. cynoglossoi' des) , a species resem- 
bling woollyweed but less hairy, is distributed over dry, grassy hill- 
sides, benchlands, and open woods, from British Columbia and Mon- 
tana to Wyoming and California. It is one of the most important 
hawkweeds in the Northwest ; all parts of the plant are grazed closely 
by sheep, and with moderate relish by cattle. It is a yellow-flowered 
species, rrom 1 to 2 feet high ; the lower leaves are rather hairy, but 
the upper ones, the upper part of the stem, and the bracts of the in- 
volucre are usually only sparingly hairy or often hairless. 

Slender hawkweed (H. gra'cile), a small, slender, moisture-loving 
species, characteristically grows in mountain meadows, alpine parks, 
along streams, and in damp places of open woods or old burns. It is 
distributed from Alaska to Alberta, New Mexico, and California, 
buiL like most of the other hawkweeds, is seldom abundant. When 
sufficiently abundant and accessible, it is regarded as a valuable weed. 
It is highly palatable to sheep) and is grazed to some extent by cattle. 
Slender hawkweed is a relatively low plant, usually 4 to 12 inches 
high; the leaves are mostly basal, hairless or nearly so; the stems 
are slender, naked or few-leaved, hairless or minutely woolly; its 
yellow flowers are in rather small flower heads, and the involucres 
ordinarily are densely covered with black hairs. 

Several of the hawkweeds are serious pests in the Eastern States, 
the leading one being orange hawkweed (H. auranti'acum), which 
has become one of the most troublesome weeds ever introduced into 
America. The handsome y orange-red flower heads have led to its 
use in ornamental plantings. Several other species are used in rock 
gardens, wild-flower gardens, and borders. Shaggy hawkweed 
(H. villa' 'sum) , an Old World species, has proved particularly desir- 
able for ornamental purposes. 

The hawkweeds are hairy, glandular, or sometimes smooth peren- 
nial herbs with alternate or basal, entire, or merely slightly toothed 

or wavy-margined leaves, and one to many flower heads of yellow, 
orange, red, pinkish, or sometimes white flowers. All of the indi- 
vidual flowers of each head are set on a flat, naked, common base 
(receptacle), and each has a strap-shaped (ligulate) corolla, which 
is squared and five-toothed at the summit. The involucres are cylin- 
drical or bell-shaped, with the principal bracts in one to three series, 
the outer ones usually being smaller than the others. The "seeds" 
(achenes) are columnar or cylindric, mostly 10-ribbed, not tapering 
toward the apex but squared on top, and are crowned with long tufts 
of fragile, stiffish, tawny, brownish or dull white bristles (pappus). 
The hawkweeds are closely related to the hawkbeards (Crepis spp.), 
and some of the species of the two genera are often confused. They 
can be readily distinguished, however, since most of the hawkbeards 
have toothed or deeply cleft leaves, their "seeds" are narrowed both 
at the top and base, and the copious tufts of hairs crowning the 
"seeds" are soft and white. In the hawkbeards the bracts of the 
involucre are thickened at the base or on the midrib, and the foliage 
is either hairless or densely woolly, whereas hawkweeds have un- 
thickened bracts and the foliage tends to be rough-hairy. 


HydrophyHum capita'tum 


Loaves mostly basal, long- 
stalked, 4 to 12 in. long, hairy, 
darker green above than below, 
divided into 5 to 7 main lobes; 
lobes 1 to 2 in. long, oblong to 
egg-shaped or reverse-egg- 
shaped, blunt or abruptly 
sharp-tipped, sometimes 2- or 
3-cleft or again lobed 

Flowers violet-blue, in dense, 
ball-shaped (capitate) clusters; 
flower-cluster stalk (peduncle) 
shorter than the leafstalks 

Threadlike stalk (style) 2- 
cleft, equaling the stamens 

Outer flower parts (sepals) 5, 
linear-oblong, about % as long 
as united petals (corolla), 
united at base, very hairy 

Corolla bell-shaped, 5-lobed, 
to % in. long 

Stamens 5, protruding; stalks 
(filaments) long, threadlike, 
hairy at the middle 

' Hoots fleshy, fibrous 


Ballhead waterleaf is also known as cats-breeches, ragged-breeches, bear- 
cabbage, and .simply as waterleaf. It is a low, perennial herb with attrac- 
tive ball-shaped clusters of violet-blue flowers ; deeply-lobed, long-stalked, hairy 
leaves ; short, indistinct stems ; and numerous, fleshy roots clustered on a 
short, underground rootstock. The genus Hydrophyllum, which gives the water- 
leaf family (Hydrophyllaceae) its name, is strictly American and consists 
of approximately a dozen species. Ballhead waterleaf is the most common 
and abundant of the seven or eight species of waterleaf which occur on the 
western ranges and is fairly representative of the group in general appearance 
and forage, value. The name waterleaf is a literal translation of Hydrophyllum, 
derived from the Greek Jii/dro-, water, and pliyllon, leaf. This name has a 
practical significance, as the foliage of the plants in this genus contains a 
high percentage of water and hence is termed washy feed by the western 
stockman. Ballhead waterleaf gets its Latin and English specific names from 
its distinctive ball-shaped (capitate) flower heads. 

Ballhead waterleaf ranges from British Columbia and Montana to Colorado, 
and central California ; it does not occur west of the Cascade Mountains in the 
Northwest. This herb extends from the low valleys and foothills up to the 
aspen and spruce belts, being most common at medium elevations. It most 
typically occupies fertile, semishaded sites in or bordering woodlands, open 
stands of aspen and ponderosa pine, in canyon bottoms, and on brushy hill- 
sides. However, it is not uncommon in weed or grass types of open slopes 
exposed to full sunlight. Ballhead waterleaf is one of the spring plant pioneers, 
as it appears with the first warm days of the season and makes its growth while 
the soil is still moist from the receding snows. 

This species has been used as an indicator of either range readiness or lack 
of readiness. Ordinarily, the principal forage plants are not ready for grazing 
until after ballhead waterleaf passes the flowering stage. Since this plant 
matures its seed, dries up, and disappears from most ranges early in the graz- 
ing season, it is usually of little value for forage. However, on some spring 
range areas and lambing grounds, it is readily grazed by all classes of livestock. 
and constitutes an important part of the early forage crop. On such areas, its 
palatability ranks as fairly good to very good for sheep, and fair for cattle. 
Deer and elk, after a winter diet of browse and dried herbage, welcome thu 
appearance of this succulent herb and graze it with relish. 

The young, tender shoots of this plant, as well as of several other species of 
waterleaf, are often eaten by both Indians and white men. They provide 
excellent greens, especially if gathered before flowering; the western Indians 
sometimes eat them raw. 

Western waterleaf (H. occidenta'le), also known as squawlettuce, because of 
its use for food by the Indians, ranges from Oregon to California and western 
Nevada. It is locally important on spring-range areas in eastern California, 
where it grows in abundance and ranks as fairly good forage for cattle and 
very good for sheep. This species closely resembles ballhead waterleaf in 
appearance and habitat, but is a taller plant, usually 5 to 15 inches high but 
sometimes attaining a height of 24 inches ; its clusters of violet purple to white 
flowers are borne on long stalks, and its leaves are divided into 7 to 15 sharp- 
pointed lobes, which may be further lobed or divided. 

Whiteface waterleaf (H. al'bifrvns), a rank-growing, white-flowered species, 
is an important forage plant in some localities in the Northwest, where it 
ranges from British Columbia to Washington and Idaho. It grows in dense 
patches in high mountain parks and meadows, as well as scatteringly along 
shady stream banks and in or ne;ir willow and alder thickets at lower eleva- 
tions. The succulent foliage is grazed with relish by livestock, especially 
sheep, during the forepart of tho summer grazing season. It produces washy 
forage lacking in substance, however, and usually dries up early, practically 
disappearing from the range by midsummer. 


Hype'ricum perfora'tum 

(2 leaves) 

Flowers yellow, % to 1 in. across, 
several to many in a round-topped end 
cluster (cyme), central flower of cluster 
blooming first 

Stamens numerous, about. as long as 
petals, in 3 to 5 clusters by union of the' 
stalks, withering-persistent 

Petals 5, not united, with black-gland- 
dotted margins, withering-persistent 

Outer flower parts (sepals) 5, green, 
narrowly lance-shaped, snorter than 

Leaves opposite, oblong to linear, K 
"o 1 in. long, stalkless, gland-dotted, 
rith black-gland-dotted, inrolled edges 

Stems erect, 1 to 5 ft. high, some- 
what clustered, short-branched, woody 
at base, herbaceous and flattened above, 
with numerous, small, flowerless (ster- 
ile) shoots from the base 

Seed pod (capsule) egg-shaped, 3- 
celled but not 3-lobed, glandular, 
tipped by 3 spreading stalks (styles) 

Taproot woody, perennial, thickened' 
and with numerous, horizontal branches 
near surface giving rise to new stems 

Common St.Johnswort is a very aggressive, moderately poisonous 
range weed pest introduced from Europe first reported in New 
England about 1800, and growing on the Pacific coast since 1900. 
It does not seem to be regarded as a very serious weed pest through- 
out the Middle West and East, but is firmly established and spread- 
ing in the Pacific Coast States, especially in northern California. 
It occurs less extensively in Montana, Idaho, and Utah, although, at 
present, also increasing its range in these States. The common name 
St.Johnswort has come from the Old World, where according to 
legend it bloomed on June 24, St. John the Baptist's Day. 1 This 
species is commonly known in California and Oregon as Klamath 
weed, as the original infestation came from the Klamath River 
country near the Oregon line. 

This species usually establishes itself on eroded pastures and aban- 
doned or poorly cultivated fields, although it also becomes abundant 
on adjoining deep and fertile soils. It prefers full sunshine on well- 
drained slopes and never grows satisfactorily in shaded areas, or 
where the soil remains moist. This plant flourishes at low eleva- 
tions and probably does not occur above the ponderosa-pine belt in 
any of the western States. Since this weed usually grows in pas- 
tures and fields, its associates include such grasses as annual fescues, 
wild oats, and broines as well as perennials like needlegrass and 
bluegrass. However, once well established it forms dense patches or 
even extensive fields, and dominates the soil to the exclusion of 
practically all other herbaceous vegetation. The mature plants are 
woody and, as a rule, unpalatable ; the young spring shoots, however, 
furnish fair forage for goats, and are sometimes grazed lightly by 
sheep and cattle. The weed is heavily grazed only where animals 
are forced to consume it and, under such starvation conditions, sick- 
ness and losses are most likely to ensue. 

Common St.Johnswort has long been recognized as a poisonous 
plant, although it is toxic only to white or unpigmented animals. 
This curious situation is probably due to some fluorescent substance 
in the plant which exerts harmful effects when absorbed by white- 
skinned animals that are subsequently exposed to full light. 2 Ap- 
parently all parts of the plant are toxic; well-bred and young ani- 
mals react most readily to the poison. Marsh and Clawson's 3 
feeding experiments show that cattle are more susceptible than 
sheep. Briefly, these investigators ascertained that the consumption 
of green foliage equivalent to 4 percent of the animal's weight 
poisoned sheep, but as little as 1 percent was toxic to cattle, with 5 
percent probably fatal. Sensitiveness varies with individual ani- 
mals, as some are not poisoned by repeated dosages, yet others sicken 
in a few hours and continue to show symptoms even a month after 
the feeding of this weed is discontinued. The first symptoms are 
increased pulse, temperature, respiration, and general uneasiness, 
probably caused by intense skin irritation. Later, blisters and a 

1 Bailey, W. W. ST.JOHNSWORT. Amer. Bot. 15 (3): 68-70. 1909. 

PIGMBNTED SKIN. Amer. Vet. Rev. 46 : 145-162, illus. 1914. 

FORATUM) ON CATTLE AND SHEEP. U. S. Dept. Agr. Tech. Bull. 202, 24 pp., illus. 1930. 

(leaf 2) 

scabby condition usually develop over the face and ears, but some- 
times over the back and sides. Sick animals soon lose weight and 
in severe cases become blind, develop sore mouths, and may even 
die rom malnutrition. Obviously, the poisonous effects of common 
St.Johnswort are largely cumulative and result in lower market 
prices and in curtailed wool quality and yield. 

In northern California common St.Johnswort is such a common 
pest that its eradication is a major problem. Sampson and Parker 4 
found such mechanical controls as digging, mowing, covering with 
opaque material, and flooding practical only on small areas. Burn- 
ing not only endangered other property values but extended the 
stands of common St.Johnswort, both by regrowth of the old plant 
from root crowns and underground runners and through increased 
germination of the heated seeds. A 15-percent solution of sodium 
chlorate applied as a fine spray during the spring or late summer 
appears to be the most effective means thus far developed for eradi- 
cating a stand of common St.Johnswort. Sodium chlorate, how- 
ever, is expensive and must be used with care. Clothing and other 
organic matter spattered with any of the evaporated solution are 
highly inflammable and explosive. The two California investigators 
mentioned believe that systematic goat grazing the weed is fairly 
palatable and only mildly poisonous to goats would probably help 
control common St.Johnswort. 

Common St.Johnswort blooms throughout the spring and early 
summer, the blossoms forming a mass of yellow wherever the plants 
form large patches. Later the flowers wilt, the leaves, stems, and 
seed pods become brown, and the whole colony acquires an unkempt, 
weedy appearance. The leaves are interesting, as they are speckled 
with glands resembling perforations, which accounts for the specific 
name perforatum. 

ST.JOHNSWORTS (Hype'ricum spp.) 

Hypericiiwi is a large genus of over 200 species widely distributed 
in the temperate and subtropical regions, especially of the northern 
hemisphere, although there are probably less than six species native 
to the Western States. They are herbs or shrubs, with opposite, 
stemless, or short-petioled and gland-dotted leaves, mostly yellow 
flowers of five equal petals and sepals, numerous, more or less united 
stamens, and 3- to 5-celled capsules. One annual, trailing St.Johns- 
wort (H. anagalloi' 'des) , is from 2 to 7 inches high and forms small 
mats in very wet places in the mountains from British Columbia 
to California and Montana. Scouler St.Johnswort (H. seow'leri), 
a native perennial, is smaller than common St.Johnswort, although 
similar in form and site requirements, but can be readily distin- 
guished by the absence of sterile shoots. It occurs from British 
Columbia to Montana, Colorado, and California. 

Calif. AST. Expt. Sta. Bull. 503, 48 pp, illus. 1930. 

A large and handsome shrubby species of the East, golden St. 
Johnswort (H. au'reum), is cultivated as an ornamental. All of the 
species are probably poisonous to livestock. Hypericum red, a well- 
known extract from this genus (specifically H. perforatum) , is a 
red, resinous substance formerly used extensively in the treatment 
of wounds. 



I'ris missourien'sis 

Flowers large, showy, pale blue or 
mrplish with darker veins, variegated, 
'rom 2 papery, dilated, rarely separated 

bracts, each flower on a stalk up to 2 in. 


Outer Mower parts (sepals) 3, colored, 
petal-like, broad, dilated, spreading or 
bent back, long-clawed, up to 2J in. 

Petals 3, ascending, narrower than 
sepals, up to 2 in. long, alternating with 
sepals and united with them below to 
form the perianth tube 

Appendages (styles) at tip of seed- 
producing organ, colored, petal-like, 
3-cleft at apex, opposite to and arching 
over the 3 stamens, almost completely 
united at base with perianth tube 

Seed pod (capsule) below perianth 
tube, oblong, 2% in. long and ** in. wide, 
many-seeded, 3-cclled, 6-riclged, split- 
ting down from the top along the middle 
back of each cell 

Stems 6 to 40 in. high, leafless or 
nearly so, usually 2-flowcrod, slender, 

Leaves mostly basal, 2-ranked, shorter 
than the stems, flat, sword-shaped, 
about !; in. wide, with parallel veins 

Roots thickened, fibrous, perennial, 
from stout, underground, dark-fibrous- 
coated rootstocks 

Rocky Mountain iris is a perennial herb, with large, attractive, blue flowers 
on long succulent stalks from thickened, dark, fibrous-coated, underground 
rootstocks. It occurs from North Dakota to New Mexico, southern California, 
and British Columbia and is the only species of Iris indigenous to the far 
Western States except for the three Pacific States, where other species are 
found. It appears chiefly in bottomlands or moist situations, in meadows and 
parks, at elevations upward to 10,000 feet. It generally grows in small clumps 
or patches but, under favorable conditions, may occur in dense, nearly pure 
stands of considerable size. It also frequently grows in such sites as gravelly 
hillsides which dry out during the summer. 

Rocky Mountain iris is worthless as a forage plant but, when its stand is 
increasing, it may be an indicator of overgrazing, as its robust underground 
rootstocks enable it to withstand trampling and to spread rather rapidly when 
other vegetation is weakened. This species, when once extensively established, 
greatly retards the revegetation of the range by more palatable plants. It is 
a good soil binder, but ordinarily grows in moist soils which are potentially 
capable of supporting other plants of equal soil-holding qualities and of greater 
forage value. 

This species flowers from May to July, depending on latitude and elevation. 
If moisture is available the plants remain green throughout the summer, 
otherwise they dry up in midsummer after the seed matures. 

IRISES (I'ris spp.) 

Iris is a large genus of herbaceous plants of north temperate regions, 
well known because of their attractive blossoms. Other common names are 
flag, flag-lily, snake-lily, and water-flag. A great variety and number of 
species occur in the southeastern United States, but the genus is rather poorly 
represented in the Western States, where only nine native species occur, eight 
of which grow exclusively in the Pacific Coast States. Generally, irises are 
found in moist to wet sites, or in situations where plenty of moisture is present 
early in the season during the main growth period, despite that such sites 
subsequently become very dry. However, the distribution of irises in the 
West is spotted rather than general, although these species frequently are 
so abundant on favorable sites that they form nearly pure stands. 

Irises are worthless as forage plants. They are sometimes important obsta- 
cles to range improvement, in that they tend to increase on overgrazed areas 
adapted to their growth, and when once established greatly retard the regen- 
eration of palatable forage species. 

The genus is of considerable importance commercially, as many species are 
grown extensively as ornamentals. The American Iris Society has recognized 
some 2,300 named commercial varieties and hybrids which have been developed 
through intensive cultivation. 1 

The Indians formerly used the tough, flexible fibers from the leaf margins of certain 
species, such as Oregon iris (/. tenax). in making strong twine for snares and nets. They 
also used the rhizomo, or "root" of blueflag iris (T. versicolor). the most widespread species 
in the eastern United States, as a remedy for stomach disorders, and are reputed to have 
grown this plant for its medicinal value. 2 Both Indians and whites used this species as 
an alterative, diuretic, and purgative (op. cit.). An extract of the root was also used as 
a remedy for dropsy and is listed as an official drug in the United States Dispensatory. 3 
The rhizome in the fresh state possesses considerable potency as a cathartic and emetic. 
It has no odor, hut the taste is acrid and nauseous. An analysis of the roots of this 
species disclosed that the principal compounds are yellow oil, isophthalic acid, salicylic 
acid, tannin, sugar, and resins containing fatty acids. 4 The rhizomes of Florentina iris 
(/. germanica, syn. I. florentina) and of sweet iris (/. pallida) are used in the prepara- 
tion of orrisroot, which is imported chiefly from Leghorn, a province in Italy. This 
product is used in medicine, as a sachet powder, for dry shampoos, and for cleaning teeth. 

1 American Joint Committee on Horticultural Nomenclature. STANDARDIZED PLANT 
NAMES . . . Prepared by F. L. Olmsted, F. V. Coville, and H. r. Kelsey. 546 pp. 
Salem, Mass. 1923. 

2 Henkel, A. AMERICAN ROOT DRUGS. U. S. Dept. Agr., Bur. Plant Indus. Bull. 107, 
80 pp., illus. 1907. 

3 Remington, J. P., Wood, H. C., Jr., Sadtler, S. P., La Wall, C. H., Kraemer, H., and 
Wood and Dr. Franklin Bache. Ed. 20. thoroughly rev. and largely rewritten . . . 
2,010 pp. Philadelphia and London. 1918. 

COLOR. Amer. Jour. Pharin. 83 : 1-14. 1911. 



Lap'pula floribun'da 

Outer united flower parts (calyx) 
deeply cut into 5 narrow lobes 

United petals (corolla) short-narrow- 
tubular, about % in. across, with 5 
spreading lobes, the throat closed by 5 
scales; stamens 5, included in the 

Flowers numerous, blue or white, 
stalked, not leafy-bracted, in ascending 
clusters (racemes) from leaf axils; 
racemes sometimes branched (pani- 

"Stickseeds" (nutlets) smooth or 
somewhat roughened on the back, with 
unequal, flattened, somewhat united, 
awl-shaped prickles along the margins, 
in pyramidal clusters of 4 

Leaves alternate, entire, 2 to JB in. 
long, linear-lance-shaped to oblong, 
hairy; lower leaves stalked; upper 
leaves stalkless 

Sternal-solitary or tuftedj erect, 2 to 
5 ft. high, leafy, rough-hairy 

Taproot biennial or perennial, often 
with somewhat thickened, woody root 

Thicket stickseed, a fairly tall, leafy, biennial or perennial weed, 
with burlike fruits, is a moderately common and fairly widely dis- 
tributed species, ranging from western Ontario to British Columbia, 
California, New Mexico, and Minnesota. It is distributed from the 
plains and foothills to the spruce zone, although more common at 
the lower elevations and in the ponderosa pine zone. It grows in 
from moderately moist to rather dry soils, and generally occurs 
most abundantly in thickets and among bushes and in such waste 
places as roadsides and neglected dooryards. However, although gen- 
erally scattered, it is common on the range and occurs in grass- 
weed, sagebrush, aspen and, to some extent, open conifer types. 

This species, probably because of the rough-hairy character of 
its stems and leaves and on account of the prickly fruits, is generally 
poor forage for cattle and only fair for sheep. In a few localities, 
it ranks as fair cattle forage and fairly good sheep forage. On 
the range it is often most abundant where more palatable vegeta- 
tion has been depleted as a result of overgrazing. 

The flowers, which are blue or white, have usually formed fruit 
at the base of the cluster, while those at the top are still in bloom. 
The flowers are numerous, a fact to which the specific name flori- 
bimda (literally, abounding in flowers) refers, and the plant in 
bloom is rather showy. This species ordinarily flowers from June to 

STICKSEEDS (Lap'pula spp.) 

Stickseeds, also known as burseeds, sticktights, and beggarticks, 
thus named because the burlike nutlets cling to clothing and the 
fur of animals, compose a genus of about 40 species of annuals, 
biennials, or perennials mostly native in the North Temperate Zone. 
This genus is a member of the borage family (Boraginaceae) and 
gets its name Lappwla, meaning a little bur, from the Latin, lappa, a 
bur. The stickseeds are widely distributed in the West, but usually 
are abundant only in such waste places as along roads and fences 
and in abandoned fields. They are of common occurrence on the 
range, however, and often increase on overgrazed areas. 

Generally, the stickseeds are practically worthless to poor forage 
for cattle and horses and poor to fair for sheep and goats, although 
occasionally they may rate somewhat higher in palatability. As a 
rule, stickseeds are not abundant and are of secondary importance. 

Stickseeds are often pest weeds in fields and pastures. Their seeds, 
which cling tightly to clothing and become entangled in the manes 
and tails of cattle and horses and in the wool of sheep, are annoying 
to both men and animals. 

The seed-producing organ (ovary) of this genus is deeply four- 
lobed and develops into four nutlets with barbed prickles on the 
margins or back. The plants are usually rough-hairy; the leaves 
are alternate, narrow, and entire; and the small, regular flowers 
are blue or white. The five-lobed corollas have a very short tube, 
closed at the throat by five scales. The five stamens are short and 
included within the corolla tube. 


La'thyrus leucan'thus 

Flowers white, yellowish or yellow, in 2- to 
many-flowered clusters (racemes) arising from 
axils of middle leaves, with 5 dissimilar petals 
forming a pea-h'Ke bloom about K in- long 

Upper petal (banner) broader than others 
2 middle petals usually shorter than upper one- 
2 lowest petals (keel) united, boatlike, curved 

Stamens 10, in 2 groups of 9 and 1, enclosed in 
the keel, their threadlike stalks united into a 
tube which is squarely cut across the top 

Outer united flower parts (calyx) about K as 
long as petals, green, deeply 5-toothed, the lower 
teeth somewhat longer than upper 

A. Stalk (style) of seed-producing organ 
(ovary), flattened toward the tip, with white 
hairs along only one side. B. Illustrates the 
style of the very similar vetches (Vicia spp.) 

Leaves alternate, divided, stalked; midrib ex- 
tended into a tendril, often much reduced 

Leaflets 2 to 4 pairs (rarely more), oval, up to 
2 in. long, hairless, veiny, abruptly sharp-pointed 

Leaflike bracts (stipules) 2, at base of leaf- 
stalks, each shaped like half an arrowhead, about 
% as long as leaflets 

Stems more or lass 4-sided, usually erect, 
sometimes trailing 

Rootstocks underground, slender, somewhat 

Taproot slender, somewhat woody at top. 
Pod (legume) hanging, broadest toward tip 

Aspen peavine is a delicate, trailing, or climbing perennial herb with the 
graceful, pealike, rather sweet-smelling blossoms so characteristic of many 
members of the pea family (Leguniinosae, or Fabaceae). This species is con- 
fined to the Rocky Mountains, ranging from southern Idaho to Wyoming, New 
Mexico, and Arizona. It is a plant of the higher elevations and occurs in 
greatest abundance in the upper aspen and spruce belts. Its preferred habitat 
is the rich, moist soils of aspen groves where it often makes up a large part 
of the undergrowth. This herb seldom grows in stands dense enough to 
exclude other species and is commonly associated with American vetch (Vioia 
americana), asters (Aster spp.), blue wild-rye (Elymus glaucus), cinquefoils 
(Potentilla spp.), wild-daisies (Erigeron spp.), and yarrows (Acliillea, spp.). 
The specific name, leucanthus, is a Greek word meaning white-flowered. 

Opinions differ as to the palatability of aspen peavine. Some observers 
state that it is nearly if not quite as palatable as American vetch, which is 
one of the best range weeds ; others maintain that it is almost worthless 
as a forage plant. Probably its true value lies somewhere between these 
extremes. Ordinarily, sheep and cattle as well as goats graze aspen peavine 
readily, although in Utah and southern Idaho sheep usually do not graze 
it much until after the first frost. Horses graze it in the fall after the pods 
are mature and quickly put on good, hard fat when a plentiful supply of this 
plant is available. Deer and elk also forage aspen peavine. 

PEAVINES (La'thyrus spp.) 

The peavines constitute a genus comprising mostly smooth, weak-stemmed, 
trailing, or climbing plants with divided (even-pinnately compound) leaves. All 
the native western species are perennials. The best known member of the 
genus is undoubtedly the cultivated sweetpea (L. odoratus). This annual, 
originally a native of Sicily, is widely cultivated for its delicately odorous, 
variegated blossoms. At present at least 65 named and well-recognized varie- 
ties have been developed through intensive cultivation and selection. 

The genus is well represented in the West and, although no one species 
ranges over the entire region, several species occur in each State California, 
Oregon, and Washington having the largest number. Peavines occur from 
near sea level on the Pacific coast to above timber line in the Rocky Moun- 
tains, but are most abundant at medium elevations. They are found in moist, 
rich soils and on dry scablands, in open exposures in grass and weed types, 
among shrubs, and in the shade of coniferous and broadleaf timber, being most 
typical of open aspen areas. 

Peavines vary considerably in palatability. Generally the trailing or climbing 
species with tendrils on the leaves are more palatable than the erect-stemmed 
species and are usually at least fair to good forage for cattle, sheep, and goats. 
The erect-stemmed species probably are not better than poor to fair forage and 
in Utah, southern Idaho, and the Southwest the palatability of most species of 
Lathyrus appears to be low. Horses ordinarily graze peavines only in the 
fall after the pods are well matured. Among the more palatable species are 
cream peavine (L. ochroleucus) , marsh peavine (L. palustris), sulphur pea- 
vine (L. sulphureus), and bush peavine (L. eucosmus] ; some of medium pal- 
atablity are Nuttall peavine (L. nuttallti), fewflower peavine (L. pauci- 
florus), Arizona peavine (L. arizonicus), and aspen peavine (L. leucanthus); 
and some of less than average palatability are Sandberg peavine (L. bijuffatus 
sandberffii, syn. L. sandbergii) and thickleaf peavine (L. coriaceus). All species 
of peavine are of value for forage chiefly during the summer and fall, as they 
do not cure well but dry up and largely disappear after the first heavy frosts. 
Some species have extensive root systems with horizontal rootstocks and are 
able to withstand considerable heavy grazing. 

The pealike blossoms, divided (even-pinnately compound) leaves usually 
terminated by a tendril or this reduced to a tip or small appendage, and the 
frequently four-sided, weak stems will serve to distinguish the peavines from 
most other range plants except the very similar vetches (Vicia spp.). 



Leon'todon tara'xacum, syns. Tara'xacum dens-leo'nis, T. officina'le, 

T. tara'xacum 

"Seeds" (achenes) green to brownish yellow, 
Js in. long, spindle-shaped, each ridged, the 
ridges with tiny spines near tops, tapering 
above into a beak % in. long; beak tipped by a 
crown of fine, brownish or white hairs (pappus) 

Flowers all strap-shaped, bright golden-yellow, 
perfect and seed-bearing 

Flower stalks 1 to several, 2 to 16 in. high, 
round in cross section, hollow, each ending in 
a single flower head 

Bracts (involucre) surrounding flower head, 
about /2 in. high, narrow or narrowly lance- 
shaped, green with white-papery margins, 
usually in 2 rows, outer row early bent back, 
inner enclosing immature flower head, but 
spreading or reflexing when flowers fully open 

Leaves up to 12 in. long, in a basal rosette 
from a stout, perennial taproot, oblong or 
spatula-shaped in outline, ragged-toothed to 
coarsely and pinnately lobed with the pointed 
lobe tips pointing toward base of plant 

Dandelion, probably the best known and most widespread weed in 
the world, grows on a wide variety of soils but prefers moist soils 
or. at least, those that remain moist until midsummer. Hence it is 
found commonly on the range in weedy meadows, along open stream 
banks and to a less degree on moist, open slopes, in stands of aspen 
and lodgepole pine. A typical location for dandelion is the gully- 
drained soils of eroded meadows. 

Dandelion provides good forage on the range and is often re- 
garded as an important forage plant. It is readily eaten by all 
classes of livestock, being especially relished by sheep. It is one 

of the first plants to begin growth in the spring and when the herb- 
age is removed, as in grazing, it continues growth and retains its 
succulence until fall if moisture conditions are favorable. The 
leaves may be upright, or if the plant cover is unusually dense or the 
growth rank, they may be spreading. Under intensive grazing and 
denuded soil conditions, dandelion plants usually cling to the ground, 
which prevents complete use of the foliage. Because of its strong, 
deep taproot, dandelion is able to withstand trampling and heavy 

The presence of dandelion on the range may or may not indicate 
overgrazed conditions, and therefore its classification as an indicator 
of overgrazing must be carefully qualified. It occurs frequently in 
protected pastures and similar locations which support a normally 
undisturbed plant cover of weeds and grasses, indicative of satisfac- 
tory growing conditions. It also occurs on sites where the normal 
plant cover has been depleted as a result of overgrazing or less 
favorable moisture conditions due to abnormal drainage, trampling, 
and drought. 

The dandelion is a pest in lawns, etc. It is outstandingly aggressive 
and persistent because of its deep and stout taproot, many leaves, 
and abundant, widely scattered seed. The fact that it is found from 
sea level almost to timber line indicates its adaptability to a great 
variety of conditions, especially with regard to temperature and 
length of growing period. 

The dandelion is a good hcney plant in the more humid parts of 
the country, its copious blooms being the source of large quantities 
of nectar and pollen, although their season of production is often 
short. 1 2 Dandelion has long been cultivated for greens, the more 
delicate early growth of the wild plants being used for that purpose. 
Its bitter root is used medicinally as a tonic, and liver stimulant. 3 * 

From an evolutionary standpoint dandelion is of great interest ; its deep 
perennial taproot, milky juice, leaf rosettes, immense vitality, aggressiveness, 
and intense efficiency in the production and dissemination of seed enable it to 
withstand extreme variations in growth conditions, as reflected by its cosmo- 
politan distribution. Many botanists consider it the most specialized of plants 
and place it at the evolutionary summit of the plant kingdom. 

The leaves of dandelion are wholly basal. Its flowers are generally produced 
in the spring and summer and, under favorable conditions, throughout the 
year. Dandelion leaves are oblong, divided into a number of opposite lobes 
with curved tips pointing toward the base of the plant. The flower stalk 
each plant has one or more terminates in a single flower head. The bracts, 
which in the bud enclose the flower head, are double-rowed, both rows subse- 
quently folding under the base of the head, the outer row before flowering 
and the inner row shortlv after the petals are lost. 

The scientific name Lcontodon and the common name dandelion both signify 
lion's tooth, in reference to the peculiarly jagged leaf edges. 


illus. Hamilton, 111. 1930. 

2 Vansell, G. H. NECTAR AND POLLEN PLANTS OF CALIFORNIA. Calif. Agr. Expt. Sta. 
Bull. 517. [60] pp. 1931. 

3 Lyons. A. B. PLANT NAMES SCIENTIFIC AND POPULAR . . . Ed. 2, thoroughly rev. 
and enl., 630 pp. Detroit. 1907. 

Agr. Misc. Pub. 77, 74 pp., illus. 1930. 



Leptotae'nia multi'fida, syn. L. dissec'ta multi'fida 

Flowers small, yellow or purple, borne 
in small rounded clusters (umbellets); 
(rays) to form a compound umbrella- 
shaped cluster (umbel) up to 5 inches 
across; bractlets at base of umbellet 
few to many 


Leaves mostly basal, large, finely dis- 
sected, resembling leaf of cultivated 
carrot, covered with very fine downy 

"Stems -hollow, smooth, 1 to 3 ft. tall, 
stout (up to % in. thick) 

"Seeds" (mericarps) in pairs but 
parting when ripe, strongly flattened, 
smooth, oblong-elliptical, % to % in. long, 
with narrow, thickened side wings; face 
flat or slightly concave; bock with 
several threadlike ribs 

Roots- deep-set, spindle-shaped, thick- 
ened, woody taproots, usually crowned 
with fibrous tuft of remains of old stems 

Carrotleaf, frequently called \vildcarrot, Indian-balsam, wildcelery, wild- 
parsley, and wildparsnip, is a moderately tall, stout perennial herb of the 
carrot family (Urubelliferae). This is the most common, abundant, and wide- 
spread of about 12 species of Le-ptotaenia which grow in the West, and is more 
or less typical of the group in appearance, habitat, and forage value. 

Carrotleaf grows from Alberta to western Wyoming, New Mexico, California, 
and British Columbia. It is typically a plant of the foothills and open lower 
mountain slopes, but ranges from the piiion-juniper, through the ponderosa 
pine, to the aspen belt, occurring in the plains and valleys and extending into 
the mountains up to elevations of about 9,000 feet. The species usually grows 
on dry, gravelly, or rocky soils, but occasionally is found in more or less 
shaded places and in rich, sandy bottom loams. It occurs most commonly and 
makes its best growth, however, on warm, open exposures. Plants with which 
it is usually associated include arrowleaf balsamroot, sagebrush, lupine, and 
wheatgrass. Ordinarily its growth is scattered, but it is abundant and one 
of the dominant spring plants on some localized areas. 

Carrotleaf, like most other species of its genus, is valuable for forage only 
in the spring and early summer. Growth starts early, soon after the snow 
disappears. The plants utilize the early spring soil moisture in making their 
development. The flowers are produced in April and May and the plants dry 
up soon after the seeds mature in June and July. When dry, the plants become 
hard and brittle and are worthless for forage. The herbage, while green, is 
highly palatable to all classes of livestock. Sheep, in particular, seek the 
plants and often eat them down to the ground. Palatability ratings of this 
plant are from fair to good or very good for sheep, and poor to good for 
cattle. Reports are occasionally made, and have even appeared in print, that 
this plant is suspected of being poisonous. No scientific evidence whatever 
appears to exist to support this viewpoint ; but, on the contrary, the experience 
of the Forest Service is that, under range conditions, it is harmless and a good 
forage plant. It seems likely that the bad reputation of some of its relatives, 
such as the poisonous waterhemlocks, have been saddled upon it. In preliminary 
trials, which have been made to use carrotleaf in artificial range reseeding, itj 
has become established from the original seeding, but thus far has failed to 
reproduce. 1 

Carrotleaf has parsniplike roots which are characteristically crowned with 
tufts of the coarse, fibrous remains of old stems. These strong, deep-set 
aromatic taproots fortify the plants against loss from heavy grazing. The 
leaves are mostly basal but occasionally arise from a short, branched stem 
or from the flower stalks. The stalks, which bear the flower clusters, usually 
extend above the general level of the leaves and are 1 to 3 feet tall and as 
much as one-half of an inch in diameter. They are hollow and smooth, 
and sometimes have a purplish tinge. The fruits or "seeds" are produced in 
fairly large quantities and are grouped in tufts on short stalks (pedicels) 
one-fourth to seven-eighths of an inch long at the ends of the main branches 
(rays) of the umbel. The leptotaenias can easily be distinguished from other 
western umbellifers by their strongly flattened smooth "seeds". These are 
shaped like ordinary squash seeds, although somewhat smaller, being from 
one-fourth to one-half of an inch long and about half as wide. The edges 
are bordered by narrow but thick corky wingg. One face of the "seed" is 
flat or slightly dished (concave) and has a distinct rib or scar down the 
middle. The other face is slightly rounded and bears several threadlike ribs. 
The name Leptotaenia is from the Greek (leptos, slender; tainia, a band) and 
refers to these threadlike ribs on the "seeds." The specific name multifida 
is descriptive of the much-divided (multifid) leaves which, with their numerous 
fine segments, strongly suggest those of the cultivated carrot. 

The resinous balsamic roots of leptotaenias were extensively used, after 
roasting, as food by the Indians. When dried and powdered or grated these 
parts were also used as medicine, especially for sores. 3 

RANGE LANDS. U. S. Dept. Agr. Circ. 178, 48 pp., illus. 1931. 

COLUMBIA. U. S. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Ann. Kept. 45: 441-522. 1930. 


Lewi'sia redivi'va 


Flowere large, showy, solitary at ends 
of naked stalks 

Petals mostly 12 to 16, rose-colored, 
purplish, or rarely white, xisually oval 
or sometimes narrower, % to 1 % in. long 

Stamens numerous (about 40) 

Outer flower parts (sepals) 6 to 8, 
round-oval, % in. long, persistent 

Flower stalks jointed near the middle, 
with 2 or more awl-like bracts at the 

Taproot thick, fleshy, branching, per- 

Seed pod (capsule) splitting crosswise 

Leaves numerous, in a basal tuft, 
thick, fleshy, round or nearly so, % to 
1% in. long 

Lith. A. Hoen & Co. 

Bitterroot. a member of the portulaca family, is a smooth, low- 
growing, succulent perennial herb, which bears large, conspicuous, 
and attractive blossoms during the spring. The old settlers, trans- 
lating the vernacular names of the Indians, called the plant bitter- 
root because of the bitter taste of the roots. These plants were given 
the scientific name Lewisia in honor of the illustrious Capt. Meri- 
wether Lewis, of the Lewis and Clark exploring expedition into the 
Northwest. Although the species occurs from British Columbia to 
New Mexico and California, it is best known in Montana, where it is 
the State flower and where the Bitterroot Mountains, the Bitterroot 
Valley, and the Bitterroot National Forest are named in its honor. 
Bitterroot is occasionally known as redhead Louisa. It was called 
spatlum by the Flatheads and konah by the Snakes. 

Bitterroot plants are small and the leaves dry up and vanish as 
soon as the flowers appear. The species has no forage significance. 
The roots, which formerly were important in the dietary of the 
Indians, are still used to a considerable extent. The early explorer 
Geyer wrote : a "The root is dug during flower-time, when the cuticle 
is easily removed ; by that it acquires a white colour, is brittle, and by 
transportation broken to small pieces. Before boiling, it is steeped 
in water, which makes it swell, and after boiling it becomes five to 
six times larger in size ; resembling a jelly like substance. As it is so 
small a root, it requires much labour to gather a sack, which com- 
mands generally the price of a good horse. Indians from the lower 
regions trade in this root by handfuls, paving a high price." And 
Granville Stuart states: 2 "It is very nutritious, but has an exceed- 
ingly bitter taste, hence its name. I never could eat it, unless very 
hungry, but many of the mountaineers are very fond of it." 

Bitterroot grows on gravelly benches, river bars, and prairies at 
lower elevations and on stony slopes and open ridges at high eleva- 
tions in the mountains, its thick fleshy taproot creeping down and 
anchoring in the crevices of the rocks. The fleshy, cylindrical, some- 
times club-shaped leaves form basal tufts whence arise the short, 
leafless, jointed flower stalks. The black and shiny seeds are borne 
in a capsule which splits into an upper and lower part. 



YEARS 1843 AND 1844. Jour. Bot. [London] 5 : 285310. 1846. 



THE COUNTRY, ITS CLIMATE, ETC. . . . 175 pp. New York. 1865. 


Ligus'ticum spp. 

The loveroots, known commonly as wildcelery, lovage, osha, wild- 
parsley, and ligusticum, are smooth perennial herbs of the carrot, or 
parsnip, family (Umbelliferae). They are known as chuchupate in 
the Southwest, and two Rocky Mountain species are called cough- 
roots because of their medicinal uses. Liffusti&em occurs chiefly in 
the Northern Hemisphere. With perhaps two or three exceptions, all 
the North American species are confined to the western part of the 
continent and about 18 species occur on the mountain ranges of the 

Loveroots grow at elevations ranging from slightly above sea level 
in the humid forests of the Pacific Northwest to about 12,000 feet in 
Colorado and the Southwest. They are typically plants of the 
higher elevations and are found throughout the mountains of all 
the Western States. They grow in scattered stands in the rich 
moist soils of shady woodlands, marshes, meadows, along stream 
banks, and in alpine or subalpine parks. Although plants of this 
genus often appear in drier situations on the sandy, gravelly, or 
rocky soils of moderately dry meadows and hillsides, they prefer 
the more moist and fertile sites. The loveroots are commonly asso- 
ciated with bluegrasses, bromegrasses, columbine, cow-parsnip, false- 
hellebore, sedges, larkspurs, willows, and other species inhabiting the 
better soils or glades. 

Sampson, 1 in his studies in the Blue Mountains of Oregon, found 
that the water requirements of Oregon loveroot (L. oregcmum), 
which is described as typical of the majority of the more palatable 
species, were somewhat higher than most of its associates. The 
plant wilts usually beyond recovery in a soil whose water content 
is reduced to a point between 8 and 9.5 percent. That investigator 
also disclosed that the plants had weak seeding habits, the seed being 
low in viability. In 1907 and the two following seasons he obtained 
germinations of 2.6 and 11.5 percent, respectively. Oregon loveroot, 
and especially in its fruiting parts, is very sensitive to frost, which 
may partially explain the low viability of the seed, as frosts in the 
early fall are rather frequent in the high mountains where the plant 
occurs. Reproduction occurs sparingly on the range, even on allot- 
ments in process of reseeding under deferred grazing. Since the 
loveroots have taproot systems and do not regenerate vegetatively 
from running rootstocks, they depend entirely upon seed lor repro- 
duction and are probably not capable of forming pure or nearly pure 
stands even under the most favorable conditions. However, they 
are sufficiently abundant in some small scattered areas to form a 
very important part of the palatable vegetation. 

Most of the loveroots are highly palatable to all classes of live- 
stock. Sheep, especially, are fond of the herbage; cattle will eat a 
high percentage, and horses also often show a liking for it. Several 

U. S. Dept. Agr. Bull. 545, 63 pp., illus. 1917. 

species of loveroot are highly palatable to deer and elk, and it is very 
probable that all species are eaten readily by game animals. The 
plants remain green and palatable until the first heavy frosts, when 
they lose their foliage and become dry and brittle, and are practically 
worthless as forage. 

The roots of a number of these plants ar used for digestive ail- 
ments and as a tonic, and are considered valuable in the treatment 
of coughs and colds. An eastern species, Canada loveroot (L. cana- 
dense], sometimes called American lovage, is employed extensively 
for flavoring tobacco. Several Old World species are cooked as 

The loveroots grow from aromatic, deepset, stout, woody, and 
sometimes branched taproots. The blackish, hairlike fibrous rem- 
nant of old leaves forms a conspicuous tuft upon the older root 
crowns. Loveroots can also be readily recognized by the very dis- 
tinctive, sharp, strong, warm, and somewhat celerylike flavor of the 
roots. This flavor cannot be described adequately in words but, 
once experienced, is recognized as highly distinctive. The stems 
are hollow, generally slender and smooth, and quite variable in size. 
Several species are slender plants and grow from 8 inches to 2 feet 
tall; others attain a height of 3 .feet, with some individuals growing 
up to 4 feet or more. The stout stems of the larger plants are 
often from one-half to three-fourths of an inch in diameter. The 
leaves are usually large, and mostly basal, very few growing on the 
main stalk. In all species the leaves are divided into many segments 
which vary considerably in shape and size among the different spe- 
cies. The segments in some species are long, fine, and linear, and 
resemble those of carrot leaves, while others are broader, like the 
divisions of fern leaves. Several species have leaves which suggest 
those of celery. 

Loveroot flowers are white or pinkish and are borne in rather 
large, many-rayed, umbrella-shaped clusters (umbels), 2 to 5 inches 
broad, which are usually free from bracts or leaflike appendages. 
The loveroots can be distinguished from other plants of the carrot 
family by their fruits or "seeds". These "seeds" are not strongly flat- 
tened but are shaped like an elongated egg, are tipped with conspic- 
uous conical beaks (stylopodia), and have prominent equal ribs. 
The "seeds" are rather small, being one-eighth to five-sixteenths of an 
inch long. 



Ligus'ticum filici'num 

Flowers small, white, borne on 
short stalks (up to % in. long) 
in numerous small "umb'rella- 
shaped clusters (umbellets) ; 
umbellets borne on stalks (rays) 
up to 2 in. long, forming a com- 
plex umbrella-shaped cluster 
1 (umbel); umbels hairless, 
few- bracted or bractless 

Leaves large, mostly basal, 
finely dissected; ultimate divi- 
sions narrowly linear to linear- 

Stems 12 to 40 in. high, 
smooth, hollow, more or less 

"Seeds" (mericarps) in pairs 
but separating when ripe, nar- 
rowly oblong, about Yt in. long, 
not strongly flattened, hairless, 

/with prominent, equal, some- 
what winged ribs, tipped with 
distinct conical knobs (stylo- 

Taproot large, deep-set, _ aro- 
matic, usually crowned with a 
coarse fibrous tuft of remains of 
old leafstalks 

Fernleaf loveroot, also called fernleaf lovage, osha, wildcelery, 
and wildparsnip, is one of the most abundant of the western love- 
roots. It ranges from Idaho and western Montana to Colorado and 
Utah. It grows in the mountains at moderate to high elevations, 
extending through the ponderosa pine, aspen, and spruce belts to 
elevations of approximately 10,000 feet. Like its sister species, this 
plant prefers moist, fertile soils in grassy parks, meadows, and 
shady woods, but is also found on drier well-drained soils on the 
open hillsides. 

Throughout its range fernleaf loveroot is highly prized as a 
forage plant because of its high palatability. It is an excellent sheep 
weed, ranks fair to good in palatability for cattle, is also grazed by 
game animals and to a limited extent by horses. It usually remains 
green throughout the summer months and is relished as much late 
in the season as early in the summer. This plant seldom is abun- 
dant in any one place and, due to its high palatability but relative 
scarcity, is often referred to as an ice cream plant. 

Fernleaf loveroot is a stout herb, 12 to 40 inches tall, with an 
abundance of large, finely dissected leaves, whose fernlike character 
is referred to in the specific name fiticimim. which is derived from 
the Latin word fiUw, fern. The main stalk of the plant is thick, 
hollow, and somewhat leafy. The small white flowers are borne in 
large, compound umbels, often 4 and 5 inches broad. The fruits, or 
"seeds", grow in pairs but separate w r hen ripe. They are narrowly 
oblong with, prominent equal ribs, are smooth, without spines or 
bristles, and have flat or slightly dished inner surfaces where they 
face each other. 

Porter loveroot (L. por'teri), also called osha and chuchupate, 
may be regarded as a more southern and coarser-leaved sister species 
of fernleaf loveroot, to which it is very closely related and similar 
in forage value and general appearance. It is usually a stouter 
plant and differs mainly in that the ultimate leaf segments are con- 
spicuously broader, being lance-shaped to ovate-lance-shaped as con- 
trasted with the linear leaf divisions of fernleaf loveroot. 

Porter loveroot is the most important Ligusticum in the central 
Rocky Mountain and southwestern regions. It ranges from Wyo- 
ming to New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. The habitat and alti- 
tudinal range are similar to those of fernleaf loveroot. In the moun- 
tains of New Mexico it grows to elevations of over 11,000 feet. In 
Colorado it is a common and highly valued component of the vege- 
tation under aspen stands, as well as in weed types of old subalpine 
spruce burns. 

The aromatic roots of both this species and fernleaf loveroot have 
a pleasant warm taste and are used in the treatment of coughs, colds, 
stomach disorders, and other ailments. In the drug trade they are 
sold under the names of Colorado or Kocky Mountain coughroot and 


Li'num lewi'sii 

(2 leaves) 

Flowers blue (rarely white), stalked, usually 
several in a flat-topped, end cluster 

Outer flower parts (sepals) 5, up to about % 
in. long, egg-shaped, sharp-pointed, 3- to 5- 
nerved, persistent 

Petals 5, up to about % in. long, soon falling 

Leaves alternate, erect, narrow to linear, 
K to 1 in. long, sharp-pointed, stalkless, hairless 

Stems often densely tufted, erect, up to 30 
in. high, often branched above, very leafy, 
faintly ridged 

Stamens 5, with slender stalks (filaments) 
united at base 

Threadlike stalks (styles) 5, elongated, with 
small, knoblike tips (stigmas) turning inward 

Seed pod (capsule) somewhat globe-shaped, 
5-celled, opening by 10 valves; each cell with a 
partial partition, usually 2-seeded; seeds elon- 

Taproot woody, perennial, with a thickened 
root crown 

Near the Continental Divide in Montana, Capt. Meriwether Lewis, 
of the famous Lewis and Clark expedition, found, one day, blue 
fields of a wild flax which particularly interested him, because the 
plant had perennial roots. This flax proved to be a new species 
and was named Linum l&wisii by Frederick Pursh, the distinguished 
botanist (1774^-1820), in honor of its first collector. Prairie flax is 
a native western North American species, which is widely distributed 
from Manitoba to Alaska and southward to California, Texas, and 
Mexico. Although common over the prairies and foothills, where it 
often forms dense stands, it also grows in the coniferous timber 
types of the mountains and occasionally occurs as high as 10,000 feet 
in Colorado and the Southwest. The "common blue flowering flax" 
to which Fremont 1 so frequently alludes, in describing western 
floral landscapes, is almost certainly Linu/mi lewisii. 

Over most of its range, prairie flax ranks as worthless, poor, or, 
when young and tender in the spring, occasionally fair forage. In 
certain regions of intensive use, particularly in parts of Montana, 
Wyoming, and adjacent eastern Idaho, Colorado, and the Modoc 
areas of northeastern California, it sometimes rates as fair for cattle 
and fairly good for sheep. Such utilization, however, is largely cor- 
related with an inferior stand of palatable grasses and weeds. Al- 
though at least one native American flax species has positively been 
involved in livestock losses, apparently no definite suspicion of poi- 
sonous properties has fastened on prairie flax. Analysis by the 
Bureau of Chemistry and Soils, of Linimi leuiisii material, from the 
Gila National Forest, New Mexico, fai