Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

Grass Family (Poaceae). Hairy grama is a native, warm season, perennial grass. The height is between 10 and 20 inches. The leaf blade is flat or slightly rolled; narrow; mostly basal; margins hairy. The leaf sheath is rounded; smooth; shorter than internodes. The seedhead is 1 to 4 spikes, purplish before maturity, about 1 inch long; rachis extends beyond spikelets.

Distribution: For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Regional Distribution in the Western United States

More info on this topic.

This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):



 7 Lower Basin and Range

10 Wyoming Basin

11 Southern Rocky Mountains

12 Colorado Plateau

13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont

14 Great Plains

15 Black Hills Uplift

16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands

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Occurrence in North America



AL   AZ   AR   CA   CO   FL    IL   IA   KS   MI   MN    MS

MO   MT   NE   NV   NM   ND   OK   SD   TX   UT   WI    WY

AB   MB   ON   SK

MEXICO

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Hairy grama is an important and prominent feature of the shortgrass prairies of the Great Plains [35]. It is widely distributed and less important from eastern South Dakota to Wisconsin and Illinois, south to New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana and into Mexico, west to southern Utah, Nevada, and southern California. The plant also appears as a disjunct population in Florida [19,79].

  • 79. Welsh, Stanley L.; Atwood, N. Duane; Goodrich, Sherel; Higgins, Larry C., eds. 1987. A Utah flora. The Great Basin Naturalist Memoir No. 9. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University. 894 p. [2944]
  • 19. Cronquist, Arthur; Holmgren, Arthur H.; Holmgren, Noel H.; [and others]. 1977. Intermountain flora: Vascular plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A. Vol. 6. The Monocotyledons. New York: Columbia University Press. 584 p. [719]
  • 35. Hitchcock, A. S. 1951. Manual of the grasses of the United States. Misc. Publ. No. 200. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Administration. 1051 p. [2nd edition revised by Agnes Chase in two volumes. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.]. [1165]

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the term: warm-season

Hairy grama is a densely tufted, warm-season, short-lived, perennial, native shortgrass. Culms are numerous, 8 to 16 inches (20-40 cm) tall and hairy [4,19,61]. In the northern part of its range and in areas with sufficient precipitation, hairy grama may form a continuous groundcover [75]; while in the drier, southern portions, the grasses are distinctly clumped [61].

Hairy grama has shallow, fibrous roots, which may allow it to take advantage better of intermittent, sparse precipitation during the warm growing season [4,56]. Biomass production of hairy grama positively correlates with growing season (April-August) precipitation [56]. At the Los Alamos National Laboratory in north-central New Mexico, the rooting depth of hairy grama averaged 41 inches (103 cm), with a range from 18 to 55 inches (46-137 cm) [24].

Hairy grama resists drought [67]. In Nebraska laboratory studies to assess the ability of prairie grasses to withstand drought, hairy grama was the 3rd most resistant species, after blue grama and buffalograss. Hairy grama suffered very little mortality under high temperatures, low water, and simulated hot winds (soil and atmospheric drought) [50].

  • 4. Barnes, P. W.; Harrison A. T. 1982. Species distribution and community organization in a Nebraska sandhills mixed prairie as influenced by plant/soil-water relationships. Oecologia. 52: 192-201. [5026]
  • 24. Foxx, Teralene S.; Tierney, Gail D. 1987. Rooting patterns in the pinyon-juniper woodland. In: Everett, Richard L., compiler. Proceedings--pinyon-juniper conference; 1986 January 13-16; Reno, NV. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-215. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 69-79. [4790]
  • 50. Mueller, J. M.; Weaver, J. E. 1942. Relative drought resistance of seedlings of dominant prairie grasses. Ecology. 23: 387-398. [5814]
  • 56. Potvin, M. A.; Harrison, A. T. 1984. Vegetation and litter changes of a Nebraska sandhills prairie protected from grazing. Journal of Range Management. 37(1): 55-58. [6002]
  • 61. Roy, Girija P. 1968. A systematic study of the Boutelou hirsuta-Bouteloua pectinata complex. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University. 73 p. p. Dissertation. [3523]
  • 67. Stubbendieck, J.; Nichols, James T.; Roberts, Kelly K. 1985. Nebraska range and pasture grasses (including grass-like plants). E.C. 85-170. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska, Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service. 75 p. [2269]
  • 75. Wallmo, O. C. 1955. Vegetation of the Huachuca Mountains, Arizona. The American Midland Naturalist. 54: 466-480. [20325]
  • 19. Cronquist, Arthur; Holmgren, Arthur H.; Holmgren, Noel H.; [and others]. 1977. Intermountain flora: Vascular plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A. Vol. 6. The Monocotyledons. New York: Columbia University Press. 584 p. [719]

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Physical Description

Perennials, Terrestrial, not aquatic, Rhizomes present, Rhizome short and compact, stems close, Stolons or runners present, Stems nodes swollen or brittle, Stems erect or ascending, Stems geniculate, decumbent, or lax, sometimes rooting at nodes, Stems mat or turf forming, Stems caespitose, tufted, or clustered, Stems terete, round in cross section, or polygonal, Stem internodes hollow, Stems with inflorescence less than 1 m tall, Stems, culms, or scapes exceeding basal leaves, Leaves mostly basal, below middle of stem, Leaves conspicuously 2-ranked, distichous, Leaves sheathing at base, Leaf sheath mostly open, or loose, Leaf sheath smooth, glabrous, Leaf sheath hairy at summit, throat, or collar, Leaf sheath and blade differentiated, Leaf blades linear, Leaf blades very narrow or filiform, less th an 2 mm wide, Leaf blades mostly flat, Leaf blade margins folded, involute, or conduplicate, Leaf blades more or less hairy, Ligule present, Ligule a fringe of hairs, Inflorescence terminal, Inflorescence with 2 or more spikes, fascicles, glomerules, heads, or clusters per culm, Inflorescence a panicle with narrowly racemose or spicate branches, Inflorescence with 2-10 branches, Inflorescence branches 1-sided, Inflorescence branches terminating in bristle or point, Flowers bisexual, Spikelets sessile or subsessile, Spikelets laterally compressed, Spikelet less than 3 mm wide, Spikelets with 1 fertile floret, Spikelets solitary at rachis nodes, Spikelets all alike and fertille, Spikelets bisexual, Spikelets disarticulating above the glumes, glumes persistent, Spikelets secund, in rows on one side of rachis, Rachilla or pedicel glabrous, Glumes present, empty bracts, Glumes 2 clearly present, Glumes distinctly unequal, Glumes equal to or longer than adjacent lemma, Glume equal to or longer than spikelet, Glumes 1 nerved, Lemma coriaceous, firmer or thicker in texture than the glumes, Lemma 3 nerved, Lemma glabrous, Lemma body or surface hairy, Lemma apex dentate, 3-5 fid, Lemma mucronate, very shortly beaked or awned, less than 1-2 mm, Lemma with 1 awn, Lemma with 3 awns, Lemma awn less than 1 cm long, Lemma margins thin, lying flat, Lemma straight, Palea present, well developed, Palea membranous, hyaline, Palea shorter than lemma, Palea 2 nerved or 2 keeled, Stamens 3, Styles 2-fid, deeply 2-branched, Stigmas 2, Fruit - caryopsis, Caryopsis ellipsoid, longitudinally grooved, hilum long-linear.
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Dr. David Bogler

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Type Information

Possible type for Bouteloua hirsuta var. minor Vasey
Catalog Number: US 100423
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Status verified by specimen annotations only
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): S. B. Buckley
Year Collected: 1883
Locality: Texas, United States, North America
  • Possible type: Vasey, G. 1890. U.S.D.A. Div. Bot. Bull. 12 (1): t. 39, fig. 2.
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Syntype for Bouteloua hirticulmis Scribn.
Catalog Number: US 81722
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): T. S. Brandegee
Year Collected: 1899
Locality: Sierra de San Francisquito Mts., Baja California, Mexico, North America
  • Syntype: Scribner, F. L. 1901. U.S.D.A. Div. Agrostol. Circ. 30: 4.
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Ecology

Habitat

Chihuahuan Desert Habitat

This taxon is found in the Chihuahuan Desert, which is one of the most biologically diverse arid regions on Earth. This ecoregion extends from within the United States south into Mexico. This desert is sheltered from the influence of other arid regions such as the Sonoran Desert by the large mountain ranges of the Sierra Madres. This isolation has allowed the evolution of many endemic species; most notable is the high number of endemic plants; in fact, there are a total of 653 vertebrate taxa recorded in the Chihuahuan Desert.  Moreover, this ecoregion also sustains some of the last extant populations of Mexican Prairie Dog, wild American Bison and Pronghorn Antelope.

The dominant plant species throughout the Chihuahuan Desert is Creosote Bush (Larrea tridentata). Depending on diverse factors such as type of soil, altitude, and degree of slope, L. tridentata can occur in association with other species. More generally, an association between L. tridentata, American Tarbush (Flourensia cernua) and Viscid Acacia (Acacia neovernicosa) dominates the northernmost portion of the Chihuahuan Desert. The meridional portion is abundant in Yucca and Opuntia, and the southernmost portion is inhabited by Mexican Fire-barrel Cactus (Ferocactus pilosus) and Mojave Mound Cactus (Echinocereus polyacanthus). Herbaceous elements such as Gypsum Grama (Chondrosum ramosa), Blue Grama (Bouteloua gracilis) and Hairy Grama (Chondrosum hirsuta), among others, become dominant near the Sierra Madre Occidental. In western Coahuila State, Lecheguilla Agave (Agave lechuguilla), Honey Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa), Purple Prickly-pear (Opuntia macrocentra) and Rainbow Cactus (Echinocereus pectinatus) are the dominant vascular plants.

Because of its recent origin, few warm-blooded vertebrates are restricted to the Chihuahuan Desert scrub. However, the Chihuahuan Desert supports a large number of wide-ranging mammals, such as the Pronghorn Antelope (Antilocapra americana), Robust Cottontail (Sylvilagus robustus EN); Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus), Grey Fox (Unocyon cineroargentinus), Jaguar (Panthera onca), Collared Peccary or Javelina (Pecari tajacu), Desert Cottontail (Sylvilagus auduboni), Black-tailed Jackrabbit (Lepus californicus), Kangaroo Rats (Dipodomys sp.), pocket mice (Perognathus spp.), Woodrats (Neotoma spp.) and Deer Mice (Peromyscus spp). With only 24 individuals recorded in the state of Chihuahua Antilocapra americana is one of the most highly endangered taxa that inhabits this desert. The ecoregion also contains a small wild population of the highly endangered American Bison (Bison bison) and scattered populations of the highly endangered Mexican Prairie Dog (Cynomys mexicanus), as well as the Black-tailed Prairie Dog (Cynomys ludovicianus).

The Chihuahuan Desert herpetofauna typifies this ecoregion.Several lizard species are centered in the Chihuahuan Desert, and include the Texas Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum); Texas Banded Gecko (Coleonyx brevis), often found under rocks in limestone foothills; Reticulate Gecko (C. reticulatus); Greater Earless Lizard (Cophosaurus texanus); several species of spiny lizards (Scelopoprus spp.); and the Western Marbled Whiptail (Cnemidophorus tigris marmoratus). Two other whiptails, the New Mexico Whiptail (C. neomexicanus) and the Common Checkered Whiptail (C. tesselatus) occur as all-female parthenogenic clone populations in select disturbed habitats.

Representative snakes include the Trans-Pecos Rat Snake (Bogertophis subocularis), Texas Blackhead Snake (Tantilla atriceps), and Sr (Masticophis taeniatus) and Neotropical Whipsnake (M. flagellum lineatus). Endemic turtles include the Bolsón Tortoise (Gopherus flavomarginatus), Coahuilan Box Turtle (Terrapene coahuila) and several species of softshell turtles. Some reptiles and amphibians restricted to the Madrean sky island habitats include the Ridgenose Rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi), Twin-spotted Rattlesnake (C. pricei), Northern Cat-eyed Snake (Leptodeira septentrionalis), Yarrow’s Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus jarrovii), and Canyon Spotted Whiptail (Cnemidophorus burti).

There are thirty anuran species occurring in the Chihuahuan Desert: Chiricahua Leopard Frog (Rana chircahuaensis); Red Spotted Toad (Anaxyrus punctatus); American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus); Canyon Treefrog (Hyla arenicolor); Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans); Rio Grande Chirping Frog (Eleutherodactylus cystignathoides); Cliff Chirping Frog (Eleutherodactylus marnockii); Spotted Chirping Frog (Eleutherodactylus guttilatus); Tarahumara Barking Frog (Craugastor tarahumaraensis); Mexican Treefrog (Smilisca baudinii); Madrean Treefrog (Hyla eximia); Montezuma Leopard Frog (Lithobates montezumae); Brown's Leopard Frog (Lithobates brownorum); Yavapai Leopard Frog (Lithobates yavapaiensis); Western Barking Frog (Craugastor augusti); Mexican Cascade Frog (Lithobates pustulosus); Lowland Burrowing Frog (Smilisca fodiens); New Mexico Spadefoot (Spea multiplicata); Plains Spadefoot (Spea bombifrons); Pine Toad (Incilius occidentalis); Woodhouse's Toad (Anaxyrus woodhousii); Couch's Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus couchii); Plateau Toad (Anaxyrus compactilis); Texas Toad (Anaxyrus speciosus); Dwarf Toad (Incilius canaliferus); Great Plains Narrowmouth Toad (Gastrophryne olivacea); Great Plains Toad (Anaxyrus cognatus); Eastern Green Toad (Anaxyrus debilis); Gulf Coast Toad (Incilius valliceps); and Longfoot Chirping Toad (Eleutherodactylus longipes VU). The sole salamander occurring in the Chihuahuan Desert is the Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum).

Common bird species include the Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus), Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia), Merlin (Falco columbarius), Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), and the rare Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus). Geococcyx californianus), Curve-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostra), Scaled Quail (Callipepla squamata), Scott’s Oriole (Icterus parisorum), Black-throated Sparrow (Amphispiza bilineata), Phainopepla (Phainopepla nitens), Worthen’s Sparrow (Spizella wortheni), and Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus). In addition, numerous raptors inhabit the Chihuahuan Desert and include the Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) and the Elf Owl (Micrathene whitneyi).

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San Lucan Xeric Scrub Habitat

This taxon is found in the San Lucan xeric scrub, an ecoregion situated at the southern-most part of the Baja Peninsula of Mexico; this diverse landscape of mountains, valleys, and plateaus is covered with a variety of species of xeric vegetation. This neotropical ecoregion is classifed within the Deserts and Xeric Scrublands biome. Plants and animals of this region evolved independently before the Baja Peninsula, a previous island during the Miocene, joined the mainland. An arid climate supports a number fauna and species, about ten percent which of which are endemic.

The ecoregion took shape in the Miocene as an isolated landform prior to joining the peninsula, and thus can be considered an biogeographical island of vegetation. This arid landscape is composed of a vast, rugged complex of granitic mountains, valleys, canyons, and plateaus. The ecoregion occupies the plateaus between the coast and the lower limits of the dry forests, which begin around 250 meters. Precipitation is about 400 millimetres annually.

Some elements of dry forest habitat are present in this ecoregion, but xeric elements are dominant and include Chain-link Cholla (Opuntia cholla); Elephant Tree (Bursera microphylla), at the southern limit of its range here and extending north to the Waterman Mountains in the USA; Mauto (Lysiloma divaricata); Organ Pipe Cactus (Stenocereus thuberi), Mala Mujer (Cnidoscolus angustidens), Yucca spp., and Barrel Cacti (Ferocactus spp). Herbaceous elements in the ecoregion include Plantago linearis, Bouteloua hirsuta, and Commelina coelestis.

The San Lucan xeric scrub harbours 31 of 48 of the reptile species for the Cape Region. Almost a third of the wider regional recorded species of collembola arthropods and spiders (30 of 138 species, respectively) occur in this ecoregion. In general, over ten percent of animal and plant species found here are endemic.

Within the San Lucan xeric scrub ecoregion, reptilian taxa include: the endemic Island Burrowing Sand Snake (Chilomeniscus punctatissimus); the endemic Isla Cerralvo Snake (Chilomeniscus savagei), restricted solely to Cerralvo Island; the Cape Arboreal Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus licki), a near-endemic restricted to the southern portion of the Baja Peninsula; the near-endemic Spiny Chuckwalla (Sauromalus hispidus NT), found only on Angel de la Guarda Island, Granito, Mejía, Pond, San Lorenzo Norte, San Lorenzo Sur, and other islands in Bahía de los Ángeles, including Cabeza de Caballo, La Ventana, Piojo, Flecha, Mitlàn, and Smith, Gulf of California; the near-endemic San Lucan Leaf-toed Gecko (Phyllodactylus unctus NT), found only on southern Baja Peninsula and some islands within the Gulf of California: Gallo, Partida Sur, Espiritu Santo, Ballena, Gallina and Cerralvo. There are only a small number of anuran species present in the ecoregion: Red-spotted Toad (Anaxyrus punctatus); and Pacific Chorus Frog (Pseudacris regilla).

The Espiritu Santo Island Antelope Squirrel (Ammospermophilus insularis) is endemic to the San Lucan xeric scrub ecoregion and is found only on the island of Espiritu Santo in the Gulf of California. Among threatened mammals occurring in the ecoregion are: the near-endemic Dalquest's Pocket Mouse (Chaetodipus dalquesti VU), known from the Cape Region of the Baja California Peninsula.

Threatened mammals in the ecoregion include: the near-endemic Peninsular Myotis (Peninsular Myotis EN), found only on southern Baja Peninsula; Fish-eating Bat (Myotis vivesi VU), a near-endemic occurring chiefly on the near-shore islands off of the southern Baja Peninsula and mainland Sonora; Mexican Long-tongued Bat (Choeronycteris mexicana NT); and the Lesser Long-nosed Bat (Leptonycteris yerbabuenae VU).

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Habitat characteristics

More info for the term: codominant

Hairy grama is common in open plains, in partially shaded openings in woods and brush, on well-drained, usually rocky soils [32]. Hairy grama survives in some difficult sites, including dry sandy or sandy-loam soils, [19] and rocky hills [35]. The plant grows predominantly on rocky sites in Kansas [72]. Hairy grama does better in thin rocky soils in New Mexico than on better soils, where it gives way to blue grama [12].

In southeastern Arizona, hairy grama rarely dominates but is widespread. The plant occurs in all major habitats except for floodplains and washes, mostly on silty soils with much exposed rock [8]. Hairy grama prefers coarser soils than does blue grama [41]. On the Edwards Plateau, Texas, hairy grama is usually associated with stony-loamy clay soils [75].

Throughout its range, hairy grama is common in ridge sites with thin soils and droughty characteristics [56]. Although the plant is a subdominant or codominant on many habitat types, these harsh sites are one of the few types on which hairy grama dominates. In a southern Nebraska loess hills mixed-grass prairie, hairy grama occurs most commonly on limy and lowland sites, and less often on silty sites. Limy sites are calcareous uplands with 7-31% slope, and shallow, silt loam soils. These sites are quite dry, since soils have low water capacity and drainage is rapid. In contrast, the lowland sites are characterized by steep slopes but relatively high water holding capacity [60].

Hairy grama grows from 165 to 990 feet (50- 300m) in the Great Plains [32], and from 1,000 to 6,500 feet (300-1970 m) throughout the Southwest [42]. In the Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas, hairy grama is common between 5500 and 6,000 feet (1650-1800 m), on soils derived from eroded sandstone [15,51]. In Arizona and New Mexico, hairy grama is most commonly found from 4,000 to 6,500 feet (1212-1969 m), but occasionally lower [36,59].

  • 42. Kearney, Thomas H.; Peebles, Robert H.; Howell, John Thomas; McClintock, Elizabeth. 1960. Arizona flora. 2d ed. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1085 p. [6563]
  • 8. Bock, Jane H.; Bock, Carl E. 1986. Habitat relationships of some native perennial grasses in southeastern Arizona. Desert Plants. 8(1): 3-14. [478]
  • 12. Bridges, J. O. 1942. Reseeding practices for New Mexico ranges. Bull. 291. Las Cruces, NM: New Mexico State University, Agricultural Experiment Station. 48 p. [5204]
  • 15. Burgess, Tony L.; Northington, David K. 1974. Desert vegetation in the Guadalupe Mountains region. In: Wauer, Roland H.; Riskind, David H., eds. Transactions of the symposium on the biological resources of the Chihuahuan Desert region, United States and Mexico; 1974 October 17-18; Alpine, TX. Transactions and Proceedings Series No. 3. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service: 229-242. [16061]
  • 32. Gould, Frank W. 1979. The genus Bouteloua (Poaceae). Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden. 66: 348-416. [5758]
  • 36. Humphrey, Robert R.; Brown, Albert L.; Everson, A. C. 1952. Common Arizona range grasses: Their description, forage value and management. Bulletin 243. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona, Agricultural Experiment Station. 102 p. [4442]
  • 41. Kaul, Robert P.; Keeler, Kathleen H. 1980. Effects of grazing and juniper-canopy closure on the prairie flora in Nebraska high-plains canyons. In: Kucera, Clair L., ed. Proceedings, 7th North American prairie conference; 1980 August 4-6; Springfield, MO. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri: 95-105. [2923]
  • 51. Northington, David K.; Burgess, Tony L. 1979. Summary of the vegetative zones of the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas. In: Genoways, Hugh H.; Baker, Robert J., eds. Biological investigations in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park: Proceedings of a symposium; 1975 April 4-5; Lubbock, TX. Proceedings and Transactions Series No. 4. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service: 51-57. [16017]
  • 56. Potvin, M. A.; Harrison, A. T. 1984. Vegetation and litter changes of a Nebraska sandhills prairie protected from grazing. Journal of Range Management. 37(1): 55-58. [6002]
  • 59. Reynolds, Hudson G.; Martin, S. Clark. 1968. Managing grass-shrub cattle ranges in the Southwest. Agric. Handb. 162. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 34 p. [4253]
  • 60. Rothenberger, Steven J. 1995. Plant community analysis of Schultz Prairie, Webster County, Nebraska. In: Hartnett, David C., ed. Prairie biodiversity: Proceedings, 14th North American prairie conference; 1994 July 12-16; Manhattan, KS. Manhattan, KS: Kansas State University: 35-41. [28225]
  • 72. Tomanek, G. W.; Albertson, F. W. 1953. Some effects of different intensities of grazing on mixed prairies near Hays, Kansas. Journal of Range Management. 6: 299-306. [2345]
  • 75. Wallmo, O. C. 1955. Vegetation of the Huachuca Mountains, Arizona. The American Midland Naturalist. 54: 466-480. [20325]
  • 19. Cronquist, Arthur; Holmgren, Arthur H.; Holmgren, Noel H.; [and others]. 1977. Intermountain flora: Vascular plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A. Vol. 6. The Monocotyledons. New York: Columbia University Press. 584 p. [719]
  • 35. Hitchcock, A. S. 1951. Manual of the grasses of the United States. Misc. Publ. No. 200. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Administration. 1051 p. [2nd edition revised by Agnes Chase in two volumes. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.]. [1165]

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Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the terms: association, shrubs



In the Sandhills of Nebraska, hairy grama is a prominent species of upper dune slopes and ridges. Its cohabitants in these open, sparsely vegetated sites are prairie sandreed (Calamovilfa longifolia), little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), needle-and-thread grass (Hesperostipa comata), prairie junegrass (Koeleria macrantha), sand bluestem (Andropogon gerardii var. paucipilus), sunflower (Helianthus spp.), soapweed yucca (Yucca glauca), and leadplant (Amorpha canescens) [4,76].

At the southernmost extreme of the Great Plains tallgrass prairie, in north-central Texas, little bluestem dominates with big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), Indian ricegrass (Sorghastrum nutans), switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), sideoats grama (B. curtipendula), hairy grama, rough dropseed (Sporobolus asper), silver bluestem (Bothriochloa saccharoides), Texas wintergrass (Stipa leucotricha), and Texas cupgrass (Eriochloa sericea) [1].

In the Guadalupe Mountains of northern Texas, in the Chihuahua desert, hairy grama appears with blue grama, black grama (B. eriopoida), wolftail (Lycurus phleoides), curly leaf muhly (Muhlenbergia setifolia), New Mexico feathergrass (Stipa neomexicana), and blue threeawn (Aristida glauca), and the shrubs smooth-leaf sotol (Dasylirion leiophyllum), feather dalea (Dalea formosa), and mariola (Parthenim incanum) [15].

In southern Texas, hairy grama appears as a sub-dominant in the little bluestem-trichloris (Trichloris spp.) association with mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) or oak (Quercus) spp., Texas prickly-pear (Opuntia linheimeri), little bluestem, trichloris, silver bluestem, big bluestem, plains bristlegrass (Setaria macrostachya), sideoats grama, Texas wintergrass, buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides), knotroot bristelgrass (Setaria geniculata), Indiangrass, eastern gramagrass (Tripsacum dactyloides), and big sandbur (Cenchrus myosuroides) [47].

In the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains of southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, Trans-Pecos Texas, and northern Mexico, hairy grama appears in savannas close to the Madrean evergreen woodland type. This type is dominated by several oak (Quercus spp.) and pine species (Pinus spp.) with wolftail, little bluestem, plains lovegrass (Eragrostis intermedia), blue grama, sideoats grama, tanglehead (Heteropogon contortus), green sprangletop (Leptochloa dubia), lupines (Lupinus spp.), brickelbushes (Brickelia spp.) sages (Salvia spp.), daleas (Dalea spp.), buckwheats (Eriogonum spp.), Louisiana sagewort (Artemisia ludoviciana), flatsedges (Cyperus spp.), Hibiscus spp., woodsorrels (Oxalis spp.), and beans (Phaseolus spp.) [13].

The pine savannah habitat type of western North Dakota features ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) with an understory of big and little bluestem, prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis), stonyhills muhly (Muhlenbergia cuspidata), blue, hairy, and sideoats grama, and leadplant [29].

Habitat typings in which hairy grama appears as a community dominant include:

The flora and sandhills prairie communities of Arapaho Prairie, Arthur Country, Nebraska [43]

Some characteristics and uses of Arizona's major plant communities [58]

Vegetation of the Huachuca Mountains, Arizona [75]

Vegetation of the northern part of Cherry County, Nebraska [71]

  • 4. Barnes, P. W.; Harrison A. T. 1982. Species distribution and community organization in a Nebraska sandhills mixed prairie as influenced by plant/soil-water relationships. Oecologia. 52: 192-201. [5026]
  • 1. Anderson, Elizabeth S. 1992. Reconstructed prairie as an educational tool. In: Smith, Daryl D.; Jacobs, Carol A., eds. Recapturing a vanishing heritage: Proceedings, 12th North American prairie conference; 1990 August 5-9; Cedar Falls, IA. Cedar Falls, IA: University of Northern Iowa: 209-211. [24742]
  • 13. Brown, David E. 1982. Madrean evergreen woodland. In: Brown, David E., ed. Biotic communities of the American Southwest--United States and Mexico. Desert Plants. 4(1-4): 59-65. [8886]
  • 15. Burgess, Tony L.; Northington, David K. 1974. Desert vegetation in the Guadalupe Mountains region. In: Wauer, Roland H.; Riskind, David H., eds. Transactions of the symposium on the biological resources of the Chihuahuan Desert region, United States and Mexico; 1974 October 17-18; Alpine, TX. Transactions and Proceedings Series No. 3. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service: 229-242. [16061]
  • 29. Gartner, F. R. 1986. The many faces of South Dakota rangelands: description and classification. In: Clambey, Gary K.; Pemble, Richard H., eds. The prairie: past, present and future: Proceedings, 9th North American prairie conference; 1984 July 29 - August 1; Moorhead, MN. Fargo, ND: Tri-College University Center for Environmental Studies: 81-85. [3529]
  • 43. Keeler, K. H.; Harrison, A. T.; Vescio, L. S. 1980. The flora and sandhills prairie communities of Arapaho Prairie, Authur County, Nebraska. Prairie Naturalist. 12: 65-78. [5533]
  • 47. McLendon, Terry. 1991. Preliminary description of the vegetation of south Texas exclusive of coastal saline zones. Texas Journal of Science. 43(1): 13-32. [14890]
  • 58. Reynolds, Hudson G. 1962. Some characteristics and uses of Arizona's major plant communities. Journal of the Arizona Academy of Science. 2: 62-71. [1959]
  • 71. Tolstead, W. L. 1942. Vegetation of the northern part of Cherry County, Nebraska. Ecological Monographs. 12: 255-292. [4470]
  • 75. Wallmo, O. C. 1955. Vegetation of the Huachuca Mountains, Arizona. The American Midland Naturalist. 54: 466-480. [20325]
  • 76. Wallmo, Olof C.; Regelin, Wayne L.; Reichert, Donald W. 1972. Forage use by mule deer relative to logging in Colorado. Journal of Wildlife Management. 36: 1025-1033. [4486]

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Habitat: Rangeland Cover Types

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following Rangeland Cover Types (as classified by the Society for Range Management, SRM):

More info for the terms: association, shrub



207 Scrub oak mixed chaparral

310 Needle-and-thread-blue grama

412 Juniper-pinyon woodland

502 Grama-galleta

503 Arizona chaparral

504 Juniper-pinyon pine woodland

505 Grama-tobosa shrub

509 Transition between oak-juniper woodland and mahogany-oak association

602 Bluestem-prairie sandreed

603 Prairie sandreed-needlegrass

604 Bluestem-grama prairie

605 Sandsage prairie

611 Blue grama-buffalograss

702 Black grama-alkali sacaton

703 Black grama-sideoats grama

706 Blue grama-sideoats grama

707 Blue grama-sideoats grama-black grama

708 Bluestem-dropseed

713 Grama-muhly-threeawn

716 Grama-feathergrass

717 Little bluestem-Indiangrass-Texas wintergrass

718 Mesquite-grama

720 Sand bluestem-little bluestem (dunes)

721 Sand bluestem-little bluestem (plains)

724 Sideoats grama-New Mexico feathergrass-winterfat

727 Mesquite-buffalograss

728 Mesquite-granjeno-acacia

729 Mesquite

730 Sand shinnery oak

732 Cross timbers-Texas (little bluestem-post oak)

734 Mesquite-oak

802 Missouri prairie

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Habitat: Plant Associations

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This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

More info for the term: shrub



K016 Eastern ponderosa forest

K017 Black Hills pine forest

K023 Juniper-pinyon woodland

K024 Juniper steppe woodlands

K027 Mesquite bosque

K044 Creosotebush-tarbush

K045 Ceniza shrub

K053 Grama-galleta steppe

K054 Grama-tobosa prairie

K057 Galleta-threeawn shrub-steppe

K058 Grama-tobosa shrub-steppe

K059 TransPecos shrub savanna

K060 Mesquite savanna

K061 Mesquite-acacia savanna

K064 Grama-needlegrass-wheatgrass

K065 Grama-buffalograss

K068 Wheatgrass-grama-buffalograss

K071 Shinnery

K075 Nebraska Sandhills prairie

K076 Blackland prairie

K084 Cross Timbers

K085 Mesquite-buffalograss

K086 Juniper-oak savanna

K087 Mesquite-oak savanna

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Habitat: Ecosystem

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This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):



FRES14 Oak-pine

FRES30 Desert shrub

FRES31 Shinnery

FRES32 Texas savanna

FRES33 Southwestern shrubsteppe

FRES34 Chaparral-mountain shrub

FRES35 Pinyon-juniper

FRES36 Mountain grasslands

FRES38 Plains grasslands

FRES39 Prairie

FRES40 Desert grasslands

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Habitat: Cover Types

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):



 67 Mohrs Oak

 68 Mesquite

237 Interior ponderosa pine

238 Western juniper

239 Pinyon-juniper

242 Mesquite

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Dispersal

Establishment

Hairy grama makes little growth before summer rains begin. If moisture is adequate, it matures rapidly. During exceptionally dry years, produces little forage but withstands drought well. It reproduces from auxiliary buds at basal nodes, from short stolons in some localities, and from seed. In the northern part of its range, this grass usually has only 1 or 2 spikes per seedhead and short stolons that form a sod. Further south, it grows taller, more like a bunch grass, and has 2 to 4 spikes per seedhead. A tall variety (B. hirsuta var. pectinata) grows mostly in central Texas. It is adapted to sandy and sandy loam soils and gravelly loams and does well on soils neutral to slightly calcareous. It is often associated with blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis), but is more drought resistant.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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General Ecology

Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: basal area, cool-season, cover, density, fire interval, frequency, mean fire interval, presence, shrub, warm-season, wildfire

Most studies conclude that hairy grama is undamaged by fire, following a season or 2 of decreased production. Production of hairy grama was reduced for 1 or 2 growing seasons following prescribed fires during August, September, and October in south-central Oklahoma, but the authors concluded there was no long-term negative effect on hairy grama [21]. In the Nebraska sandhills, phytomass of hairy grama was significantly less (P less than 0.05) at the end of the growing season on sites burned the previous year than on unburned sites [49]. Bock and Bock [10] studied the effects of spring and fall prescribed burns in ponderosa pine communities in the southern Black Hills, at Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota. After 2 growing seasons, they found no significant difference (P>0.05) in the ground cover of hairy grama between control and burned plots. However, the plants on the control plots were significantly taller for the 2 years following burning.

In another study, Bock and Bock [9] compared short-term plant response to prescribed burning in a semi-desert shrub grassland in Arizona. The site included plains lovegrass, wolftail, threeawn species (Aristida spp.), sprucetop grama (Bouteloua chondrosioides), sideoats grama, shrubby false mallow (Malvastrum bicuspidatum), tansyleaf aster (Machaeranthera tanacetifolia), wait-a-minute bush (Mimosa biuncifera), velvet-pod mimosa (M. dysocarpa) and yerba de pasmo (Baccharis pteronioides). One year following the June burns, density of hairy grama was significantly less (P less than .02) on burned than unburned plots. By the 2nd growing season, however, there was no longer a significant difference. This study was part of an extensive of body of research on fire effects in semidesert grassland, oak savanna, and Madrean oak woodlands of southeastern Arizona. See the Research Project Summary of this work for more information on burning conditions, fires, and fire effects on more than 100 species of plants, birds, small mammals, and grasshoppers.

In Arizona, hairy grama was evaluated for 2 seasons following a June wildfire. Fire appeared to have little or no effect on the density of the plant after two seasons, although density was reduced during the first growing season, compared to the control. After 2 seasons, density of hairy grama compared to other perennial grass species was greater than the control [80].

Annual burning appears to be particularly favorable to hairy grama. Annual burning appears to favor growth of warm-season grasses, while a longer mean fire interval favors cool-season grasses [30]. Anderson and others [2] burned 3 sites in Kansas annually for 10 years to evaluate the effects of fire on prairie species. The presence of hairy grama increased by 12-16% in early- and mid-spring burn treatments (from 3% in the control) and by 8% over the control on a late spring burn. Basal area, however, was not significantly different, although late spring burning slightly decreased the basal area of hairy grama. Collins and others [18] compared average cover of several species in response to annual burns, 4-year burns, and no burns. Cover of hairy grama was higher (4.6%) on the annually burned site than on the other 2 (both at 0.2%).

Dokken and Hulbert [20] looked at prairie communities in Kansas that had burned 3 out of 4 years as part of the management plan. They evaluated hairy grama density on plots that were withheld from burning for 1 and 3 years. On shallow soils (20 to 100 cm deep, cherty silt loam or cherty silty clay loam), stem density was significantly less after 3 years without burning, but on deep soils (silty clay loam), there was no significant difference.

Hairy grama appears to be less affected by fall or winter than spring burns. In Kansas, annual burning in November or March increased cover and frequency of hairy grama, while late April burning, 2- and 4-year burns, and not burning all resulted in lower cover and frequency [31]. However, April prescribed burns in Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota, resulted in increased cover of grama species [63]. Worcester [81] found no significant difference, although a slight increase in productivity occurred from pre- to postfire yields of gramas (blue and hairy) on prescribed burns in Wind Cave National Park, 1 year after May and June burns [81].

Three spring burns, on 20 March, 10 April, and 1 May all increased relative percentages of hairy grama under moderate grazing, compared to an unburned site in Kansas. Of the 3 burns, the March burn increased relative cover the most [45].

In redberry juniper (Juniperus pinchotii) rangelands in Texas, hairy grama occurred significantly less in a 4-year-old burn site than in an 8-year-old and an unburned site [46].

Following prescribed burns in the tallgrass Konza Prairie in Kansas, hairy grama was more prevalent (in terms of percentage cover) in the early years following fire and became less important as other species recovered [30].

  • 2. Anderson, Kling L.; Smith, Ed F.; Owensby, Clenton E. 1970. Burning bluestem range. Journal of Range Management. 23: 81-92. [323]
  • 9. Bock, Jane H.; Bock, Carl E. 1987. Fire effects following prescribed burning in two desert ecosystems. Final Report: Cooperative Agreement No. 28-03-278. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 20 p. [12321]
  • 21. Engle, David M.; Mitchell, Ronald L.; Stevens, Russell L. 1998. Late growing-season fire effects in mid-successional tallgrass prairies. Journal of Range Management. 51(1): 115-121. [28504]
  • 45. Launchbaugh, John L.; Owensby, Clenton E. 1978. Kansas rangelands: Their management based on a half century of research. Bull. 622. Hays, KS: Kansas State University, Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station. 56 p. [9477]
  • 63. Shown, Douglas A. 1982. The effects of prescribed burning on bird and small mammal communities in the grasslands of Wind Cave National Park. Houghton, MI: Michigan Technological University. 94 p. Thesis. [10471]
  • 10. Bock, Jane H.; Bock, Carl E. [n.d.]. Some effects of fire on vegetation and wildlife in ponderosa pine forests of the southern Black Hills. Final Report. Contracts CX-1200-9-B034, CX-1200-0-B018, CX-1200-1-B022; Grant No. RM-80-105 GR. Unpublished report on file with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Lab, Missoula, MT. 58 p. [479]
  • 18. Collins, Scott L.; Glenn, Susan M.; Gibson, David J. 1995. Experimental analysis of intermediate disturbance and initial floristic composition: decoupling cause and effect. Ecology. 76(2): 486-492. [25697]
  • 20. Dokken, Dee Ann; Hulbert, Lloyd C. 1978. Effect of standing dead plants on stem density in bluestem prairie. In: Glenn-Lewin, David C.; Landers, Roger Q., Jr., eds. Proceedings, 5th Midwest prairie conference; 1976 August 22-24; Ames, IA. Ames, IA: Iowa State University: 78-81. [3348]
  • 30. Gibson, David J. 1988. Regeneration and fluctuation of tallgrass prairie vegetation in response to burning frequency. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 115(1): 1-12. [4426]
  • 31. Gibson, David J. 1989. Hulbert's study of factors effecting botanical composition of tallgrass prairie. In: Bragg, Thomas B.; Stubbendieck, James, eds. Prairie pioneers: ecology, history and culture: Proceedings, 11th North American prairie conference; 1988 August 7-11; Lincoln, NE. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska: 115-133. [14029]
  • 46. Leif, Anthony P. 1987. Bobwhite and scaled quail responses to burning of redberry juniper-dominated rangelands. Lubbock, TX: Texas Tech University. 84 p. Thesis. [23080]
  • 49. Morrison, Linda C.; DuBois, John D.; Kapustka, Lawrence A. 1986. The vegetational response of a Nebraska sandhills grassland to a naturally occurring fall burn. Prairie Naturalist. 18(3): 179-184. [1696]
  • 80. White, Larry D. 1965. The effects of a wildfire on a desert grassland community. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona. 107 p. Thesis. [5552]
  • 81. Worcester, Lynda Lou. 1979. Effects of prescribed burning at different fuel moisture levels on vegetation and soils of grasslands in Wind Cave National Park. Brookings, SD: South Dakota State University. 101 p. Thesis. [2602]

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Immediate Effect of Fire

More info for the term: direct effects of fire

Studies on direct effects of fire on hairy grama are lacking. Fire probably top-kills hairy grama.

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Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the term: tussock

Tussock graminoid

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Fire Ecology

More info for the terms: cover, fire frequency, fire regime, frequency, prescribed fire

Tester [68] evaluated the response of oak savanna and prairie species to fire frequency in east-central Minnesota. Over 20 years, plants were subjected to prescribed fire in frequencies from 2 to 19 fires in that period. Percent cover of hairy grama was significantly (p=.041) positively correlated to increasing fire frequency. Please refer to FEIS reports on associated species such as little bluestem or mesquite for fire regime information.

  • 68. Tester, John R. 1996. Effects of fire frequency on plant species in oak savanna in east-central Minnesota. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 123(4): 304-308. [28035]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: hemicryptophyte

Hemicryptophyte

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Life Form

More info for the term: graminoid

Graminoid

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Fire Management Considerations

Below average winter and spring precipitation can be particularly damaging to hairy grama's ability to recover following fire [63].

  • 63. Shown, Douglas A. 1982. The effects of prescribed burning on bird and small mammal communities in the grasslands of Wind Cave National Park. Houghton, MI: Michigan Technological University. 94 p. Thesis. [10471]

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Regeneration Processes

Hairy grama usually reproduces vegetatively [65]. The plants are probably self-sterile [61].

In an evaluation of a Nebraska sandhills prairie seedbank, hairy grama was a prominent part of the aboveground species composition (13%), yet was rare or absent from seedbank germination trials [55]. In this study, the only seedlings to emerge were from seed chilled for 14 days at 37 to 41°Fahrenheit (3-5°C). Walther and Sexton [77] harvested seed from a Texas prairie dominated by hairy grama, little bluestem, and slim tridens (Tridens muticus). Despite its dominance in the stand, hairy grama seeds contributed only 1.9% of the seed weight of the harvested seeds. Germination rate for hairy grama after 14 days was only 3.8 %. A germination viability study of hairy grama after 20 years' uncontrolled storage resulted in 0% germination in Globe, Arizona [70].

  • 61. Roy, Girija P. 1968. A systematic study of the Boutelou hirsuta-Bouteloua pectinata complex. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University. 73 p. p. Dissertation. [3523]
  • 65. Steiger, T. L. 1930. Structure of prairie vegetation. Ecology. 11(1): 170-217. [3777]
  • 70. Tiedemann, Arthur R.; Pond, Floyd W. 1967. Viability of grass seed after long periods of uncontrolled storage. Journal of Range Management. 20(4): 261-262. [25110]
  • 77. Walther, Judith C.; Sexton, M. K.; Hill, Allison; Crank, E. 1991. Seed specifications and testing techniques for wild-harvested seed mixes (Texas). Restoration & Management Notes. 9(2): 108. [17574]
  • 55. Perez, Claudio J.; Waller, Steven S.; Moser, Lowell E.; [and others]. 1998. Seedbank characteristics of a Nebraska sandhills prairie. Journal of Range Management. 51(1): 52-62. [28570]

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

In the Trans-Pecos region of Texas, hairy grama is a seral species on the feather bluestem-little bluestem-sideoats grama habitat type [14].

In North Dakota, hairy grama is a seral species of the bluestem tallgrass prairie [29].

  • 14. Buechner, Helmut K. 1950. Life history, ecology, and range use of the pronghorn antelope in Trans-Pecos Texas. The American Midland Naturalist. 43(2): 257-354. [4084]
  • 29. Gartner, F. R. 1986. The many faces of South Dakota rangelands: description and classification. In: Clambey, Gary K.; Pemble, Richard H., eds. The prairie: past, present and future: Proceedings, 9th North American prairie conference; 1984 July 29 - August 1; Moorhead, MN. Fargo, ND: Tri-College University Center for Environmental Studies: 81-85. [3529]

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

In Nebraska, growth starts in early to mid-July [67]. Anthesis in eastern Nebraska occurs from the 4th week in July through the 3rd week in August [65].

In Texas, flowering occurs from May to mid-July [61].

  • 61. Roy, Girija P. 1968. A systematic study of the Boutelou hirsuta-Bouteloua pectinata complex. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University. 73 p. p. Dissertation. [3523]
  • 65. Steiger, T. L. 1930. Structure of prairie vegetation. Ecology. 11(1): 170-217. [3777]
  • 67. Stubbendieck, J.; Nichols, James T.; Roberts, Kelly K. 1985. Nebraska range and pasture grasses (including grass-like plants). E.C. 85-170. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska, Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service. 75 p. [2269]

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

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Hairy grama is listed as critically imperiled (S1) in Missouri [48].

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Status

Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status, such as, state noxious status and wetland indicator values.

Public Domain

USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Management

Management considerations

More info for the terms: cover, presence



Hairy grama is generally considered to be an increaser under grazing pressure [2,6,7,25,45,67,78], although study results are mixed. Tomanek and Albertson [72] studied 3 different grazing intensities on 3 different types of sites in Kansas with similar soils and vegetation types-ridgeline, hillside, and rocky break. On all three sites, hairy grama was absent on the ungrazed site and had the highest percentage composition and basal cover on the heavily grazed site.

However, Canfield [17] in Arizona found seedling production, seedling survival, and plant survival of hairy grama all to be higher on ungrazed than grazed lands. The longevity of hairy grama on ungrazed range was 7 years, while few grazed plants survived as long as 4 years [17]. Canfield [16] also considered the presence of hairy grama in mesa rangelands in Arizona to be an indicator of good range quality. Reynolds and Martin [59] claim grazing hairy grama in the Southwest results in fewer seedlings. Fuhlendorf and Smeins [26] evaluated the impacts of grazing pressure on several grass species near Sonora, Texas. They concluded that hairy grama responds positively to reduced grazing pressure. Johnston [38] studied sand prairie community types in southern Texas. Hairy grama occurred in 67% of undisturbed sites evaluated, but in only 4% of grazed sites.

Hairy grama is less resistant to cattle grazing than blue grama [8].

On southern Arizona rangelands, mesquite (Prosopis spp.) is invading historical grassland sites of which hairy grama has been an important component. Proposed reasons for this invasion include the negative effects of grazing on perennial grass species, and the ability of mesquite seed to survive fire and to persist in the seedbank [53].

  • 2. Anderson, Kling L.; Smith, Ed F.; Owensby, Clenton E. 1970. Burning bluestem range. Journal of Range Management. 23: 81-92. [323]
  • 7. Bock, Carl E.; Bock, Jane H. 1998. Factors controlling the structure and function of desert grasslands: a case study from southeastern Arizona. In: Tellman, Barbara; Finch, Deborah M.; Edminster, Carl; Hamre, Robert, eds. The future of arid grasslands: identifying issues, seeking solutions: Proceedings; 1996 October 9-13; Tucson, AZ. Proceedings RMRS-P-3. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 33-44. [29257]
  • 8. Bock, Jane H.; Bock, Carl E. 1986. Habitat relationships of some native perennial grasses in southeastern Arizona. Desert Plants. 8(1): 3-14. [478]
  • 16. Canfield, R. H. 1948. Perennial grass composition as an indicator of condition of Southwestern mixed grass ranges. Ecology. 29: 190-204. [5308]
  • 17. Canfield, R. H. 1957. Reproduction and life span of some perennial grasses of southern Arizona. Journal of Range Management. 10(5): 199-203. [3938]
  • 25. Frolik, A. L.; Shepherd, W. O. 1940. Vegetative composition and grazing capacity of a typical area of Nebraska sandhills rangeland. Research Bulletin No. 117. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Agricultural Experimental Station. 39 p. [5417]
  • 26. Fuhlendorf, Samuel D.; Smeins, Fred E. 1997. Long-term vegetation dynamics mediated by herbivores, weather and fire in a Juniperus-Quercus savanna. Journal of Vegetation Science. 8(6): 819-828. [28599]
  • 38. Johnston, Marshall C. 1963. Past and present grasslands of southern Texas and northeastern Mexico. Ecology. 44(3): 456-466. [3941]
  • 45. Launchbaugh, John L.; Owensby, Clenton E. 1978. Kansas rangelands: Their management based on a half century of research. Bull. 622. Hays, KS: Kansas State University, Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station. 56 p. [9477]
  • 53. Parker, Kenneth W.; Martin, S. Clark. 1952. The mesquite problem on southern Arizona ranges. Circular No. 908. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. 70 p. [3350]
  • 59. Reynolds, Hudson G.; Martin, S. Clark. 1968. Managing grass-shrub cattle ranges in the Southwest. Agric. Handb. 162. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 34 p. [4253]
  • 67. Stubbendieck, J.; Nichols, James T.; Roberts, Kelly K. 1985. Nebraska range and pasture grasses (including grass-like plants). E.C. 85-170. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska, Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service. 75 p. [2269]
  • 72. Tomanek, G. W.; Albertson, F. W. 1953. Some effects of different intensities of grazing on mixed prairies near Hays, Kansas. Journal of Range Management. 6: 299-306. [2345]
  • 78. Weaver, J. E. 1968. Prairie plants and their environment: A fifty-year study in the Midwest. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. 276 p. [17547]
  • 6. Bock, Carl E.; Bock, Jane H. 1993. Cover of perennial grasses in southeastern Arizona in relation to livestock grazing. [Journal name unknown]. 7(2): 371-377. [22152]

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Cultivars, improved and selected materials (and area of origin)

Please contact your local NRCS Field Office.

Public Domain

USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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This grass yields more if it is not overgrazed and grazing is deferred every 2 to 3 years during the period of most active growth.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cover Value

More info for the term: cover

Native grass habitats including hairy grama are crucial for the survival of the lesser prairie-chicken in Kansas. These habitats are essential both for cover and foraging [3].

  • 3. Applegate, Roger D.; Riley, Terry Z. 1998. Lesser prairie-chicken management. Rangelands. 20(4): 13-15. [28875]

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

More info for the term: cover

Although hairy grama is considered good quality forage [53], it is not of primary importance for livestock. In the Nebraska sandhills area, although it comprised 12.1% of vegetative cover, it was only 6.4% of the available forage. Its scattered growth pattern and short morphology make it less useful to cattle than other grass species [25]. It is not a high biomass producer [54].

  • 25. Frolik, A. L.; Shepherd, W. O. 1940. Vegetative composition and grazing capacity of a typical area of Nebraska sandhills rangeland. Research Bulletin No. 117. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Agricultural Experimental Station. 39 p. [5417]
  • 53. Parker, Kenneth W.; Martin, S. Clark. 1952. The mesquite problem on southern Arizona ranges. Circular No. 908. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. 70 p. [3350]
  • 54. Pase, Charles P.; Pond, Floyd W. 1964. Vegetation changes following the Mingus Mountain burn. Res. Note RM-18. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 8 p. [5700]

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Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

Establishing hairy grama from seed is difficult and rarely successful [11,64,67].

  • 11. Bridges, J. O. 1941. Reseeding trials on arid range land. Bulletin 278. Las Cruces, NM: New Mexico State University, Agricultural Experiment Station. 48 p. [5186]
  • 64. Sperry, Theodore M. 1994. The Curtis Prairie restoration, using the single-species planting method. Natural Areas Journal. 14(2): 124-127. [23919]
  • 67. Stubbendieck, J.; Nichols, James T.; Roberts, Kelly K. 1985. Nebraska range and pasture grasses (including grass-like plants). E.C. 85-170. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska, Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service. 75 p. [2269]

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Nutritional Value



Hairy grama is a moderately nutritionally valuable forage [36].

In the Edwards Plateau region of central Texas, nutritional composition (%) of hairy grama in August was as follows [37]: digestible
water ash cell wall P protein organic matter
28 8 70 0.07 5 48

  • 36. Humphrey, Robert R.; Brown, Albert L.; Everson, A. C. 1952. Common Arizona range grasses: Their description, forage value and management. Bulletin 243. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona, Agricultural Experiment Station. 102 p. [4442]
  • 37. Huston, J. E.; Rector, B. S.; Merrill, L. B.; Engdahl, B. S. 1981. Nutritional value of range plants in the Edwards Plateau region of Texas. Report B-1375. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University System, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station. 16 p. [4565]

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Palatability



Hairy grama has low palatability for livestock [67], in part due to the awn ("stinger") on the spike comb [52]. Use of hairy grama by pronghorn is low [14].

  • 14. Buechner, Helmut K. 1950. Life history, ecology, and range use of the pronghorn antelope in Trans-Pecos Texas. The American Midland Naturalist. 43(2): 257-354. [4084]
  • 52. Ohlenbuseh, Paul D.; Hodges, Elizabeth P.; Pope, Susan. 1983. Range grasses of Kansas. Manhattan, KS: Kansas State University, Cooperative Extension Service. 23 p. [5316]
  • 67. Stubbendieck, J.; Nichols, James T.; Roberts, Kelly K. 1985. Nebraska range and pasture grasses (including grass-like plants). E.C. 85-170. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska, Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service. 75 p. [2269]

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Uses

Hairy grama is used primarily for grazing and withstands it well. Most livestock graze it readily any season. It makes especially good winter forage, because it cures well. It is not considered a hay grass.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Wikipedia

Bouteloua hirsuta

Bouteloua hirsuta, commonly known as Hairy grama, is a perennial short prairie grass that is native throughout much of North America, including the Great Plains and Canadian Prairies region, as well as Mexico and Guatemala.

Description[edit]

Bouteloua hirsuta is a warm-season grass growing 10-20 inches tall, and grows well on mountainous plateaus, rocky slopes, and sandy plains. The leaf blade is flat or slightly rolled; narrow; mostly basal; margins hairy. The leaf sheath is rounded, smooth, and shorter than internodes. The seedhead is 1 to 4 spikes, purplish before maturity, about 1 inch long; rachis extends beyond spikelets. It is used primarily for grazing.

References and external links[edit]

Media related to Bouteloua hirsuta at Wikimedia Commons Data related to Bouteloua hirsuta at Wikispecies

  • USDA Plants Profile entry - Bouteloua hirsuta}
  • USDA Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) entry: Bouteloua hirsuta}
  • Beetle, A. A. 1970. Recommended plant names. Univ. Wyoming Agr. Exp. Sta. Res. J. 31.
  • Cronquist, A. et al. 1972–. Intermountain flora.
  • Davidse, G. et al., eds. 1994. Flora mesoamericana.
  • FNA Editorial Committee. 1993–. Flora of North America.
  • Gould, F. W. 1979. The genus Bouteloua (Poaceae). Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 66:394.
  • Herrera A., Y. et al. 2004. Revisión de Bouteloua Lag. (Poaceae).
  • Kartesz, J. T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland.
  • Mejía-Saulés, M. T. & P. Dávila A. 1992. Gramíneas Útiles de México. Cuad. Inst. Biol. 16.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy



The accepted scientific name of hairy grama is Bouteloua hirsuta Lag. [23,33,34,38,42].

Gould [32] identifies 2 varieties, B. hirsuta var. hirsuta, and B. hirsuta var. glandulosa (Cerv.) Gould [32,40].

Hairy grama hybridizes with tall grama (B. pectinata) [61].

  • 33. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]
  • 42. Kearney, Thomas H.; Peebles, Robert H.; Howell, John Thomas; McClintock, Elizabeth. 1960. Arizona flora. 2d ed. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1085 p. [6563]
  • 32. Gould, Frank W. 1979. The genus Bouteloua (Poaceae). Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden. 66: 348-416. [5758]
  • 38. Johnston, Marshall C. 1963. Past and present grasslands of southern Texas and northeastern Mexico. Ecology. 44(3): 456-466. [3941]
  • 61. Roy, Girija P. 1968. A systematic study of the Boutelou hirsuta-Bouteloua pectinata complex. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University. 73 p. p. Dissertation. [3523]
  • 23. Fassett, Norman C. 1951. Grasses of Wisconsin. Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press. 173 p. [21728]
  • 34. Hallsten, Gregory P.; Skinner, Quentin D.; Beetle, Alan A. 1987. Grasses of Wyoming. 3rd ed. Research Journal 202. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Agricultural Experiment Station. 432 p. [2906]
  • 40. Kartesz, John T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. Volume I--checklist. 2nd ed. Portland, OR: Timber Press. 622 p. [23877]

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Common Names

hairy grama

 

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Synonyms

Bouteloua hirsuta ssp. hirsuta (Featherly) J. Wipff & S.D. Jones [39]
  • 39. Jones, Stanley D.; Wipff, Joseph K.; Montgomery, Paul M. 1997. Vascular plants of Texas. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 404 p. [28762]

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