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Bouteloua curtipendula (Michx.) Torr.

Brief Summary

Comprehensive Description

    Bouteloua curtipendula
    provided by wikipedia

    Bouteloua curtipendula, commonly known as sideoats grama,[3] is a perennial, short prairie grass that is native throughout the temperate and tropical Western Hemisphere, from Canada south to Argentina.

    The species epithet comes from Latin curtus "shortened" and pendulus "hanging".


    Alternately arranged spikes in a raceme

    Sideoats grama is a warm-season grass. The culms (flowering stems) are 30–100 cm (12–39 in) tall,[4] and have alternate leaves that are concentrated at the bottom of the culm.[5] The leaves are light green to blue-green in color, and up to 6 mm (14 in) across.[5]

    The pendulous spikes in bloom. The spike in the center has three spikelets visible, and the lowest spikelet is blooming, with orange stamens hanging below and feathery stigmas protruding horizontally.

    The flowers bloom in summer and autumn. They consist of compact spikes that hang alternately in a raceme along the top 15 to 25 cm (6 to 10 in) of the culm. The spikes often fall to one side of the stem, which gives the plant its name. There are 10–50 spikes per culm, and in each spike there are three to six spikelets, or rarely as many as 10. Each spikelet is 4.5 to 10 mm (316 to 1332 in) long[4] and consists of two glumes and two florets. One of the florets is fertile, and has colorful orange to brownish red anthers and feathery white stigmas during the blooming period, which contrasts with the pale green, pale red, greenish-red, or purple[6] color of the spikes themselves.[5]

    After blooming, the spikes become straw-colored. The fertile florets produce seeds, and when they are ripe, the spikes fall to the ground.[5]

    Distribution and habitat

    Sideoats grama grows well on mountainous plateaus, rocky slopes, and sandy plains. It is drought- and cold-tolerant and is hardy in USDA hardiness zones 4–9 (average annual minimums of −30 to 25 °F, −34 to −4 °C).


    It provides larval food for the veined ctenucha (Ctenucha venosa).[7]


    It is currently listed as a threatened species in the U.S. state of Michigan.


    Sideoats grama is considered a good foraging grass for livestock. It is planted for erosion control.


    It is cultivated as an ornamental plant for native plant and drought-tolerant gardens.


    Sideoats grama is the state grass of Texas.[8]


    1. ^ "Bouteloua curtipendula". Tropicos. Missouri Botanical Garden..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:"""""'"'"}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
    2. ^ "Bouteloua curtipendula". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew – via The Plant List.
    3. ^ "Bouteloua curtipendula". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
    4. ^ a b Sun, Bi-xing; Phillips, Sylvia M. "Bouteloua curtipendula". Flora of China. 22 – via eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
    5. ^ a b c d Hilty, John (2016). "Side Oats Grama (Bouteloua curtipendula)". Illinois Wildflowers.
    6. ^ "Sideoats Grama (Bouteloua curtipendula)". Prairie Nursery.
    7. ^ Soule, J.A. 2012. Butterfly Gardening in Southern Arizona. Tierra del Soule Press, Tucson, AZ
    8. ^ "Texas State Symbols". About Texas. Texas State Library and Archives Commission. 2006-11-14. Retrieved 2007-02-01.


    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    Sideoats grama's North American distribution stretches from southern Canada to Mexico.
    In Canada it occurs in Saskatchewan [42], Manitoba, and Ontario [78]. In the northern United States it
    is distributed from Oregon to Maine [206];
    in the eastern states south to Florida [230], excluding Vermont, New Hampshire, Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode
    Island, and North Carolina [206]; and in the western United States to
    California and Texas. Its distribution continues south through Mexico to Central
    and South
    America [42,78,105]. Bouteloua curtipendula var. caespitosa is found primarily in the
    southern part of the species' range, from the southwestern United States to South America. Bouteloua curtipendula  var. curtipendula is found
    in the northern part of the species' range, from the southwestern United States to Canada [49,73,104]. Plants Database provides maps of sideoats grama's
    distribution and distributions of the 2 varieties.
    Occurrence in North America
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants

    MB ON SK


    Regional Distribution in the Western United States
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    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):


    3 Southern Pacific Border

    5 Columbia Plateau

    6 Upper Basin and Range

    7 Lower Basin and Range

    8 Northern Rocky Mountains

    9 Middle Rocky Mountains

    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


    provided by eFloras
    This is an American pasture grass (Side-oats Grama) reported to be excellent in China for grazing and also for hay.
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the terms: caryopsis, fruit, root crown, warm-season

    Sideoats grama is a native, warm-season perennial grass that grows 3 to 39 in
    (8-100 cm) tall [78,196]. Bouteloua curtipendula var.
    curtipendula culms occur singly or in small clusters from creeping rhizomes,
    while B. curtipendula var. caespitosa culms are in large clumps
    arising from a common root crown [42]. Sideoats grama leaves are 0.11 to 0.15 inch (3-4
    mm) wide and flat at maturity [78,93]. Inflorescences are elongate and may bear over 20 and up to 80 deciduous spikes
    [49,78,105], each of which bears 3 to 8 spikelets hanging to one side [78,93,128]. The fruit is an awnless caryopsis [49].

    Sideoats grama typically has many coarse, fibrous roots [205], which may grow 2
    to 4 feet (0.6-1.2 m) in length and spread laterally 1 to 1.5 feet (0.3-0.5 m)
    in the top 2 to 4 inches (5-10 cm) of soil [214]. In a Nebraska study sideoats
    grama plants had a range of 170 to 423 roots per
    plant [215]. Roots of sideoats grama are well adapted to growth in dry
    conditions [214]. They extend rapidly into wet subsurface levels, reducing plant
    dependency on more variable moisture conditions at the surface
    soil [188]. More information on drought resistance of sideoats grama is included
    in Management Considerations.

    provided by eFloras
    Perennial with short, slender, scaly rhizomes. Culms tufted, erect, 30–100 cm tall. Leaf sheaths glabrous or nearly so; leaf blades flat or slightly involute, 20–30 cm, 1–5 mm wide, both surfaces and margins scabrous, base pubescent; ligule ca. 1 mm. Inflorescence axis 15–25 cm; racemes 10–50, 1–2 cm, purplish, secund along axis, usually nodding, with 3–6 (–10) appressed or ascending spikelets, falling entire. Spikelets 4.5–10 mm; lower glume linear-lanceolate, 2.5–4 mm; upper glume lanceolate, 4(–7) mm; lemma of fertile floret usually somewhat exceeding glumes, acuminate, lateral veins extended into ca. 1 mm mucros; palea slightly longer than lemma; 2nd floret rudimentary, with long central awn and 2 shorter laterals, or greatly reduced, or lacking. Fl. and fr. summer to autumn. 2n = 28, 35, 40, 42, 56, 70.
    Physical Description
    provided by USDA PLANTS text
    Perennials, Terrestrial, not aquatic, Rhizomes present, Rhizome short and compact, stems close, Rhizome elongate, creeping, stems distant, Stems nodes swollen or brittle, Stems erect or ascending, Stems geniculate, decumbent, or lax, sometimes rooting at nodes, Stems solitary, 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 l oose, Leaf sheath smooth, glabrous, Leaf sheath hairy at summit, throat, or collar, Leaf sheath and blade differentiated, Leaf blades linear, Leaf blades 2-10 mm wide, Leaf blades mostly flat, Leaf blade margins folded, involute, or conduplicate, Leaf blades mostly glabrous, Ligule present, Ligule a fringed, ciliate, or lobed membrane, 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 branches more than 10 to numerous, Inflorescence branches 1-sided, 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, Inflorescence branches deciduous, falling intact, Spikelets secund, in rows on one side of rachis, Rachilla or pedicel glabrous, Glumes present, empty br acts, 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 rugose, with cross wrinkles, or roughened, Lemma apex dentate, 2-fid, Lemma apex dentate, 3-5 fid, Lemma teeth unequal. central tooth longer, Lemma awnless, Lemma mucronate, very shortly beaked or awned, less than 1-2 mm, 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.

Diagnostic Description

    provided by eFloras
    Chloris curtipendula Michaux, Fl. Bor.-Amer. 1: 59. 1803; Atheropogon curtipendulus (Michaux) E. Fournier; Cynodon curtipendulus (Michaux) Raspail; Dinebra curtipendula (Michaux) P. Beauvois; Eutriana curtipendula (Michaux) Trinius.


    Habitat & Distribution
    provided by eFloras
    Cultivated in China [native to America].
    Habitat characteristics
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the term: cover

    Sideoats grama is widely distributed across the plains, prairies, and
    lower mountains of much of North America [42,93].
    It grows on a wide variety of landforms and habitats, but is most abundant and
    important in the central and southern mixed-grass prairies [214].

    Elevation: Sideoats grama occurs at a wide elevational range that varies
    with location.  In the southwestern United States, it is found from 3,000 to 8,000 feet (914-2,440 m)
    elevation [205]. Ranges are similar for both varieties. Bouteloua
    curtipendula var. curtipendula occurs at elevations of from less than
    328 feet (100 m) in southern Texas to over 8,200 feet (2,500 m) in the
    northwestern United States. Bouteloua curtipendula var. caespitosa occurs
    from 650 to 8,200
    feet (200-2,500 m) [77]. The following table provides a summary of the elevational
    ranges for sideoats grama:

    AZ below 2,500 feet to 7,500 feet (760-2,130 m) [96,197]
    CA below 6,230 feet (1,900 m) [91]
    CO 3,500 to 7,500 feet (1,070-2,130 m) [84]
    NM 5,500 to 7,500 feet (1,680-2,130 m) [128]
    SD 1,265 to 1,493 feet (386-455 m) [94]
    UT 3,215 to 8,000 feet (980-2,440 m) [217]

    Climate/moisture regime:
    Sideoats grama grows under a wide variety of
    climate conditions. A study of establishment of seeded-in grasses in pinyon-juniper
    woodlands in Arizona and New Mexico found sideoats grama was adapted
    to warm-moist and hot-dry sites, but not cold, cool, warm-dry, or hot-moist sites [100].
    A study of water-use
    of plains grasses suggests sideoats grama requires a fairly large supply of
    water for limited periods. Sideoats grama showed inefficient water-use relative to other plains grasses,
    especially in cold weather [131]. According
    to Fulbright and others [68], sideoats grama has a low soil moisture
    requirement, but requires at least 15 inches (380 mm) of annual precipitation.
    Story [192] reported good stands of sideoats grama developed in areas with
    12 to 16 inches (305-406 mm) of annual rainfall in the Southwest. In the central Great Plains, stand development of sideoats
    grama was greatest on fine-textured upland soils with 17 to 20 inches (432-508
    mm) of annual rainfall. On Wisconsin prairie and savannas, sideoats grama occurs
    on sites characterized by cyclic mild to severe summer drought, less
    than 45 inches (1140 mm) annual snowfall,
    and a mean summer temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 °C) [27].

    Sideoats grama is adapted to a broad spectrum of
    soils, from sands to clays [86,212]. It is
    least adapted to loose sand and dense clay, and has best stand development on
    medium to fine-textured soils [212]. Sideoats grama grows on shallow to deep
    soils. It does not grow well on wet soils, although it is moderately tolerant
    of spring flooding [186]. In the Intermountain
    West, sideoats grama grows well on sandy loam to clay loam [50]. In North Dakota it
    is found on shallow
    soils with textures ranging from loamy sands through loams and silt loams to silty clay loams
    [224]. Sideoats grama is an important component of grasslands on clay
    soils in the northern Great Plains [70] and on loess soils in the
    central Great Plains [204]. In Kansas shortgrass prairie
    sideoats grama grows on fine-textured, silty clay loams, especially in
    areas with deep soils [3]. Bush and Van Auken [34] reported sideoats grama aboveground, belowground,
    and total dry mass increased with
    increasing soil depth of  up to 71 inches (180 cm).

    Sideoats grama has weak to moderate tolerance to saline soils [212] but does well on calcareous
    or alkaline soils [68,122,140]. It often occurs on shallow limestone
    or dolomite soils [142] and on soils high in available
    nitrate. Sideoats grama is associated with moderate
    levels of soil water stress relative to other grama species [154]. In mixed-grass prairie of northern
    Wyoming and southern Montana, it
    occurs on shallow soils with low water-holding capacity and high infiltration
    rate, and does well with relatively high growing season precipitation and no
    available groundwater [110].

    Studies in Texas provide information about the soil requirements of the
    different varieties of sideoats grama. Bouteloua curtipendula var. curtipendula grows
    mostly on loose, limey soils and on relatively good soils in less disturbed
    areas including native Texas prairies [49], while B. curtipendula var.
    caespitosa has higher cover on soils with higher clay content, pH, and
    organic matter [48]. However, according to Gould [77], Bouteloua curtipendula
    var. curtipendula grows best on loamy, well-drained soils, while B. curtipendula var. caespitosa
    is usually found on loose, sandy or rocky, well-drained limey soils.

    Sideoats grama is well-adapted to steep, rocky slopes [50,122,154,205]. In Illinois sideoats grama
    is found in coarse soil on limestone outcrops [7,20,193]. It occurs on shale barrens
    in West Virginia [193]. Sideoats grama is common in
    washes and on low benches [20]. In the Southwest it grows on south- to west-facing slopes, dry hills, and mesas [105,128,197].
    Habitat: Cover Types
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    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):

    More info for the term: cover


    42 Bur oak

    46 Eastern redcedar

    66 Ashe juniper-redberry (Pinchot) juniper

    67 Mohrs (shin) oak

    68 Mesquite

    236 Bur oak

    237 Interior ponderosa pine

    239 Pinyon-juniper

    240 Arizona cypress

    242 Mesquite
    Habitat: Ecosystem
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info on this topic.

    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):

    More info for the term: shrub

    ECOSYSTEMS [69]:

    FRES15 Oak-hickory

    FRES21 Ponderosa pine

    FRES30 Desert shrub

    FRES31 Shinnery

    FRES32 Texas savanna

    FRES33 Southwestern shrubsteppe

    FRES34 Chaparral-mountain shrub

    FRES35 Pinyon-juniper

    FRES38 Plains grasslands

    FRES39 Prairie

    FRES40 Desert grasslands
    Habitat: Plant Associations
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info on this topic.

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

    More info for the terms: forest, woodland


    K016 Eastern ponderosa forest

    K017 Black Hills pine forest

    K023 Juniper-pinyon woodland

    K031 Oak-juniper woodland

    K032 Transition between K031 and K037

    K037 Mountain-mahogany-oak scrub

    K053 Grama-galleta steppe

    K054 Grama-tobosa prairie

    K058 Grama-tobosa shrubsteppe

    K060 Mesquite savanna

    K065 Grama-buffalo grass

    K067 Wheatgrass-bluestem-needlegrass

    K068 Wheatgrass-grama-buffalo grass

    K069 Bluestem-grama prairie

    K070 Sandsage-bluestem prairie

    K071 Shinnery

    K074 Bluestem prairie

    K075 Nebraska Sandhills

    K076 Blackland prairie

    K081 Oak savanna

    K083 Cedar glades

    K084 Cross Timbers

    K085 Mesquite-buffalo grass

    K086 Juniper-oak savanna

    K087 Mesquite-oak savanna
    Habitat: Rangeland Cover Types
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    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, cover, shrub, vine, woodland


    415 Curlleaf mountain-mahogany

    416 True mountain-mahogany

    417 Littleleaf mountain-mahogany

    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

    601 Bluestem prairie

    602 Bluestem-prairie sandreed

    604 Bluestem-grama prairie

    609 Wheatgrass-grama

    611 Blue grama-buffalo grass

    702 Black grama-alkali sacaton

    703 Black grama-sideoats grama

    704 Blue grama-western wheatgrass

    705 Blue grama-galleta

    706 Blue grama-sideoats grama

    707 Blue grama-sideoats grama-black grama

    708 Bluestem-dropseed

    709 Bluestem-grama

    710 Bluestem prairie

    711 Bluestem-sacahuista prairie

    712 Galleta-alkali sacaton

    713 Grama-muhly-threeawn

    714 Grama-bluestem

    715 Grama-buffalo grass

    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

    725 Vine mesquite-alkali sacaton

    727 Mesquite-buffalo grass

    728 Mesquite-granjeno-acacia

    729 Mesquite

    731 Cross timbers-Oklahoma

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

    733 Juniper-oak

    734 Mesquite-oak

    735 Sideoats grama-sumac-juniper

    801 Savanna

    802 Missouri prairie

    803 Missouri glades
    Key Plant Community Associations
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the term: hardwood

    Sideoats grama generally occurs in dry woods in the eastern United States and in
    dry prairies and sandhills in the western states [73].
    It is a major species in grasslands of the Great Plains, including tallgrass
    prairie [113,174], mixed-grass prairie and shortgrass steppe [110,118], and in desert grasslands of the
    Southwest [222]. Sideoats grama
    is also found in ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forests, eastern hardwood
    savannas [195],  southwestern oak (Quercus
    spp.) and pinyon-juniper (Pinus-Juniperus spp.) woodlands and
    savannas [112,165], and desert and semidesert
    shrublands [102]. Sideoats grama is commonly associated with bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata),
    western wheatgrass (Pascopyrum smithii), little bluestem (Schizachyrium
    scoparium), big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii var. gerardii),
    Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis), prairie Junegrass (Koeleria
    macrantha), blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis), black greasewood (Sarcobatus
    vermiculatus), true mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus montanus),
    southwestern oaks, Colorado pinyon pine (Pinus edulis),
    and several juniper species including redberry juniper (Juniperus pinchotii),
    eastern redcedar (J. virginiana), oneseed juniper (J.
    monosperma), Ashe juniper (J. ashei), alligator juniper (J.
    deppeana), and Utah juniper (J.
    osteosperma) [112,117,165].

    The following list of publications includes selected classifications listing
    sideoats grama as an indicator or dominant species in vegetation classifications.

    AZ [12,117,197,211]

    CO [11,81]

    IA [207]

    IN [17]

    KS [120]

    MO [150]

    MT [30,80,179]

    NB [167]

    ND [82,143,223,224]

    NM [12,54,56,92,117,137,166,197]

    OH [74]

    SD [94,200]

    TX [89,132,198]

    WI [43]

    WY [37,94]

General Ecology

    Broad-scale Impacts of Fire
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the term: culm

    The immediate effect of fire on sideoats grama varies seasonally with
    differences in air temperature and plant desiccation. A study in Arizona indicated that
    lethal temperatures at culm bases of sensitive
    perennial grasses such as sideoats grama closely approximate existing air
    temperatures at or near ground level during hot dry months of summer.
    During cooler, moister periods, when plant material is less desiccated, lethal temperatures
    at culm bases are much higher. Over the 2-year study, the lethal temperatures for sideoats grama ranged
    from 138 to 154 degrees Fahrenheit (58.8-73.7 °C) [98].
    Broad-scale Impacts of Plant Response to Fire
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the terms: cover, frequency, grassland, mesic

    Site grazing and fire history is likely to affect the response of grasses
    to fire. In an unfinished manuscript, Hulbert (as presented in Gibson [72])
    specified 6 to 10 years of mowing and burning treatments are not sufficient
    to remove all effects of prior burning and grazing, which may influence fire
    behavior and effects on sideoats grama.

    The response of sideoats grama to fire varies with time of burning. Several
    studies report favorable response of sideoats grama to spring burning. Sideoats grama increased under
    annual early spring burning of grassland pasture [6]. In Kansas bluestem prairie, Aldous
    [4] studied response to several annual burning treatments conducted after rains, when
    wet ground protected the root crowns of dominant grasses.
    The number of sideoats grama plants doubled in 6 years under early spring
    burning; increased under mid-spring burning; increased by more than a 3rd of
    the original number of plants in the late spring-burned plot; but showed little
    change on the fall-burned and unburned plots [4]. In Wisconsin late-spring fire enhanced flowering of sideoats
    grama more than did an early spring fire, and resulted in a  greater
    postfire increase in flowering on
    the mesic site compared to the drier site. In the first 2 years of the
    study, sideoats grama averaged a 250% increase in flowering after early spring burning and 600%
    after late spring burning on dry-mesic plots. Increases in flowering on the dry
    site were 60% and 150% for early and late spring burns, respectively [88]. McMurphy [134] compared percent basal cover

    of sideoats grama on plots burned annually in March with those
    burned in April or May, and with unburned plots, over 12 years. On
    the "ordinary upland" site with medium- or loam-textured soil, the unburned pasture consistently had a lower
    percent of sideoats grama than the burned plots, although the differences were only significant
    (p<0.05) between unburned and early (March) burn sites, and not significant in all
    years. There was no apparent trend between burned and unburned plots on the
    limestone breaks site. On the claypan site, late spring (May) burned and early
    (March) burned pastures supported significantly more (p<0.05) sideoats grama than the mid-spring
    (April) and unburned plots. In contrast, Henderson [87] compared an unburned plot with
    3 plots with 3 different fire treatments (late fall, early spring, and late spring burn),
    and found no significant difference in frequency of occurrence of sideoats grama
    among plots. The author specifies that due to the abundance of sideoats grama,
    only dramatic declines would have been detected by the frequency of occurrence

    Sideoats grama increased following early spring burns in eastern Kansas [190]
    and in southern Nebraska. The table below compares the herbage yield of sideoats
    grama harvested in June and September from burned and mowed plots [199]:

    Herbage yield (kg/ha) by
    Harvest date
    Burned (April 25, 1980)
    Mowed (September 1979 and 1980)
    June 1980
    September 1980
    June 1981
    September 1981
    Fire Ecology
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the terms: fire regime, frequency, grassland, seed, shrubland, stand-replacement fire, wildfire, woodland

    Fire adaptations:
    Sideoats grama establishes after fire through seed and/or lateral spread by rhizomes and
    tillers. Recovery often takes 2 to 3 years [227,228] and varies with site conditions,
    burning frequency, and plant growth form (see Fire Effects).
    Sideoats grama fruits lack an awn; therefore, initial seed dispersal onto burned
    sites is effected primarily by wind. Postfire seed production may increase after burning. In Wisconsin, flowering of
    sideoats grama increased after spring burns [88] (see Fire Effects).
    However, another Wisconsin study found no increase in flowering of sideoats
    grama after an April wildfire [51] .

    Grassland and shrubland ecosystems where sideoats grama is important
    historically experienced frequent, stand-replacement fire. FIRE REGIMES are highly variable across sideoats grama's wide
    distributional range, however. In plains grassland communities
    where sideoats grama is important, historic fire return intervals ranged from
    less than 10 years up to 35 years. Return fire intervals for desert grassland communities
    with sideoats grama
    ranged from 1 to 100 years, and some shrub-dominated communities with sideoats
    grama had historic fire return intervals of 100+ years [163]. Fire return intervals for plant communities and ecosystems in which sideoats grama occurs
    are summarized in the table below. Find further fire regime information for the plant communities in which this
    species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find FIRE REGIMES".

    Community or Ecosystem Dominant Species Fire Return Interval Range (years)
    bluestem prairie Andropogon gerardii var. gerardii-Schizachyrium scoparium < 10 [114,163]
    Nebraska sandhills prairie A. gerardii var. paucipilus-S. scoparium < 10
    bluestem-Sacahuista prairie A. littoralis-Spartina spartinae < 10
    desert grasslands Bouteloua eriopoda and/or Pleuraphis mutica 5-100
    plains grasslands Bouteloua spp. < 35 [163]
    blue grama-needle-and-thread grass-western wheatgrass B. gracilis-Hesperostipa comata-Pascopyrum smithii 163,180,229]
    blue grama-buffalo grass B. gracilis-Buchloe dactyloides < 35
    grama-galleta steppe Bouteloua gracilis-Pleuraphis jamesii < 35 to < 100
    blue grama-tobosa prairie B. gracilis-P. mutica < 35 to < 100
    mountain-mahogany-Gambel oak scrub Cercocarpus ledifolius-Quercus gambelii < 35 to < 100
    juniper-oak savanna Juniperus ashei-Q. virginiana < 35
    Ashe juniper J. ashei < 35
    cedar glades J. virginiana 3-7
    pinyon-juniper Pinus-Juniperus spp. 163]
    Colorado pinyon P. edulis 10-400+ [64,75,106,163]
    interior ponderosa pine* P. ponderosa var. scopulorum 2-30 [9,10,121]
    mesquite Prosopis glandulosa 135,163]
    mesquite-buffalo grass P. glandulosa-Buchloe dactyloides < 35
    Texas savanna P. glandulosa var. glandulosa 163]
    oak-hickory Quercus-Carya spp. 210]
    oak-juniper woodland (Southwest) Quercus-Juniperus spp. 163]
    bur oak Q. macrocarpa 210]
    oak savanna Q. macrocarpa/Andropogon gerardii-Schizachyrium scoparium 2-14 [163,210]
    shinnery Q. mohriana < 35
    little bluestem-grama prairie S. scoparium-Bouteloua spp. < 35 [163]

    *fire return interval varies widely; trends in variation are noted in the species summary
    Fire Management Considerations
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the terms: fire management, litter, mesic

    Spring burning appears to be most beneficial to sideoats grama [4,6,88]. Site
    characteristics should be part of a fire management plan for sideoats
    grama. Fire is more beneficial in relatively humid, more productive grasslands
    than in drier, less productive sites, partially because litter buildup in
    more productive communities can reduce sideoats grama productivity, while litter improves
    moisture-holding capacity of soil in drier sites [114,163]. Studies indicate that sideoats grama
    generally increases after fire on relatively mesic prairie sites [25,53,190,199,228] but

    shows a short-term decrease following fire on more arid grasslands of
    the Southwest [1,21,33,220]. Burning every 4 to 5 years appears to benefit
    sideoats grama more than more frequent burning [38,175].
    Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info on this topic.

    More info for the terms: geophyte, hemicryptophyte



    Immediate Effect of Fire
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    Fire generally top-kills sideoats grama [227]. Further information concerning
    the immediate effects of fire on sideoats grama is sparse.
    Life Form
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the term: graminoid

    Plant Response to Fire
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the terms: competition, cover, density, fire frequency, fire severity, fire suppression, frequency, graminoid, grassland, herbaceous, litter, mesic, natural, seed, severity, wildfire

    Sideoats grama recovers from burning by tillering and/or rhizomatous spread (in Bouteloua curtipendula var.
    curtipendula), and by establishing from seed [196]. Awnless seeds may be carried by wind
    [219] into burned areas for natural reestablishment, and the nutrient-rich
    postfire environment may encourage mass flowering in postfire year 2 or 3 [88].

    The response of sideoats grama to fire varies with growth form, fire
    frequency and severity, season of burn, climatic conditions, and composition of
    associated plant community. Fire generally favors the bunchgrass
    variety, Bouteloua curtipendula var.
    caespitosa. The rhizomatous variety of sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula var. curtipendula)
    generally decreases after fire, particularly in dry years. It may require 3 or more years for full
    recovery [228].  In wet years the rhizomatous variety
    tolerates fire "reasonably well" [227]. Several studies have documented the response of sideoats grama to
    fire. Results vary by study and are summarized below.

    Sideoats grama appears to respond most favorably to fire at approximate 5-year intervals. In southeastern Arizona, Robinett and Barker [175] studied the response of
    several grass species in areas subjected to different fire frequencies during the hot season (May through July).
    Species composition on plots subjected to 1 fire, 2 or 3
    fires, or 5 or 6 fires over 15 years was compared on sites with different soil
    textures and other site characteristics. On the Loamy Hills and Granitic Hills
    sites, sideoats grama had greatest percent
    cover relative to other species on plots that were burned 3 times over the
    15-year period, compared to sites burned only once or those burned 5 or 6 times
    during that time. On the Sandy Loam
    Upland site, frequency of sideoats grama was approximately 40% on the 1-burn
    site and declined to less than 5% on sites subjected to 3 or 5 burns
    in the 15-year period. Decadence of sideoats grama was observed on
    sites burned only once. A similar trend in response
    of sideoats grama to different fire frequencies was reported by Collins and others [38]
    on the Konza Prairie in northeastern Kansas. Average cover
    of sideoats grama was highest (4.9%) in plots burned every 4 years, compared
    to 3.1% on plots burned annually and 1.6% on unburned ploys. However, sample
    sizes were small (n = 2 or n = 3) and significance of differences in cover of sideoats grama was not reported.
    Becker [13] found sideoats grama increased over 5 years on plots
    burned annually at low to moderate severity on a blue grama-little bluestem prairie in southwestern

    Several studies indicate that site characteristics influence the response of sideoats grama to
    fire. In the Molino Basin of southern Arizona, Caprio [35] compared
    vegetation on unburned sites with sites burned in June 1983. He found
    cover of sideoats grama increased following burning on south and east
    slopes, but declined on the north slope. Fire severity was not
    specified. Pemble and others [164] reported flowering of sideoats grama was stimulated by fire on a dry,
    hilly, undisturbed prairie site, inhibited on a mesic, level, undisturbed site,
    and showed no significant increase or decrease (p > 0.05) on a mesic, gently sloping to level  site.
    Litter was almost completely consumed on dry hilly site, but
    considerable litter remained in depressions on the wetter sites. Fire severity was not specified.
    In 1937, Leopold [123] compared vegetation of Mexico and the United
    States. He concluded that the Sierra Madre of Chihuahua, Mexico,
    supported comparatively lush stands of sideoats grama because of frequent fires and light grazing.
    Across the border, fire suppression and
    overgrazing had already reduced sideoats grama cover in the
    United States by that time.

    Fire response of sideoats grama is partially dependent on the response of
    competing species. Cover of sideoats grama decreased after burning treatments on a
    big bluestem-porcupine grass (Hesperostipa spartea) tallgrass prairie in Iowa.

    The site had been mowed prior to the
    experiment, allowing sideoats grama to maintain an artificially high cover.
    After burning
    without follow-up mowing, the tall grasses provided more competition. In
    contrast, sideoats grama increased or remained essentially the same on a loess
    hills prairie site [25]. On a tallgrass
    prairie site in Kansas, stem density of sideoats grama was reduced after 3 years
    without burning on both deep- shallow-soil plots [53].

    Burning prior to seeding can help establishment of sideoats grama. When used for revegetating
    stands dominated by exotic Lehmann lovegrass (Eragrostis lehmanniana),
    sideoats grama had higher seedling density after seeding on a burned plot than
    on plots sprayed with herbicide prior to seeding, although the difference among
    plots was only significant (p<0.05) for the late-season (August) planting in
    1 year [18]. Reseeding of prescribed burned areas resulted in "especially good
    establishment" of sideoats grama in Great Basin shrubsteppe area of
    northwestern Arizona [19].

    Several studies, most from the southwestern United States, have found
    a short-term decrease in sideoats grama after burning. Cover of sideoats grama "decreased dramatically"
    after a wildfire in a desert
    mountain scrub community in Texas, determined by comparing vegetation on burned
    and unburned plots at postfire year 2 [33]. Frequency of sideoats grama was less on 3-year-old burns
    than on unburned sites in the Guadalupe Mountains of New Mexico. Fire severity was not
    specified, but fuels were estimated at < 0.5
    ton/acre for litter and cured grasses and 7 tons/acre for living
    vegetation [1]. On Arizona range sites sideoats grama often declines in the season or year
    immediately following burning but recovers in subsequent years [21,220].
    This fire response was documented in 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 Bock and Bock's [21] work for more information on burning conditions, fires,
    and fire effects on more than 100 species of
    herbaceous and woody plants, birds, small mammals, and grasshoppers.

    In some cases burning may have little or no
    effect on sideoats grama. In a study in Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota,
    Bock and Bock [22] measured plant height of several graminoid species before and after burning with
    "relatively cool" surface fires.
    Height of sideoats grama did not differ significantly (p < 0.05) in any year between
    burned and unburned control plots. Sideoats grama showed no difference in flowering
    response between burned and unburned stands in Wisconsin [51]. Fire severity
    was not specified, but the 2.3-inch (5.8-cm) mulch layer was completely removed by the

    Fire can increase nutritional value of sideoats grama. Iron, phosphorus,
    and zinc concentration in sideoats grama increased with
    increasing fire frequency, although trends in nutrient increase were not all
    statistically analyzed. The effects of fire frequency on nutrient
    concentrations in sideoats grama are summarized in the table below [158]:

    Nutrient Concentrations
    Consecutive years burned
    K (%)
    Ca (%)
    Mg (%)
    P (%)
    Total N (%)
    Zn (ppm)
    Cu (ppm)
    Fe (ppm)
    Mn (ppm)

    For more information about the
    nutritional value of sideoats grama,
    see Management Considerations.
    Post-fire Regeneration
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the terms: graminoid, herb, initial off-site colonizer, rhizome, secondary colonizer, seed, tussock


    Rhizomatous herb, rhizome in soil

    Tussock graminoid

    Initial off-site colonizer (off-site, initial community)

    Secondary colonizer (on-site or off-site seed sources)
    Regeneration Processes
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the terms: apomixis, caespitose, cover, density, forb, grassland, perfect, seed, shrubland, warm-season, woodland

    Sideoats grama regenerates from seed, rhizomes, and tillering [196].

    Breeding system:
    Sideoats grama reproduces apomictically
    or sexually [49]. Apomixis occurs in the southern range of sideoats grama, most commonly within
    the range of Bouteloua curtipendula var. caespitosa. Sideoats
    grama has perfect flowers [78] that cross pollinate [76].

    In plants reproducing sexually, cross pollination is effected by wind [219].

    Seed production:
    Sideoats grama produces a "fair amount of seed of
    rather low viability" [205] but seeds readily when adequate moisture is
    available [214]. There are several cultivars of sideoats
    grama (see Management Considerations) with
    varying seed productivity.

    Seed dispersal:
    Awnless fruits suggest that sideoats grama seed is dispersed mainly by wind [49].

    Seed banking:
    Little direct information is available about seed
    banking of sideoats grama, but several studies indicate that seed banking of
    sideoats grama is minor, and varies with local conditions. A study
    of seed banks in postsettlement vegetation communities in the Loess Hills of
    Iowa found sideoats grama had low seed density (<25 seeds/m2) in the
    seed bank of a shrubland site dominated by shrubby roughleaf dogwood (Cornus drummondii) and elm (Ulmus spp.), but moderate
    seed density (25-100 seeds/m2) in a grassland site
    dominated by Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) and smooth brome (Bromus
    inermis) [178]. Seeds of sideoats grama were not encountered in the seed bank of a deciduous woodland
    site dominated by tree-size roughleaf dogwood and elm.
    Examination of Texas seed banks in plots managed with long-term (36-year) grazing Texas revealed seeds of
    sideoats grama appeared to be transient and were not stored in seed banks.
    grama was part of the historic vegetation: savanna dominated by
    caespitose mid-grasses including sideoats grama, Texas tussockgrass (Nassella
    Texas cupgrass (Eriochloa sericea), and little bluestem, with associated
    short grasses including curlymesquite (Hilaria belangeri) and hairy
    woolygrass (Erioneuron pilosum), and scattered clumps or
    individuals of oak (Quercus spp.) and Ashe juniper
    [108]. Sideoats grama's cover was not
    specified, although the authors did state late-seral mid-grasses had been
    reduced by grazing. In a study testing seed viability in Kansas prairie
    communities, soil samples taken from a mid-grass community dominated by sideoats
    grama yielded only 2 sideoats grama germinants [124].

    Seed dormancy can affect
    timing of germination. Germination rate of sideoats grama seed from 148 sources ranged from 18% for the
    most dormant seed to 96% for the least dormant [126]. Major and Wright [126]
    found after the postharvest period, dormancy was completely broken in sideoats
    grama seed when floral parts were removed from caryopses. Germination was highest for seed with the
    heaviest caryopses, and fewer caryopses per gram. Dormancy may be
    controlled by "coumarin-like" inhibitory compounds.

    A number of studies have
    focused on germination requirements of sideoats grama. These studies reveal that
    germination rates of sideoats grama vary with place of seed origin, as well as
    with temperature regimes, moisture, and other conditions. Sideoats grama seed vigor is good
    compared to seeds of other warm-season grasses [212]. When conditions are
    favorable, germination is rapid; in 1 case sideoats grama showed 50% germination
    within 22 hours [188]. Studies have
    found differing results  for germination success rate. Halinar [79] reported germination
    rates of 20 to 30% and 18 to 34% in
    2 consecutive years. Other sources found 50 to 70% germination
    [40,68]. Jordan and Haferkamp [103] found high sideoats grama germination success, ranking 3rd out of 19 warm-season grasses tested. Wasser
    [212] stated most sideoats grama seed germinates within 7 days under ideal
    field conditions. Light improves germination [40]. 

    Heat affects rate and success of sideoats grama germination. Temperatures
    between 50 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit (10 and 30 °C) are generally best for germination [68,181]. Sabo
    and others [181] found a constant temperature of 73
    degrees Fahrenheit (23 °C),
    or alternating temperatures of 54 degrees Fahrenheit (12 °C) for 8 hours with 88
    degrees Fahrenheit (31 °C) for 16 hours, gave best
    germination of sideoats grama. Over 1 month, germination of seed collected in southeastern
    Montana averaged 95% for treatments of 68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 30 °C).
    Seeds required 1 to 3 days to achieve 50%
    germination. Germination for the
    low-temperature treatment of 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 °C) was only 60%, and
    seeds required 15 days to attain 50% germination [59].
    Jordan and Haferkamp [103] found the minimum
    germination temperature for the 'NM-28' cultivar was 48 degrees Fahrenheit (8.9 °C).

    Planting depth
    also affects germination rate. Sideoats grama had the highest germination rate
    (58%) at 1-inch planting
    depth compared to 37% at 0.5 inch (12.7 mm),
    10% at 2 inches, and 0% at 3 inches (76 mm) [28]. Germination of sideoats grama
    is good under both dry and moist conditions [155]. Germination of sideoats grama
    is "not greatly affected" by water stress down to 1 mP [181]. Qi and Redmann [168],
    found sideoats grama had a lower tolerance to water stress than was reported in
    Sabo and others [181], with 1 of the lowest germination rates of the 6 grass species tested 
    under water stress. 

    Seedling establishment/growth: Seedling
    vigor of sideoats grama is good to excellent [86,212]. In a study comparing
    seedling growth, sideoats grama seedlings developed more quickly than most of the 44
    prairie forb and grass species tested [155]. In the  greenhouse, tillering began 3 weeks after seeds of sideoats grama were planted,
    and continued at a rapid rate [144]. Nine-week-old plants produced 20 to 40 stems and rhizomes. Temperature affected
    seedling growth rate. Seedlings grew more rapidly at 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (26.7 to
    29.4 °C) than at 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 to 18.3 °C)
    [177]. Of 5 grass species tested for growth patterns, 'Coronado' sideoats grama
    showed the most rapid shoot and root growth [47].

    Sideoats grama seedlings are more drought tolerant than many other
    warm-season grasses, although seedlings that are not well established can be
    killed by a short drought period [65]. Dahl and others [44] found sideoats grama
    was 1 of the easiest
    species to establish in wet or dry years in Texas. Root length and root:shoot
    ratio are important factors in survival rates of seedlings growing in
    water-limited areas [188]. In a study by Simanton and
    Jordan [188], sideoats grama had the highest root length,
    shoot length, and root:shoot ratio compared to other warm-season grass species. Robocker and others [177]
    reported sideoats grama has high root growth in relation to leaf development.

    Asexual regeneration: Sideoats grama
    reproduces asexually from rhizomes and tillers.
    Rhizomes are the main form of reproduction in Bouteloua curtipendula var.
    curtipendula [205].  The bunchgrass variety of sideoats grama (Bouteloua
    curtipendula var. caespitosa) reproduces asexually from tillers.
    Although rhizomatous, vegetative expansion of the 'El Reno' cultivar of sideoats grama studied in Colorado was primarily from
    tillering. Rhizomes did not contribute significantly to new shoot production.
    According to Sims and others [189] the 'El Reno' cultivar produced rhizomes mainly from reproductive
    shoots and tillers mainly from vegetative shoots.

    Successional Status
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    More info on this topic.

    More info for the terms: climax, codominant, cover, grassland, rhizome, secondary colonizer, succession

    Sideoats grama occurs in all stages of succession. It is moderately shade tolerant [186], growing
    in partial shade to full sun [36,136,183,212]. In ponderosa pine woodlands of
    northwestern Nebraska, the importance of sideoats grama relative to other grass
    species increases with increasing canopy cover, indicating that sideoats grama is relatively shade tolerant [202]. Bolander [24] found sideoats grama
    in Arizona chaparral was moderately dense where the canopy was open and grazing
    was not been

    Sideoats grama can be a primary or secondary colonizer on burned areas. Seeds
    are carried into burned sites by wind or produced by plants surviving fire [88]. Sideoats grama occurs in
    early seral postfire communities [163] and increases on disturbed sites through
    asexual regeneration or self-seeding [210,213]. Sideoats grama seeds more successfully on burned than unburned
    sites [18,19], indicating it colonizes after disturbance by
    fire. It may increase in cover immediately following fire [134,190], indicating it can
    also spread by tillering or rhizome expansion. Leopold [123] described sideoats
    grama communities maintained by frequent fires in areas relatively undisturbed
    by grazing.

    Sideoats grama is a climax indicator in arid grasslands throughout the
    Southwest [163], and is a dominant or codominant species in late-seral
    vegetation across much of the Great Plains [78]. Dodd and Holtz [52] list
    sideoats grama as a dominant component in late-seral grassland vegetation on a
    loam range site in southern Texas.


    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info on this topic.

    More info for the terms: formation, natural, phenology, root crown, seed, warm-season

    Sideoats grama starts growth in mid-spring, and generally flowers between July
    and September [212]. In native tallgrass prairie in central Oklahoma, anthesis occurs from July to September,
    seedlings sprout in November and
    December and in March and April, and seed formation and dissemination occur
    from July through November [2].
    The growing period for sideoats grama in the southern Great Plains is April
    through October [182]. In Wisconsin, root crown growth occurred from early
    April through mid-July, then again from early to mid-August. Production of secondary and
    tertiary shoots occurred from mid-March through late October, and anthesis occurred
    from mid-July to mid-August [148].
    Production of shoots slowed during flower production but did not cease at any
    time during the growing season. In general, sideoats grama flowers from April to
    October [105]. Flowering dates for sideoats grama vary with location, and are summarized in the following table:

    Location Beginning of Flowering End of flowering
    OK June July [173]
    IL, VA, WV, CO, WY July September [142,193,226]
    CA April October [145]
    NM May October [128]

    Phenology differs due to variety and place of origin. Olson [160]
    planted 4 cultivars of sideoats grama, and cultivars of other
    warm-season grasses, in a common garden in Minnesota to study phenology of
    grasses collected from locations throughout the Great Plains. Sideoats grams cultivars from North Dakota ('Kildeer')
    and South Dakota ('Pierre') reached anthesis 21 to 28 days earlier than cultivars from Kansas ('Butte' and 'Trailway'). In clones grown from locations throughout the Great Plains,
    flowering began earliest in plants from northern and western sites, and occurred
    progressively later in plants originating in more southward and eastward sites
    [133]. Flowering for northern clones was in late June, with the
    earliest flowering in clones from northeastern Montana. A study by Olmsted [159]
    also provides insight on the phenological variability of sideoats
    grama from different locations. Olmsted tested the photoperiodic response of sideoats
    grama from Texas, Oklahoma, and North
    Dakota. He found the Texas strain grew and flowered vigorously in natural or
    simulated 13-hour daylight. The Oklahoma strain flowered equally well and
    rapidly with 13 to 14 hours of daylight, and the North Dakota strain grew and flowered
    vigorously in 14- and 15-hour photoperiods. The photoperiodic responses of the
    strains corresponded to flowering earlier in the year and during longer days for
    more northern species, which may have been an adaptation in response to
    northward expansion of sideoats grama in the past.

Conservation Status

    Conservation Status
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    Sideoats grama has a global rank of G5, indicating it is demonstrably secure
    globally, but may be quite rare in parts of its range [129]. State and province protection
    status for sideoats grama is given below.

    Location Rank Rank Key
    Connecticut Endangered Species in danger of extinction throughout all
    or a significant portion of its range, and with less than 5 occurrences in
    the state [39].
    Kentucky Species of special concern Taxon should be monitored because is exists in a
    limited geographical area; may become threatened or endangered due to
    habitat destruction or biological or other factors; or is thought to be rare
    or declining but insufficient evidence exists to list it as endangered or
    threatened [107].
    Maryland S2 State rare or vulnerable to extirpation.
    Typically 6 to 20 occurrences or few remaining individuals or acres [129].
    Michigan S1/S2 S1: Critically imperiled in the state because of
    extreme rarity (5 or fewer occurrences or very few remaining individuals or
    acres). S2: Imperiled in state because of rarity (6 to 20 occurrences or few
    remaining individuals or acres) or because of some factors making it very
    vulnerable to extirpation from the state [138].
    Mississippi S3/S4 S3: Rare or uncommon in state (21 to 100
    occurrences). S4: Apparently secure in state [141].
    New Jersey Endangered Species in danger of extinction throughout all
    or a significant portion of its range [152].
    New York S1, Endangered Critically imperiled because of rarity ( 5 or
    fewer sites or very few remaining individuals) or extremely vulnerable to
    extirpation from the state due to biological factors [216].
    Pennsylvania S2 Imperiled in the state because of rarity or
    because of some factor(s) making it very vulnerable to extirpation from the
    state. Typically 6 to 20 occurrences [138].
    West Virginia S3 May be somewhat vulnerable to extirpation (20 to
    100 documented occurrences) [218]
    Manitoba S2 Rare and may be vulnerable to extirpation [172].

    Sideoats grama is the state grass of Texas [199].


    Management considerations
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the terms: association, competition, cover, forbs, frequency, litter, mesic, seed, shrubs, tree, woodland

    Herbicides and fertilizer treatments:
    Reaction of sideoats grama to
    herbicide treatments varies with the herbicide and stage of phenological development. Sideoats grama had good to
    excellent tolerance to imazethapyr
    applied either pre- or postemergence [14]. Application of 2,4-D favored establishment of sideoats grama
    on an upland site seeded with native grasses and treated with 2,4-D, atrazine, and mowing
    [26]. In a study of the effects of clopyralid, picloram,
    triclopyr, and 2,4,5-T, development of sideoats grama seedlings was reduced as
    rate of herbicide application increased [95]. Clopyralid had minimal effect at
    application rates of 0.98 lb/ac (1.1kg/ha) and less, but the other 3 herbicides caused
    more damage as application rate increased. Triclopyr and 2,4,5-T
    had detrimental effects at 0.98 lb/ac (1.1kg/ha) or higher, and picloram caused increasingly
    negative effects on growth at 1.96 lb/ac (2.2 kg/ha) and higher.

    Application of fertilizer
    may increase sideoats grama production. Application of nitrogen and nitrogen+phosphorus fertilizer increased
    herbage production of sideoats grama
    relative to the control on 3 different soil types in which laboratory
    specimens were grown [99]. On a loamy upland site in south-central New Mexico, cover of sideoats grama increased over
    4 years with annual June application of nitrogen [57].

    Light competition from trees may have detrimental effects on
    sideoats grama stands. Sideoats grama increased after cabling of Colorado pinyon-oneseed
    juniper woodland in south-central New Mexico [183]. After trees, shrubs, and forbs in another pinyon-juniper
    woodland were killed, herbage production for sideoats grama increased from 5 kg/ha 1 year after
    treatment to 155 kg/ha 3 years after treatment [36]. In eastern Nebraska native
    little bluestem prairie, cover
    of sideoats grama was lowest in shaded
    plots under eastern redcedar, compared to plots
    in open sites and at the edge of tree crowns [71]. In contrast, McPherson and
    Wright [136] found cover of sideoats grama increased
    with increased canopy cover of redberry juniper on
    both ungrazed and formerly grazed sites, even though overall grass production
    decreased with greater canopy cover. In another study sideoats grama increased on plots where redberry
    juniper was controlled with picloram [176].

    Sideoats grama can reduce the success of other species. Sideoats grama in dense stands may reduce
    honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) seedling
    establishment [34]. Sideoats grama reduced dry mass of honey mesquite
    when the 2 species were planted at the same time or when sideoats grama was already
    established. Similarly, sideoats grama caused a decrease in the dry weight of
    smooth hawthorn (Crataegus
    laevigata) and sweet acacia (Acacia smallii) when planted with
    those species [208].

    Extracts from Utah juniper foliage and litter suppress growth of sideoats grama seedlings [100].
    In grasslands, sideoats grama may be reduced by competition from taller prairie grasses more
    adapted to mesic sites, declining in cover or disappearing from mesic
    sites within a few years [46]. Sideoats grama may have lower yield where planted with
    tallgrass species, as taller grasses can outcompete sideoats grama [130].

    Response to grazing pressure:
    Sideoats grama is often considered an
    increaser under grazing [6,90,113,162]; however, sideoats
    grama often decreases under grazing on arid western ranges [20,24]. Tomanek and Albertson [203]
    report sideoats grama both
    decreased and increased under grazing, depending on site characteristics and
    grazing pressure. Sideoats grama often increases under grazing in tallgrass
    prairies [90,162]. When growing in association with little bluestem and blue
    grama, sideoats grama often increases with
    heavy grazing pressure but may be replaced
    by blue grama or forbs [102]. In Nebraska sideoats
    grama increases under heavy grazing on favorable, wetter sites, but
    does not do well under prolonged heavy grazing [194]. Sideoats grama may increase under grazing due to
    reduced competition by other
    grasses. Percent species composition of sideoats grama declined from 11.54% to 1.12%
    after 17 years of protection from grazing on a mixed-grass prairie in Nebraska
    [146]. On native prairie site in Kansas, a decrease in competition due to
    drought caused an increase in relative cover and
    seed production of sideoats grama until other grasses recovered [41]. Sideoats
    grama is most abundant on
    steep slopes not easily accessible to cattle, and is increasing on some western
    ranges protected from grazing [20,67]. Bolander [24] states sideoats grama
    is common in areas of Arizona chaparral that have not been overgrazed, but is
    replaced by other grasses in heavily grazed areas. Similarly, cover of sideoats grama in semiarid grasslands
    of the Edwards Plateau in Texas has been
    reduced by prolonged overgrazing [109].

    Fire affects the response of sideoats grama to grazing. Sideoats grama increased in early spring-burned pastures
    where fire essentially eliminated Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis), increasing grazing
    pressure on sideoats grama [162]. Sideoats grama increased in cover and frequency in response to
    bison grazing at stocking rates of 9 ha/AU
    to 5 ha/AU [85]; the difference between grazed and ungrazed plots was significant (p < 0.1) on
    tallgrass prairie sites burned every 4 years but was not significant on plots
    burned annually. On season-long grazed sites, moderately stocked (3.3 ac/head)
    with cattle, sideoats grama represented a greater proportion of vegetation composition on
    spring-burned plots than on unburned plots monitored from
    1950 to 1967 [119]. Sideoats grama significantly (p< 0.05) increased in percent
    species composition 4 years after fire on sites under season-long
    continuous grazing and fertilized with 80 lb/ac (90 kg/ha) nitrogen, but decreased
    (though change not significant at p = 0.05) on unburned, grazed plots fertilized at 80 lb/ac nitrogen [119]. For more information about the response of sideoats grama to
    fire, see Fire Effects.

    Several studies have investigated the effects of grazing and mowing on
    sideoats grama [139,161,171]. Clipping reduces aboveground and belowground dry
    mass [139], and can increase stands of sideoats grama if clipped herbage is
    removed from the ground [161]. Clipping sideoats grama at a high
    frequency and a high intensity (to 3 inches (8 cm) every 3 weeks) severely reduced
    plant vigor compared to lighter, less frequent clipping (to 6 inches (15 cm) every 6
    weeks) [171]. Reardon and others [171] caution against using clipping
    as a direct surrogate for studying grazing response, reporting that regrowth
    of sideoats grama was greater after grazing by domestic sheep, goats , or cattle than clipping to the
    same height as grazed plants.


    Importance to Livestock and Wildlife
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the terms: cool-season, cover, fresh, warm-season

    Sideoats grama is highly productive, providing valuable forage for all classes of
    livestock and wildlife [86]. It is good winter and
    summer forage [205]. In some areas sideoats grama is an important
    summer food when cool-season grasses are dormant [221]. In Arizona it maintains
    relatively high forage value throughout the year. It
    provides forage earlier in the spring than the other gramas, remains green later
    in the fall, and cures well [96].

    Palatability/nutritional value:
    Sideoats grama is highly palatable and nutritious, and is readily eaten
    by all classes of livestock [186]. Leaves are more palatable than stems and
    are generally
    consumed 1st [205]. Sideoats grama is highly palatable to livestock during late spring and summer,
    and provides fair forage value when mature [212]. It is
    highly palatable while green and is consumed
    throughout the growing season, including early spring (if spring rains occur) [205].
    In Nebraska it is grazed mostly in late summer and fall, and remains moderately
    palatable into winter [194].

    The following table provides a summary of forage use of sideoats grama by
    livestock and wildlife:

    Livestock or
    wildlife species
    value and season of use


    AZ, CO, MT, ND, OK, TX, WY
    CO, MT, ND, WY [50]
    Domestic goats
    Mexico [125]
    Domestic sheep


    CO, MT, ND, WY [50]
    Mule deer
    relatively low use,
    March-July; light use all seasons
    AZ, CO [8,110,116]
    White-tailed deer
    relatively low use; measured
    AZ [8]
    good; used all seasons
    TX [32]
    Small mammals
    seeds and seedheads used
    KS [63,157,186]

    seeds and seedheads used
    location not specified

    Studies report varying results for the nutritional value of sideoats grama.
    Sideoats grama has fair energy value and fair protein value but poor food
    value for mule deer, white-tailed deer, and pronghorn in North Dakota [50]. It
    is moderately valuable winter forage in the southern Great Plains, but nutrient
    value is too low to be one of the outstanding warm-season forage grasses in the region [182]. Newell and Moline
    [153] reported sideoats grama provided high-quality forage
    from May through October, as indicated by crude protein content. However,
    according to a study in Texas, protein content was ranked "good" in samples
    taken in the early
    growth stage and "deficient" for mature growth. Protein was considered
    deficient in 60% of sideoats grama samples. Sideoats grama was "deficient" and
    "very deficient" for phosphoric acid in the young and mature growth stages,
    respectively [66].  In samples from Arizona, crude protein content of
    sideoats grama varied seasonally from 2.66% to 6.23%, with the highest levels in
    May to June [185]. Crude protein content was also highest in May and June in
    both standing biomass and 30-day-old regrowth for 'El  Reno' sideoats grama
    from 3 sites in Texas. Crude protein content values for sideoats grama ranged from 1.9%
    to 13.2%, and varied among sites and seasons. In-vitro digestible organic matter
    was also generally highest in May and June at all 3 sites [127]. Protein content
    of dormant sideoats grama from an arid New Mexico range was 3.7%.
    Sideoats grama was low in many other nutrients compared to other species
    [149]. The table below summarizes nutritional content of sideoats grama forage,
    expressed as percentage of dry matter [147]:

      Fresh, immature Fresh, mid-bloom Fresh, full bloom Fresh, mature Fresh, overripe Fresh, early leaf (without lower stems) Fresh, mid-bloom (w/o lower stems) Fresh, dormant (w/o lower stems)
    Ash 12.7 14.6 13.6 13.8 11.9 11.1 9.6 10.3
    Crude fiber 28.4 28.9 30.8 31.4 34.4 30.3 32.7 32.8
    Ether extract 2.0 1.9 1.7 1.7 1.6 1.8 1.7 1.4
    N-free extract 45.3 46.2 46.8 48.4 49.1 51.0 50.4 51.8
    Protein (NÃ6.25) 11.6 8.4 7.1 4.7 3.0 5.7 5.6 3.8
      Cattle-digestible protein 7.8 5.0 3.9 1.9 0.4 2.8 2.7 1.1
      Horses-dig. protein 7.4 4.7 3.6 1.4 0.1 2.4 2.3 0.7
      Domestic goats-dig. protein 7.4 4.4 3.2 0.9 -0.5 1.9 1.8 0.1
      Domestic sheep-dig. protein 7.8 4.8 3.6 1.4 -0.1 2.3 2.2 0.5
      Domestic rabbits--dig. protein 7.6 5.2 4.2 2.3 1.0 3.1 3.0 1.6
    Ca 0.66 0.70 0.51 0.36 0.22 0.38 0.28 0.24
    P 0.18 0.12 0.10 0.08 0.07 0.12 0.12 0.07
    K ---- ---- ---- 0.35 ---- ---- ---- ----
    Mg ---- ---- ---- 0.12 ---- ---- ---- ----

    On plots treated with annual spring burning and application of 2.2 kg/ha
    tebuthiuron, crude protein content and percent digestibility of sideoats grama
    increased from the 1st year of treatment to the 2nd year. Pretreatment data were limited, but showed lower nutritional value of
    grasses prior to treatment. For both years of treatment, crude protein and
    percent digestibility of sideoats grama were highest in May and declined steadily throughout the
    sampling season, to mid-September [23].

    Sideoats grama is sometimes used for hay in southwestern and prairie states
    [15,105,193,201,225]. According to Williams [225], livestock eat the coarse leaves more readily dry
    than when leaves are fresh.

    Cover value:
    Sideoats grama provides excellent nesting cover for a variety of
    songbirds and is readily used by a variety of small mammals [157]. Sideoats grama is sometimes seeded for game bird
    habitat improvement, and is recommended in grass mixes to provide cover for nesting
    lesser prairie-chickens [151,184]. Sideoats grama provides
    good cover for quail species [184] and is sometimes planted for scaled quail habitat improvement [31].
    It is listed as a component of prime sharp-tailed grouse habitat [151]. Sideoats
    grama provides good habitat for black-tailed jackrabbit
    and eastern cottontail on Kansas prairies [29]. It is a component of open grasslands preferred by mountain
    sheep [60]. In Arizona, areas used by mountain sheep had a
    significantly greater (p < 0.05) cover of sideoats grama, and a greater proportion of grass
    cover overall, than areas mountain sheep did not use.
    Other uses and values
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    Native Americans used bundled dried sideoats grama stems for brooms and brushes
    Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the terms: density, reclamation, seed

    Sideoats grama establishes quickly and provides good erosion control
    [186]. It is commonly seeded on southern plains ranges to reduce wind erosion,
    reduce soil temperatures and evaporation, and help control weeds
    [45]. Sideoats grama is very drought resistant [3,113,153,213],. Density and
    vigor of sideoats grama stands may decrease during drought [194]; however, stand density
    may increase, and sideoats grama expand by self-seeding, after drought [153].
    Sideoats grama can increase rapidly on prairie damaged by extreme drought or overgrazing [213].

    Seed weight
    and seeding rate:
    Seed weight for sideoats grama is
    170,000 seeds/lb [169] to 191,000 seeds/lb [44,192]. Range of pure live seed (PLS) per pound of bulk seed was
    reported as 42,020 to 64,940 PLS/lb bulk [79]. Recommended seeding rate is 3 to 6 lbs PLS/ac
    (3.3 to 6.7  kg/ha).
    Seeding dates vary from April 1 to May 15 in the northern and central Great
    Plains, January to April in the southern Great Plains and June 15 to July 15 for
    Trans-Pecos Texas and the Southwest [192].

    Sideoats grama is often included in native seed mixes for prairie reclamation
    [5,78] and is widely used for reseeding
    ranges [194]. Stubbendieck and others [194] recommend sideoats grama as a
    component of native grass mixes in silty, clayey, and sandy sites throughout
    Nebraska. Sideoats grama is used for revegetating coal surface-mined lands in the eastern
    United States
    [209], Iowa [55], eastern Montana [62], and other areas.  It
    has been seeded successfully on iron ore for mine reclamation in Wisconsin [83]. 

    Cultivars: Sideoats grama is commercially available [169]. Several improved cultivars of sideoats
    grama have been developed including 'Vaughn' and 'Niner,' originating from western
    areas of the Southwest [86], 'Trailway'  from Nebraska, 'Pierre'  from
    South Dakota, 'Kildeer' from North Dakota, 'Premier' and 'Haskell' from
    Texas, as well as 'EL Reno,' 'Butte,' and 'Native' [97,156,186]. Production and
    timing of maturity of the individual cultivars vary by planting
    site [97]. Improved cultivars are often used for reclamation. Of several cultivars
    evaluated at a mine site in the Southwest, 'Vaughn' ranked best for both stand
    density and vigor in all 3 study years, followed by 'NM-28' and 'El Reno'


    Common Names
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    sideoats grama

    sideoats gramagrass

    tall grama


    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants

    The scientific name of sideoats grama is Bouteloua curtipendula
    (Michx.) Torr. (Poaceae) [49,73,78,91,104,105,128,217]. Recognized varieties are as follows

    Bouteloua curtipendula var. caespitosa Gould & Kapadia

    B. curtipendula var. curtipendula (Michx.) Torr.

    Most sources reviewed in this species summary do not distinguish between varieties, but pertain to areas within
    the range of Bouteloua curtipendula var. curtipendula
    (see Distribution and Occurrence).
    Where information presented in this summary pertains to a particular variety,
    the variety will be specified as either B. curtipendula var. curtipendula
    or B. curtipendula var. caespitosa.