cryptandrus (Torr.) Gray
perennial bunchgrass, without rhizomes, growing 1 to 2 ½
feet tall in small tufts; erect to spreading or decumbent at base.
It starts growth in the early spring, and seeds mature June to August.
It produces an abundance of seeds, and reproduces readily from seeds
panicle, up to 10 inches long, often reddish or lead-colored at
flowering, often partly or entirely enclosed in the uppermost leaf
sheath; spikelets very small contain 1 floret; seed shatters from
lemma and palea, hence the name "dropseed."
Leaves: Blades glabrous, short (4 to 8 inches),
flat and moderately wide at base but rolled toward the pointed tips,
become frayed or "flagged" at maturity by the wind; sheaths
fringed on margins, most prominently on overlapping margins, otherwise
glabrous; conspicuous tuft of stiff, white hairs around collar;
ligules comprised of fringe of short hairs; auricles absent.
Sand dropseed is
native to many of the low elevation and low rainfall rangelands
of Utah. It occurs on several upland and semi-desert sites, with
precipitation between 5 to 15 inches annually.
Soils: It commonly grows on sandy soils
but is adapted to medium textured soils also. It is found also,
but to a lesser extent, on gravelly, stony, and cobbly sandy loams.
Sand dropseed is not tolerant of wet soils.
sagebrush, saltbush, western wheatgrass,
Indian ricegrass, and sand
a warm-season grass, sand dropseed is better suited for summer grazing
than for spring range. It provides fair to good forage for cattle,
sheep and horses. It is also used to some extent by antelope, deer,
small mammals, and upland game birds. The forage value declines
rapidly with maturity. Sand dropseed will increase with excessive
grazing or after drought, but is susceptible to severe drought.
Sand dropseed is a very essential grass for wind erosion control
on sandy soil sites. It inhibits water pollution by reducing the
blowing of sand into stream channels.
New seedlings of sand dropseed should not be grazed for 2 or 3 growing
seasons depending on climatic conditions, especially the amount
of moisture. After plant establishment, it will tolerate harvest
of about 50 percent of the annual growth.