Hilaria jamesii (Torr.)
low growing (3 to 20 inches tall), rather coarse grass, with coarse
rhizomes, growing as an open sod or in small bunches; stems solid,
hairy at nodes. It grows mainly in summer after sufficient rain,
but can also grow and flower in the spring. It reproduces from rhizomes
and seeds, and may occur in nearly pure or scattered stands.
Seedhead:Erect, purplish to straw-colored
spike, 1 ½ to 3 inches long, with 3 spikelets per rachis
joint; spikelet clusters fall as a group when mature, leaving a
persistent zigzag seed stalk. Spikelets alternate; about ¼
inch long, chaffy, clustered, and hairy at base.
Leaves: Blades narrow, mostly basal, 1 to
3 inches long, rough on margins, curling and straw yellow when mature
and dry; collar has a few long hairs; leaves rolled in bud; the
ligule is up to 1/8 inch long, membranous, deeply cut on margins;
Galleta is a fairly
important native range grass in the drier foothills and deserts
of Utah at elevations from 2500 to 7500 feet in the 5 to 16 inch
rainfall belts where there is a definite summer precipitation pattern.
occurs in a wide variety of soils from shallow to deep and from
coarse to fine texture, but is most abundant on fine textured soils.
It is often found on clay soils where other grasses are rare.
grama, big sagebrush, sandberg
bluegrass, sand dropseed, shadscale,
is a desirable forage plant for cattle, horses, and sheep, particularly
when used during late spring and summer. It is also used to some
extent by deer and antelope. It can withstand heavy grazing.
It is useful for roadside seedings, campground, and picnic areas
because it endures trampling. Up to 60 percent of the top growth
of the plant can be utilized during the growing season or up to
75 percent during the dormant period; occasional deferment from
grazing during the period of flowering and seed formation will help
to keep this plant producing at its maximum level. It is considered
to be an excellent plant for erosion control on semi-desert sites.