• Bouteloua curtipendula - Sideoats Grama


    "Bouteloua curtipendula, sideoats grama, is a medium-size perennial bunchgrass, 15 to 30 inches tall or occasionally taller. This is the largest and most coarse of the grama grasses. It has a bluishgreen color, sometimes with a purplish cast (especially in the spring), and cures to a reddishbrown or straw color. Leaves are coarser than other species of gramas, straight, comparatively stiff, and mostly basal. Ten to thirty small, non-comb-like spikes are borne mostly along one side of each central seed stalk. These spikes drop when mature, leaving a long zigzag stalk." (USDA NRCS)

    Bouteloua Curtipendula Botany by Dr. John Hilty


    "The preference is full sun and dry conditions. This grass grows readily in various kinds of soil, including those containing clay-loam, loess, gravel, rocky material, and sand. It is quite drought-resistant and adapts well to gentle or moderate slopes." (HIlty)

    Faunal Associations: 

    "The leafhoppers Flexamia albida, Flexamia pectinata and Laevicephalus minimus are specialist feeders (oligophages) of Side Oats Grama (Panzer et al., 2006). Many grasshoppers feed on this prairie grass (see Grasshopper Table), as do the stinkbug Moromorpha tetra and the mealybug Antoninoides nortoni (Rider website, accessed 2009; ScaleNet website, accessed 2014). The larvae of Hesperia dacotae (Dakota Skipper), Hesperia leonardus (Leonard's Skipper), and Hesperia ottoe (Ottoe's Skipper) also feed on it (Natural History Museum website, accessed 2010). Some upland gamebirds and granivorous songbirds are known to feed on the seeds of Bouteloua spp. (Grama grasses), but information for Side Oats Grama in Illinois is unavailable. In Texas and states of the Great Plains, the McCown Longspur and Wild Turkey eat the seeds of various Grama grasses. Some hoofed mammalian herbivores, including bison, horses, and cattle, graze on these grasses readily, including Side Oats Grama. According to Laughlin (2003), the seeds of Side Oats Grama can cling to the fur of bison, elk, and other mammals. Thus, these mammals may spread the seeds into new areas." (Hilty)


    Erosion Control:

    "This grass is adapted to most soil conditions. Successful seedings are obtained in rocky, stony, or shallow soils. It is a fair to good erosion control plant when mixed with the other plants naturally associated with it. Grazing: This is one of the most import" (USDA NRCS)


    1. Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=444116
    2. "Side-oats Grama (Bouteloua curtipendula) Lacreek NWR" by USFWS Mountain Prairie is licensed under CC BY 2.0
    3. "Bouteloua curtipendula" by Matt Lavin is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
    4. "Bouteloua curtipendula" by Matt Lavin is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    John Hilty Botany:

    • USDA NRCS Plant Materials and Program. SIDEOATS GRAMA Bouteloua Curtipendula (Fact Sheet).
    • John Hilty"Side Oats Grama", Illinois Wildflowers, the publisher, Copyright 2004-2019. Accessed 29 January 2022
    • Botanical illustrations: "Hitchcock, A.S. (rev. A. Chase). 1/1/1950" USDA, NRCS. 2022. PLANTS Database (https://plants.sc.egov.usda.gov/, 02/01/2022). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

    Information and images compiled by Erik N.Vegeto

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