Grasses of the Shortgrass Prairie

Bucheloe dactyloides, Buffalograss

Our North American turfgrass, native to the shortgrass prairie and elevations below 7,000 ft. This warm season perennial grass grows to 4-6 inches tall and spreads by stolons to form a thick sod. It will grow on most soils but prefers heavy clay soils to sand. It is an excellent choice for homeowners who want a lawn without having to water frequently.

Three Awn Seeds
Three Awn seeds.

NPS Photo

Aristida purpurea, Purple Threeawn Grass

This grass produces slender purple-reddish leaves from May until the summer heat
begins, then the color fades to a tawny blond. It is heat and drought tolerant and provides some cover for small mammals and reptiles in drier areas with less ground cover. This species can form 8 inch clumps, with plumed grass about 2 feet tall.

Sideoats Gramma seeds dangling from a typical zigzag stalk.
Sideoats seeds waving in the wind.

NPS Photo

Bouoteloua curtipendula, Sideoats gramagrass

Upright native, warm season, clumping grass. Grows up to 30 inches tall. Large seeds hang from one size of a stiff zigzag stem. Designated the State Grass of Texas is 1971 and is widespread throughout the U.S. Sideoats provide a nutritious forage for many species of wildlife, including deer, antelope and turkey.

Little Bluestem
A clump of Little Bluestem.

NPS Photo

Schizachyrium scoparium, Little Bluestem Grass

Shortgrass native to most areas of North America, it's size and shape are often dependent upon growing conditions. It is a warm season bunchgrass through out much of North America, with new growth taking on a bluish hue. Color matures to a reddish-gold through the growing season.


NPS Photo

Panicum virgatum, Switch grass

This species form very tall clumps, often 4-5' tall x 2 feet wide. This species is native to most prairie ecosystems and can tolerate a variety of soils. Its ability to grow well and produce a lot of biomass each season has led to its use in the bioenergy industry.

Last updated: October 6, 2017

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Lake Meredith National Recreation Area
P.O. Box 1460

Fritch, TX 79036


806 857-3151

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