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Buffalo Grass


Buffalo grass
Buchloe dactyloides
(Order Cyperales, Family Poaceae)

Photo by David Sanchez, 2011

Height: 2-8 inches

Culms: Erect or decumbent, slender, solid, shorter on female plants than on male plants; nodes glabrous; internodes flattened.
Blades: Flat, 1 to 5 inches long, sparsely hairy.
Sheaths: Loose, glabrous except for a few marginal hairs near collars.
Ligules: Membranous, fringed with hairs
Inflorescences: Inflorescences of staminate plants panicles; branches 2-5, 1/4 to 1/2 inch long, flag-like; inflorescences of pistillate plants bur-like, 1-3, almost hidden among leaves.
Spikelets: Spikelets of staminate plants 6-12 per branch, arranged in 2 rows; florets 2 per spikelet; spikelets of pistillate plants 2-5; florets 1 per spikelet; second glume and lemma awned.

Flowering Period: May, June

Habitat: Dry prairies, open woodlands, roadsides, and partially disturbed areas.

Forage Value: Livestock readily graze buffalo grass, except during dry spells when it goes dormant. It can furnish good winter grazing. Buffalo grass protects itself from being overgrazed by producing its leaves very close to the ground.

Comments: Sod-forming, dioecious (male and female flowers occur on separate plants); stolons 2 to 24 inches long, creeping, rooting at nodes. The foliage turns reddish brown after frost.

Conservation status: Not threatened

Distribution: Broadly distributed in the middle United States.  Found throughout Kansas.  See

Blue Planet Biomes:
YouTube: The Buffalo Grass-Chris Ledoux:

Haddock, Michael John 2005. Wildflowers & Grasses of Kansas. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence,   Kansas. 290.
Great Plains Flora Association 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. 1148.

Image Credits:
Buffalo grass close up. Photo by, 2011.

Submitted by: David Sanchez, July, 2011.


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Generated on 2011. This website is continuously updated.
Comments can be sent to Mary Liz Jameson.
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