Burrograss

(Scleropogon brevifolius Phil.)




Synonyms
Description
Burrograss culms are erect or bent at the base. Light green leaves grow mostly at the base of the stems and from the joints of the stolons by which the plant spreads. They are short and rather hard, either flat or folded, and from 1/16 to 1/8 inch wid e. Burrograss most frequently has its male and female florets on separate plants. The female are characterized by rough, twisted awns up to four inches long. After maturity they are the most noticeable thing about the plant.
Distribution and habitat
Burrograss is rather widespread, occurring at 5,500 feet or lower in open valleys and mesas among grass or low shrub vegetation types. This grass is often present on disturbed areas. Burrograss also occupies the edges of alkali lakes (playas) where s tanding water prevents perennials from taking hold.
General information
Burrograss has little forage value. It has little palatability for any class of livestock, in part because of the long wiry awns on the seeds and in part because of the harsh, stiff leaves. Most ranges where this grass is abundant have deteriorated ma rkedly. Its presence, therefore, generally indicates that changes in management are needed. When burrograss is widely distributed over a range, overall livestock numbers should probably be reduced and a rigid system of deferment and rotation should be set up and followed. When infestation is only local in swales or other restricted areas, the problem may be one of animal distribution.