Galleta

(Pleuraphis jamesii Torr.)




Synonyms
Hilaria jamesii (Torr.) Benth.
Description
Galleta is a coarse native sodgrass, usually 1 to 2 feet tall, with a bunchy habit of growth. It is dull blue-green, curing to a light straw yellow with leaves that are stiff, straight, 1 to 2 inches long, and with edges usually inrolled. The culm nod es are often hairy. The galleta inflorescence is a terminal spike up to 3 inches long, with three chaffy spikelet clusters at each node. The glumes are broad and conspicuous, those of the lateral spikelets usually narrowing from the middle (as distinct fr om tobosa where the glumes are fan-shaped at the apex). The spikelet clusters drop at maturity, leaving the zigzag rachis.
Distribution and habitat
Galleta is abundant at elevations from 4,500 to 7,000 feet on dry, sandy plateaus and broad, open valleys or uplands. In some areas it is the dominant grass. Galleta flowers May to October.
General information
While growing galleta is moderately palatable, good to excellent feed for cattle and horses and fair for sheep. Galleta also provides usable forage after winter curing. Sheep show greater use in winter than summer months and typically feed upon centra l portions of galleta tufts, leaving coarser growth around the edges. Greater use of galleta occurs in areas where more palatable species are not as abundant. Continuous grazing to stubble heights of less than 4 inches will eventually remove galleta. It r equires periods of rest to maintain coverage. Galleta possesses several desirable characteristics for restoration of arid lands. Galleta is a good surface stabilizer, providing excellent surface erosion control even within areas receiving only 7 inches an nual precipitation. Once established, galleta is extremely drought tolerant requiring little maintenance.