Spike dropseed

(Sporobolus contractus Hitchc.)

Spike dropseed is a native perennial without rhizomes. The culms are up to four feet tall, tufted, erect or spreading and sparingly branched. The leaf blades are up to 11 inches long, but the upper ones are short and no more than 3/16 inch wide, mostl y flat, and slightly rough on the upper surface. The upper sheaths are densely hairy at the throat and collar. The old blades and sheaths persist on the plant, becoming papery and winding up in a cork-screw fashion. Spike dropseedís contracted panicle is sometimes entirely enclosed in the sheath. Dropseeds' spikelets are single-flowered on pedicels usually less than half their length and awnless. The dropseeds disarticulate above the glumes with the grain free from the lemma and palea; hence the name drop seed.
Spike dropseed is found on dry mesas and sandy or rocky slopes and in washes at 2,500 to 6,500 feet. It flowers from June to September..
Distribution and habitat
In general the forage value of the dropseeds is good to fair for cattle and horses when green and growing. These grasses cure well but are less palatable when dry. Dropseeds will increase under moderate grazing and decrease under heavy grazing. Modera te grazing in fall and winter can increase stand density. The dropseeds are useful in range reseeding on dry sandy soils where more productive grass species are not adaptable. Neither species is very resistant to drought.
General information