Thickspike wheatgrass

(Elymus lanceolatus (Scribn. & J.G. Sm.) Gould)




Synonyms
Agropyron dasystachyum (Hook.) Scrib.; Agropyron lanceolatum Scribn. & J.G. Sm.
Description
Thickspike wheatgrass is a rhizomatous, grass with culms from a foot to 2 tall. Its blades are narrow and either inrolled or flat. The spikes are 3 to 5 inches long with one spikelet per node, usually not closely overlapping. Each has four to seven fl orets and can be nearly round to somewhat flattened.
Distribution and habitat
Thickspike wheatgrass grows in sandy to heavy soils on sagebrush deserts and foothill woodlands. It flowers from June to August.
General information
The palatability of thickspike wheatgrass for cattle is good in the summer and fair in the winter, for sheep and horses fair. Compared to other grasses, thickspike wheatgrass is rated good in energy value and fair in protein value. Due to its drought tolerance and ability to form a dense sod, thickspike wheatgrass and cultivars of it are widely used for soil stabilization on disturbed range sites and dry areas subject to erosion. In the sandy soil where thickspike wheatgrass usually grows, trampling d amage is often as serious as overgrazing. Livestock should be managed to prevent overuse and subsequent wind erosion problems.