Close your eyes and imagine a misty morning; an eerie heavy fog covering the land, and then slowly that landscape begins to change. As the fog slowly drifts away and the gold, purple, red and orange hues of the sunrise stretch out across the prairie the world comes to life. Pastures of grasses, flowers, and shrubs breathe in the new day as cattle graze, birds sing, and horses frolic in the new light of day. As the sun begins its ascent the eerie grey landscape becomes one of bright greens, yellows, pinks, and organes as the rays caress the grasses, flowers, and shrubs to life.
If you have ever traversed the plains or rolling hills of Texas you might have experienced the change of the landscape as described above. And so with that image in mind, we will be presenting a grass, flower, or shurb (catching up on these first two posts) that you might see on the landscapes of Texas. In appreciation of Texas Native Plant Weed we will be presenting a favorite of one of the staffs each day this week. And what better way to kick off Texas Native Plant Week than with the Lone Star’s State Grass: Sideoats Grama.
Did you know Sideoats Grama is a great bunchgrass that is adapted to most soil types? It is also one of the most important grasses on rangelands; producing more forage than smaller bunchgrasses like Blue Grama. Sideoats Grama is also one fo the easier plants to identify because fo the unique growth structure of the seed. The plant derived its name from the alignment of the seeds along one side of the stalk.
The President of Bamert Seed Company: Nick Bamert gave these reasons why Sideoats Grama is his favorite.
The adaptability of this grass is amazing, not only is it adapted to climates from Canada to the Gulf Coast and the East Coast, but it also has the ability to adapt to a wide range of soil types.
Because of the adaptibility of this grass it makes it a key player of grasses for quick establishment and erosion control.
Sideoats Grama is also a great grass to consider when grazing for wildlife enhancements. It is a good forage producer that is palatable to all types of livestock and is a great nesting site for wildlife.
It’s not just those characteristics that make it Nick’s favorite but also its history. Early explorers such as Corondao wrote about a grass that was “belly deep to a horse” and that grass was Sideoats Grama.
The native plants that make up our prairies, pastures, and landscapes can definitely inspire words, pictures, romance, and awe. Eliza Steele said it best “A world of grass and flowers stretched around me, rising and falling in gentle undulations, as if an enchanter had struck the ocean swell, and it was at rest forever…” (Summer Journey in the West, 1840)