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Plants That Grow in Temperate Grasslands

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Grasslands in general are lands which have grasses, rather than trees or large shrubs, as the dominant vegetation. There are two types of grasslands, the savanna and the temperate grasslands. The temperate grasslands are further subdivided into prairies and steppes. The prairies have tall grasses while the grasses in the steppe grassland are short. tHere are certain plants that thrive in the temprate grassland.  The soil in the temperate grassland is fertile and filled with nutrient from the growth and decay from the rotted roots of different grass. This soil supports plants like buffalo grass, purple needle grass, galleta and blue grama. .

 Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides)

Buffalo grass is a perennial shortgrass which grows to between two and five inches and has a spread of between six and twelve feet. The leaves of the buffalo grass are curly. The buffalo plant is drought resistant. The buffalo plant is hardy enough to withstand heat and cold. In seasons of drought, the leaves turn brown and the plant goes into dormancy. Buffalo grass have both female and male plants, the female seed of the buffalo grass plant grow in groups of up to five spikelets. The male flowers grow to a length of about two inches above the leaf blades. The method of propagation for the buffalo grass is through the means of burrs on the seeds which cling to people and animals as they pass by; however, the seeds don't cling for long and fall off close to the parent plants. Buffalo grasses have an extensive root system which can reach up to five feet below ground.

 Galleta (Pleuraphis jamesii)

The galleta is a rhizomatous perennial found in temperate grasslands. They have rhizomes which can reach up to 5 to 6 feet in length while the roots are normally located in the upper soil profile. The galletta reproduces through seed and from new growth sprouting from the buds on rhizomes. Due to its tough rhizome, the galleta is pretty resistant to fire which only affects the top portions of the plant. This means that the galleta is able to restore itself back to its pre-burn position in less than two years. This quality is useful for the restoration of arid lands. Galleta provides good forage to cattle and horses when it is in its active growing period. It is also a source of cover for small mammals. Galleta serves as a good surface stabilizer by providing surface erosion control.

 Blue Grama (Bouteloua gracilis)

The blue grama is a perennial shortgrass that is very common in the prairie of the central and southern Great Plains. The blue grama has a green to greyish color and reproduces primarily from the seed. The seeds can either be dispersed by the wind or by insect, bird and mammal agents. The blue grama is resistant to cold and drought and is an excellent source of forage for livestock.


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