Agropyron cristatum

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Agropyron cristatum
Agropyroncristatum.jpg
Nonnative A. cristatum established in Montana, USA
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Agropyron
Species: A. cristatum
Binomial name
Agropyron cristatum
(L.) Gaertn.

Agropyron cristatum (crested wheat grass, crested wheatgrass, fairway crested wheat grass) is a species in the Poaceae family. This plant is often used as forage and erosion control. It is well known as a widespread introduced species on the prairies of the United States and Canada.

History[edit]

Agropyron cristatum is one of several closely related grass species referred to as Crested Wheatgrass. It is unable to hybridize with its similar relatives, as it is a diploid species, whereas its closest relative, A. desortum, is a tetraploidal species.[1] It was introduced from Russia and Siberia to North America in the first half of the twentieth century, and widely used to reseed abandoned marginal cropland undergoing varying degrees of soil erosion and secondary succession.[2] A. cristatum is very long lived, with stands often remaining productive for 30 years or more.[3]

Description[edit]

A. cristatum is a densely tufted grass, with culms ranging from 30–50 cm high at maturity. Its sheaths are scabrous or the lowest ones pubescent. Its blades are up to 8 mm wide, and scabrous to pubescent above. Its spikes are flat and range from 2–7 cm long., with spikelets ranging from 8–15 mm long, being 3-5-flowered, densely crowded, and spreading to ascending. Its glumes are 4–6 mm long, awn-tipped, and its lemmas are 6–8 mm long and either awnless or awn-tipped.[4]

Habitat[edit]

A. cristatum is best adapted to dry rangeland conditions and is most frequently found in such circumstances. It prefers from 23 to 38 cm of precipitation per year,[5] but can tolerate more moisture on favourable sites, extending its range into tundra and taiga conditions.,[6] and elevations up to 2000m above sea level in the southern portions of its adapted area.[7] It prefers well drained, deep, loamy soils[8] of medium and moderately course texture, including Chernozemic, Solonetzic, Regosolic,[9] Brunisolic and Luvisolic soils.[10] A. cristatum can tolerate salinity in the range of 5 to 15 mS/cm[11] and prefers moderately alkaline conditions.[9] It has low to medium fertility requirements.[12] It will not tolerate prolonged flooding.[1]

A. cristatum is the most shade-tolerant of the Crested Wheatgrasses, but does best in open conditions.[10] A. cristatum is extremely drought tolerant.[13] It achieves this drought tolerance by starting growth very early in the season, then going dormant from seed set until fall when it will exhibit vegetative regrowth if moisture is sufficient.[2]

A. cristatum is very tolerant of grazing,[7] although under dry conditions new stands should be protected from grazing for at least two years as the seedling are slow to develop. A. cristatum can be damaged by several fungi, including leaf and stripe rusts,[9] snow mold[14] and some arthropods including black grass bugs (Labops sp.) in pure plantings.

Uses[edit]

A. cristatum has been bred into many cultivars selected for attributes ranging from forage yield to drought tolerance to turf types that will exhibit more pronounced degrees of rhizomatous growth habit.[9] It has been, and continues to be, widely used in both agricultural and industrial reclamation activities.[9]

It is an easy grass to establish by seed, having both high germination rates and high seedling vigour.[15] It also establishes rapidly relative to many other grasses.[9] Under non-irrigated conditions in low precipitation areas, Crested Wheatgrasses are consistently some of, if not the, highest yielding and persistent of domestic forage grasses. However, A. cristatum is lower yielding, although it is slightly more palatable, relative to other Crested Wheatgrasses.[6]

A. cristatum is a highly competitive and persistent plant in drier areas, and has a moderate ability to spread by seed. As such, its use in and adjacent to remaining natural grassland communities within its adapted areas in outside its native Eurasian distribution has come under criticism as a factor in natural grassland biodiversity loss, although the subject is still being studied.[16]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Hanson, A.A. 1972. Grass varieties in the United States. USDA Agricultural Handbook No.170
  2. ^ a b Rosiere, R.E. Publication year unknown. Introduced Forages. Tarleton State University, Stephenville, Texas. Retrieved 14 November 2011 from http://www.tarleton.edu/Departments/range/Grasslands/Introduced%20Forages/introducedforages.htm
  3. ^ McLean, A., and A.L. van Ryswyk. 1973. Mortality in crested wheatgrass and Russian wildrye. J. Range Manage. 26(6): 431-433.
  4. ^ Agriculture Canada- Agri-Food Canada. 2001. Grass key bio 164., Lethbridge, Alberta: Lethbridge Community College. 85 p.
  5. ^ USDA, Soil Conservation Service. 1979. Plant materials for use on surface mined lands in western United States. Denver, Colo.
  6. ^ a b Moss, E.H. 1983. Flora of Alberta (2nd edition). University of Toronto Press. Toronto, Ont
  7. ^ a b Plummer, A.P., D.R. Christenson, and S.B. Monsen. 1968. Restoring big-game range in Utah. Utah Division of Fish and Game. Publication No. 68-3.
  8. ^ Granite Seed. 1989. 1989-90 wholesale seed catalog. Granite Seed, Lehi, Utah. 32 pp.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Hafenrichter, A.L., J.L. Schwendiman, H.L. Harris, R.S. MacLauchlan, and H.W. Miller. 1968. Grasses and legumes for soil conservation in the Pacific northwest and great basin states. USDA Soil Conservation Service, Agriculture Handbook No. 339.
  10. ^ a b Elliott, C.R., and M.E. Hiltz. 1974. Forage introductions. Northern research Group, Canada Agriculture Research Branch, Publication No. NRG 74-16.
  11. ^ Laidlaw, T.F. 1977. The Camrose-Ryley project proposal (1975): a preliminary assessment of the surface reclamation potential on the Dodds-Roundhill coal field. Staff Report, Environment Conservation Authority. Edmonton, AB.
  12. ^ Buckerfield’s Ltd. 1980. Seeds for revegetating disturbed land: descriptive manual. Buckerfield’s Seed Division. Vancouver, B.C.
  13. ^ Plummer, A.P., A.C. Hull, Jr., G. Stewart, and J.H. Robertson. 1955. Seeding rangelands in Utah, Nevada, southern Idaho and western Wyoming. USDA Forest Service, Agriculture Handbook No. 71.
  14. ^ Bleak, A.T., and W. Keller. 1973. Differential tolerance of some arid-range wheatgrasses to snow mold. J. Range. Manage. 2696): 434-435.
  15. ^ Plummer, A.P. 1977. Revegetation of disturbed intermountain area sites. Pages 302-339 IN: J.L. Thomas, ed. Reclamation and use of disturbed land in the southwest. The University of Arizona Press. Tucson, Ariz.
  16. ^ Henderson, D.C., Naeth, A.M.. 2010. Multi-scale impacts of crested wheatgrass invasion in mixed grass prairie. Biological Invasions 7(4):639-650. Retrieved 14 November 2011 from JSTOR database.

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  • Agriculture Canada- Agri-Food Canada. 2001. Grass key bio 164., Lethbridge, Alerta: Lethbridge Community College. 85 p.
  • Bleak, A.T., and W. Keller. 1973. Differential tolerance of some arid-range wheatgrasses to snow mold. J. Range. Manage. 2696): 434-435.
  • Buckerfield’s Ltd. 1980. Seeds for revegetating disturbed land: descriptive manual. Buckerfield’s Seed Division. Vancouver, B.C.
  • Elliott, C.R., and M.E. Hiltz. 1974. Forage introductions. Northern research Group, Canada Agriculture Research Branch, Publication No. NRG 74-16.
  • Granite Seed. 1989. 1989-90 wholesale seed catalog. Granite Seed, Lehi, Utah. 32 pp.
  • Hafenrichter, A.L., J.L. Schwendiman, H.L. Harris, R.S. MacLauchlan, and H.W. Miller. 1968. Grasses and legumes for soil conservation in the Pacific northwest and great basin states. USDA Soil Conservation Service, Agriculture Handbook No. 339.
  • Hanson, A.A. 1972. Grass varieties in the United States. USDA Agricultural Handbook No.170
  • Henderson, D.C., Naeth, A.M.. 2010. Multi-scale impacts of crested wheatgrass invasion in mixed grass prairie. Biological Invasions 7(4):639-650. Retrieved 14 November 2011 from JSTOR database.
  • Laidlaw, T.F. 1977. The Camrose-Ryley project proposal (1975): a preliminary assessment of the surface reclamation potential on the Dodds-Roundhill coal field. Staff Report, Environment Conservation Authority. Edmonton, AB.
  • McLean, A., and A.L. van Ryswyk. 1973. Mortality in crested wheatgrass and Russian wildrye. J. Range Manage. 26(6): 431-433.
  • Moss, E.H. 1983. Flora of Alberta (2nd edition). University of Toronto Press. Toronto, Ont.
  • Plummer, A.P., A.C. Hull, Jr., G. Stewart, and J.H. Robertson. 1955. Seeding rangelands in Utah, Nevada, southern Idaho and western Wyoming. USDA Forest Service, Agriculture Handbook No. 71.
  • Plummer, A.P., D.R. Christenson, and S.B. Monsen. 1968. Restoring big-game range in Utah. Utah Division of Fish and Game. Publication No. 68-3.
  • Plummer, A.P. 1977. Revegetation of disturbed intermountain area sites. Pages 302-339 IN: J.L. Thomas, ed. Reclamation and use of disturbed land in the southwest. The University of Arizona Press. Tucson, Ariz.
  • Rosiere, R.E. Publication year unknown. Introduced Forages. Tarleton State University, Stephenville, Texas. Retrieved 14 November 2011 from http://www.tarleton.edu/Departments/range/Grasslands/Introduced%20Forages/introducedforages.htm
  • USDA, Soil Conservation Service. 1979. Plant materials for use on surface mined lands in western United States. Denver, Colo.