Pseudoroegneria spicata

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Bluebunch wheatgrass
Pseudoroegneria spicata 01.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Pseudoroegneria
Species: P. spicata
Binomial name
Pseudoroegneria spicata
(Pursh) Á.Löve 1980

Pseudoroegneria spicata is a species of grass known by the common name bluebunch wheatgrass.[2] This native western North American perennial bunchgrass is known by the scientific synonyms Elymus spicatus and Agropyron spicatum. The grass can be found in the United States, Canada, and Mexico from Alaska and Yukon south as far as Sonora and Nuevo León.[3][4][5] It is the dominant species of grass among the mountainous regions of the western United States, occurring at elevations that range from 150-3,000 m and where precipitation is 250–500 mm.[6] It occurs in many types of habitat, including sagebrush, forests, woodlands, and grasslands. It is a dominant grass in some habitat types.


Bluebunch wheatgrass can often be distinguished from other bunchgrasses by the awns on its seedheads which stand out at an angle nearly 90 degrees from the stem. It is often bluish. The roots of the grass have a waxy layer that helps it resist desiccation in dry soils.[3] In areas with more moisture the grass may produce rhizomes.[3]


It is an important forage grass for both livestock and native wildlife in western North America.[3] It is widely used for revegetation of degraded habitat in the region, and cultivars have been developed.[7]

State grass[edit]

It is the state grass of Montana, Washington, and Iowa.

The grass is easily outcompeted by noxious weeds such as diffuse knapweed (Centaurea diffusa) and medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae).[3]


  1. ^ The Plant List, Elymus spicatus (Pursh) Gould
  2. ^ "Pseudoroegneria spicata". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 15 October 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e US Forest Service Fire Ecology
  4. ^ Biota of North America Program 2014 state-level distribution map
  5. ^ SEINet, Southwestern Biodiversity, Arizona chapter photos, description, distribution map
  6. ^ St. Clair, John B.; Kilkenny, Francis F.; Johnson, Richard C.; Shaw, Nancy L.; Weaver, George (June 6, 2013). "Genetic variation in adaptive traits and seed transfer zones for Pseudoroegneria spicata (bluebunch wheatgrass) in the northwestern United States". Evolutionary Applications 6 (6): 933–948. 
  7. ^ Larson, S. R., et al. (2004). Population structure in Pseudoroegneria spicata (Poaceae: Triticeae) modeled by Bayesian clustering of AFLP genotypes. American Journal of Botany 91 1791-1801.

External links[edit]