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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Alkali Sacaton - Sporobolus airoides

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4

Agency Status
USFWS:
USFS:
BLM:
MNPS Threat Rank:
C-value: 4

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General Description
Perennial, often forming broad tussocks. Stems 40–80 cm. Leaves: blades 2–4 mm wide; throat with long hairs. Inflorescence a diffuse panicle 10–40 cm long, not much enclosed in leaf sheath. Spikelets 2–2.5 mm long. Lemmas 1.5–2.5 mm long (Lavin in Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Alkali Dropseed - Sporobolus airoides
*Habit: Perennial.
*Panicle: Diffuse, greater than 4 centimeters long, and about as long as wide and usually fully exerted from the leaf sheath.
*Stem: Base is decumbent.
*Spikelets: 2-2.5 mm long.

Sand Dropseed - Sporobolus cryptandrus
*Habit: Perennial.
*Panicle: Contracted (appressed), greater than 4 centimeters long, and much longer than wide and enclosed in an arcuate leaf sheath.
*Stem: Base is erect.
*Spikelets: 2.5 mm or shorter. Both glumes are not as long or longer than the lemma.

Small Dropseed - Sporobolus neglectus, SOC
*Habit: Annual.
*Panicle: Contracted (narrow), less than 4 cm long, and usually partially enclosed by the leaf sheath.
*Spikelets: 2-3 mm long.

Tall Dropseed - Sporobolus compositus, SOC
*Habit: Perennial.
*Panicle: Contracted (appressed), but much longer than wide and usually partially enclosed in the leaf sheath.
*Stem: Base is erect.
*Spikelets: 3 mm or more long. Both glumes are not as long or longer than the lemma.

Prairie Dropseed - Sporobolus heterolepis, not documented in Montana
*Habit: Perennial.
*Panicle: Open, greater than 4 centimeters long, and much longer than wide and usually entirely exerted from the leaf sheath.
*Spikelets: At least one of the glumes is as long or longer than the lemma.

Species Range
Montana Range

Year-round
 


Range Comments
Throughout much of central and western North America (Lavin in Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 120

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density

Recency

 

(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)



Habitat
On moderately alkaline soils and moderately disturbed open dry vegetation, including road and trailsides (Lavin in Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

References
  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2003. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 25. Magnoliophyta: Commelinidae (in part): Poaceae, part 2. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. xxv + 781 pp.
    • Fogelsong, M.L. 1974. Effects of fluorides on Peromyscus maniculatus in Glacier National Park. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 52 p.
    • Quire, R.L. 2013. The sagebrush steppe of Montana and southeastern Idaho shows evidence of high native plant diversity, stability, and resistance to the detrimental effects of nonnative plant species. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 124 p.
    • Seipel, T.F. 2006. Plant species diversity in the sagebrush steppe of Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 87 p.
  • Web Search Engines for Articles on "Alkali Sacaton"
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Citation for data on this website:
Alkali Sacaton — Sporobolus airoides.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from