Koeleria macrantha

From Puget Prairie Plants

Common name: Prairie junegrass,Prairie Koeler's grass, Mountain junegrass, Junegrass, Crested hairgrass

Koeleria cristata3 copy.jpg

Abbreviation code (Codon): KOMA

Taxonomy

Description

Prairie junegrass is a native, perennial, cool season tufted bunchgrass found on rangelands, plains and open forestlands. It is commonly 0.5-2 feet tall. The narrow leaves form small basal clusters from which arise several seedheads.

Leaves are basal, flat to in-rolled and sharply pointed. The seedheads are narrow contracted panicles and have the appearance of dense spikes, one per stem. The spikelets are normally pale green to purplish in color. Fine hairs are found on the reproductive stem just below the seedhead.

The glumes are sharp and shiny. This is one of the first grasses to green-up in the early spring. Prairie junegrass is a perennial grass of medium longevity found in a wide variety of native plant communities.

Bloom Period

May - June

Distribution

The range of prairie junegrass extends from Ontario to British Columbia, south to Delaware, California and Mexico.

Habitat

Dry, sandy prairies; open woods; rocky slopes Dry, well-drained soils such as silts to loams to sandy loams

Prefers 6.5- 8.0 pH soils, no salinity tolerance High water use – drought tolerant Sun – shade tolerant Prairie Junegrass acts as a seral recolonizer of previously water-stressed areas and played a leading role in recolonizing bare soil of mid-continental grasslands after the droughts of 1933 to 1940

Uses

Prairie junegrass is used as a component of native seed mixtures in revegetation of mined lands, heavy use areas and other surface disturbed lands. Medium palatable for browsing animals and high palatability for grazing animals. Prairie junegrass is considered a fair to good forage for elk throughout the year and is desirable forage for deer and antelope in the spring and early summer.

Propagation

Prairie junegrass is not recommended for fall or dormant fall seedings. It does best when seeded in the spring. Young plants are subject to thinning by frost heaving and soil cracking during winter and very early spring. The full monoculture seeding rate for drill application is 1 PLS pound per acre. Use the appropriate percentage of this rate when planting native seed mixtures. The seed should be planted into a clean, weed-free, firm seedbed at soil surface to 1/8-inch depth because seed requires light to achieve maximum germination.

References

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