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Plant Profile  
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Common Name: Buffalograss

Species Name: Bouteloua dactyloides, formerly Buchloe dactyloides

Plant Type: Grasses & Grass-like

Family Name: Poaceae, Grass Family

Tribe: Cynodonteae, Gramagrass Tribe





Plant Facts  
Origin Native
Duration Perennial
Season Warm
Distribution in the U.S. From Montana and the Dakotas southward into Mexico and Central America
Distribution in Oklahoma Western two-thirds and dry sites in the eastern half



ID Characteristics

  • Field Identification Characteristics


    • Very short, less than 6 inches tall
    • Stolons naked and wiry
    • Gray-green foliage
    • Leaves usually have hair on top and bottom surface


    • Separate male and female plants (dioecious)
    • Male has seed heads sticking up like flags, 1-3 branches per stem
    • Female has small burs hidden within blades
  • Leaf and Stem Characteristics
    • Plant Height: 3-25 centimeters
    • Ligule Type: Ciliate
    • Sheath: Glabrous
    • Leaves: Cauline
  • Floral Characteristics
    • Inflorescence Type: Spike (male); bur (female)
    • Florets Per Spikelet: 2
    • Glumes: Unequal



Soil Type Loamy-clay soils
Habitat Intermittently wet or dry soils
Successional Stage Mid to late



Grazing One of the most important forage grasses of the shortgrass and mixed-grass prairies. All classes of livestock graze it during all seasons. The foliage is nutritious and palatable when green, and nutritional quality does not decline much as it cures. Palatability is good for cattle, domestic sheep, and horses, but utilization may vary by region and year. Digestible protein among cattle, sheep, goats, and horses is between 2.7-2.9%. Highly resistant to grazing, usually increasing under heavy grazing, although response to grazing can vary by site. Buffalograss is highly drought resistant, although somewhat less than blue grama. Buffalograss seed is commercially available. Guidelines for seeding onto rangeland and establishing it from cut sod are available.
Wildlife Provides forage for many species of songbirds and snow geese. Pronghorn antelope, prairie dogs, bison and less frequently white-tailed deer may graze the plants as well. Larval food source for the green skipper butterfly.


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