Native Pasture Grasses and Forbs


HASKELL SIDEOATS GRAMA – A long-season native, rhizomatous sideoats selection that can be used for pasture and/or hay in range seeding mixtures for grazing, revegetation of reclaimed surface-mined lands and in areas where water conservation is a problem.  Plants are 2 to 2 ½ feet tall with green  to blue-green leaves, rhizomatous and provide good ground cover.  Seed harvest averages about one month later than the EL RENO variety.  HASKELL has proven to be best adapted to Central and South Texas or areas where rainfall averages 18 inches or greater.  There are about 579,000 seed per pound.  Seed at 5 to 5.5 pounds per acre (pls) in a pure stand.  Reduce rate according to percent of sideoats in planting mixture.

PREMIER SIDEOATS GRAMA – Premier is a native (North America), warm-season, perennial, semi-bunch type grass originally selected near Cauchtemoc and Chihuahua, Mexico.  This release is adapted to west central Texas where sideoats is an important range forage species.  On western range sites ‘Premier’ sideoats provides excellent grazing for cattle.  ‘Premier’ has considerable drought tolerance and forage production is equal to other recognized varieties.  This variety was released by TAES in cooperation with ARS and NRCS.

EARL BIG BLUESTEM – is a native, warm-season, perennial grass originating near Weatherford, Texas.  Earl was released in 1996 by NRCS.  Earl was selected for its moderate forage production and good seed production. Under proper range management, stands are persisting and remain highly productive.  Earl big bluestem is a quality grass species either planted as a single species or as part of a mixture of other native grasses, forbs, and legumes.  Earl out-performed the standard ‘Kaw’ at all planting locations in forage production, length of grazing period, and seed production.  Earl is adapted for use in range seeding, erosion control plantings, wildlife habitat plantings and plantings for water quality improvement.

ALAMO SWITCHGRASS – Alamo can be used in pure stands for pasture or in range seeding mixtures for warm season grazing or hay.  It is easily established on watershed structure berms to control erosion above the waterline and provides food and cover for wildlife species.  Plants are blue-green and usually slightly waxy.  They are taller than the Blackwell variety.  The stems are larger and the leaves are usually longer and wider.  Leaves are rarely hairy on top near the base.  Flowering occurs 1 to 2 months later than in Blackwell.  Seed are smooth and shiny, with about 426,000 per pound.  Alamo is adapted in Texas where rainfall is 25 inches or more per year.  Performance has been good on all kinds of soils from clays to fine sands, except where severe weed competition exists during establishment.  Two pounds per acre (pls) should be planted to obtain 20 seed per square foot.

LOMETA INDIANGRASS – Lometa is useful in range seeding mixtures or in pure stands for warm-season grazing or hay.  Lometa has proven to be better adapted, longer-lived, and more productive than other indiangrass varieties presently available in the state, especially in central and south Texas.  Lometa averages about 4 feet in height at maturity.  Long, narrow leaves are bluish-green and often slightly waxy.  Plants occur in large bunches joined by short, stout rhizomes.  The seed unit is 3 to 4 times as long as it is wide, and seed are light brown to straw colored and slightly fluffy.  There are approximately 168,400 seeds per pound.  Lometa should be planted broadcast at 5 pounds per acre (pls) to obtain 20 live seedlings per square foot.

AZTEC MAXIMILIAN SUNFLOWER – Aztec is useful for wildlife food and cover.  Several species of birds use the seed for food and the stemmy growth for cover.  Deer and livestock, especially sheep and goats, readily eat the forage.  Maximilian sunflower is a native perennial forb, 3 to 9 feet tall, with from one to several stems.  Leaves are alternate, lanceolate, and acuminate, 6 to 11 inches long.  Heads are terminal; flowers are yellow and showy in late summer.  The seed is a flattened achene, with about 302,000 seed per pound.  Aztec should be seeded at ¼ to1/2 pound per acre in range seeding mixtures while reestablishing range grasses.  Strips or blocks for wildlife use can be planted at 1 pound per acre broadcast, a rate of about 7 seeds per square foot.

ELDORADO ENGELMANNDAISY is a high quality forb, useful in range mixtures and readily grazed by several classes of livestock and deer.  Eldorado is very high in protein and digestibility, reaching as high as 25% crude protein in early spring.  A rough, hairy, perennial forb, Eldorado grows 1 to 3 feet tall and is topped by broad clusters of showy yellow flower heads about 1.5 inches across.  The ½ inch petals are indented at the tip.  The erect to spreading stems form a rounded crown.  Leaves are alternate and deeply cut, 3 to 6 inches long.  There are approximately 58,000 seed per pound.  Plant at 2 pounds (pls) seed in late summer or early fall to obtain 2-5 plants, 2-3 inches tall, per square yard.

PLATEAU AWNLESS BUSHSUNFLOWER –  Plateau is an important forage plant for sheep, goats, and deer, because of its protein content and digestibility.  Plateau is able to establish and persist under droughty conditions and has potential for inclusion in mixtures for reseeding surface-mined lands and critically eroded areas.  Plateau is an upright, multi-branched, spreading forb 1.5 to 3 feet tall, which is semi-woody in South Texas, with a large woody or fleshy taproot.  Leaves are opposite, somewhat triangular in shape with irregular, shallow lobes or coarse teeth and small leaf-like appendages at the base.  Flowers are composites, 1.5 to 2 inches across, with 15-20 yellow rays that are 5-toothed on the end, and yellowish centers.  There are approximately 330,000 seed per pound.  Plateau desires well drained, neutral to calcareous loam, sandy loam or clay loam sites in full sun.  Plateau does not tolerate heavy clays, wet or shady bottomlands, deep sands, or salinity.  Plateau should be seeded in early spring at .1-.2 pounds (pls) per acre in a range mix to obtain 2-3 plants per square yard.  It should not be seeded as a pure stand under range conditions.

SABINE ILLINOIS BUNDLEFLOWER – This plant is useful for range and pasture seeding mixtures, for wildlife food, and is an excellent legume for use in mixtures on reclaimed surface-mined areas.  Sabine is hardy from southern Texas to northern Oklahoma.  The selection is well adapted to most upland and bottomland soil types receiving 15 inches or greater natural rainfall.  Sabine averages about 3 to 4 feet in height at maturity.  Somewhat woody in the lower stems, it has feathery, dark green leaves.  Plants are upright, spreading, and occur singularly.  The seed pods are grouped into a round, dark brown bundle and the pods are 3 to 4 times as long as they are wide.  There are approximately 64,000 seed per pound.  Seed should be planted at 1.5 pounds (pls) per acre to obtain about 2 live seed per square foot in a range or pasture mixture.

COMANCHE PARTRIDGE PEA – Comanche is more widely adapted than ordinary partridge pea.  It grows well in all areas of Texas and Oklahoma receiving 19 or more inches of rainfall and has done well in locations in Kansas and Georgia.  Comanche favors sands and sandy loams.  Plants grow 1-4 feet tall and range from erect to prostrate with several branches often forming dense stands.  Flowers are bright yellow.  Seed pods are flattened and 8-10 times as long as wide.  The pods contain 10-20 dark brown flattened, partridge-shaped seeds.  There are approximately 65,000 seeds per pound.  Comanche should be seeded in the spring at 2 pounds (pls) per acre in range or pasture seeding mixtures to obtain 2-3 plants per square foot.  Strips or small blocks for wildlife use can be established by planting seed at 10 pounds (pls) per acre broadcast, or 3 pounds (pls) per acre in rows.

SALTALK ALKALI SACATON – is a native, perennial, warm-season bunchgrass originating near Sayre, Oklahoma.  The Soil Conservation Service, the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station, the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station and the Agricultural Research Service cooperatively released Saltalk in 1981.  Saltalk is a valuable soil stabilizer for vegetation of critical saline, saline-alkali, and alkaline soils in western Oklahoma and north Texas.  Because it is palatable to livestock, it is useful in rangeland seed mixtures on selected sites.

KLEINGRASS ‘SELECTION 75’ – is a perennial, warm-season bunchgrass from South Africa.  Selection 75 was cooperatively released in 1968 by the SCS and the TAES.  Forage produced is palatable and nutritious and is readily grazed by cattle.  The seed is eaten by many species of songbirds and quail.  Deer relish the young tender forage.  This release has also proven to have some degree of saline tolerance.