Selected Plants of Navajo Rangelands

Take care of our Navajo Rangelands

Dropseed, pine
(a.k.a. hairy dropseed)

Herbarium specimen showing bunch habit of this grass, as well as the delicately seeded panicles

Pine dropseed is a slender, erect, densely tufted bunchgrass growing 10 to 13 inches tall, with basal leaves and fibrous roots. It reproduces from seeds and tillers. It starts growth in late June or early July, completes growth in September, and generally comprises only a small portion of the vegetation.

The panicle-type inflorescence is 2 to 9 inches long, and can be open or contracted. Spikelets are small, containing one floret with a distinctive greenish-gray color, and with silky hairs. Pine dropseed is usually found in open parks and meadows in the subalpine zone and in the open timber of the ponderosa pine and piñon-juniper types.

The palatability and quality of young pine dropseed plants is very good for all classes of livestock. The quality rapidly declines with maturity. The stems are neglected or only slightly grazed after maturing. It is generally one of the highest quality grasses in timbered areas. A healthy pine dropseed community in areas where it is native is an indicator of rangeland in good condition.

*Description courtesy of Utah State University's Range Plants of Utah.

Herbarium specimen showing panicles with their delicate, loose spikelets and seeds
Herbarium specimen showing slightly different panicle shape, which is less spreading but still feathery

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