Blue grama grass is a native perennial grass that grows over two feet (.6 m) tall. It can be recognized by its bunchgrass characteristic and curly leaves.
Blue grama is a warm-season species that is one of the most dominant shortgrass prairie grasses in North America from Southern Canada to central Mexico. It also occurs in the Great Basin and southern California. In Oklahoma, it is more common in the western two-thirds of the state. Blue grama occurs in more dry, open sites with shallow soils the further east it grows.
Blue grama can grow in a variety of soil types. It decreases with soil disturbance. Plants begin growth in early spring and flower in July. During hot, dry periods the plants are dormant.
Blue grama is adapted to fire and grazing. It is capable of withstanding heavy grazing by livestock and provides high quality forage when green. It is a preferred species for bison and small mammals, and is occasionally eaten by mule deer, white-tailed deer and pronghorn antelope. Songbirds, game birds and small mammals consume the caryopses*.
*Caryopses: in grasses, one-seeded fruit. Synonym is grain.