June 13, 2007 – Native Grass – “Needlegrass”

It must be time for some roadside botany!  The weather has turned hot and sultry.  Just a few steps down the road from our driveway a native grass is nearing the end of its seasonal lifecycle.  Needlegrass is a very ingenious native plant with a great seed planting strategy.

In this picture, the mature needlegrass is the grass that has turned brown and silvery. It’s a cool-season grass which means it matures early in the season.

Here’s a picture of one of the seedheads.  You’ll notice the sharp point on one side and the braided stem alternating dark and light bands.  When the seed falls off the plant, it lands point side down, then as it dries out, the dark and light bands wrap around each other and “drill” the seed into the ground as the light and dark bands dry at different rates in the sun.

one year ago…