Sonoran Desert Grasses

Many, many species. Just a few shown for now ...

Wild Oat

Avena fatua


Panicum capillare

Tall annual grass of spring. Fairly common along washes at mid and higher elevations of the Sonoran Desert. Detailed Description

Annual grass late spring and summer in moister soils. Widely spaced spikelets on broad panicle. Detailed Description


Sporobolus airoides

Tobosa Grass

Pleuraphis mutica

Medium-sized, growing in tough clumps in seasonally flooded and partly saline soil. Detailed Description

Perennial grass regrowing with rains from tough rhizomes. Height about 1 m. Inflorescense a spike. Detailed Description

Foxtail Barley

Hordeum jubatum

Little Barley

Hordeum pusillum

Annual grass of spring growing mostly as a weed in urban and agricultural settings. Also at roadsides and along wetter washes. Common to abundant. Detailed Description

Smaller than foxtail barley and the awns of the spikes are considerably shorter. In Arizona a spring annual. Detailed Description

Canary Grass

Phalaris minor

Rabbitfoot Grass

Polypogon monspeliensis

Introduced annual growing mostly in agricultural and pasture settings. In Arizona a spring annual. Detailed Description

Attractive annual grass found mid to late spring in moist, riparian habitats. Showy plume-like spikes. Non-native. Detailed Description

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Buffel Grass

Pennisetum ciliare

Fountain Grass

Pennisetum setaceum

Perennial and highly invasive weed in the Sonoran Desert. Maroon colored spikes; can bloom almost anytime of year. Grows on rocky slopes and at roadsides and may appear shrubby. Detailed Description

Large perennial grass widely planted for its ornamental value in Sonoran Desert urban xeriscapes. Unfortunately it is not native and has begun invading natural desert areas as at roadsides and along major washes. Tall, purple-maroon spikes. Detailed Description

Johnson Grass

Sorghum halepense

Tufted Lovegrass
Desert Lovegrass

Eragrostis pectinacea

Large perennial grass forming thickets. Spikelets in pyramidal inflorescence are reddish when in flower. Weedy invasive growing along ditches and riparian streams. Detailed Description

Annual tufted grass with many small, compressed spikelets with 5 to 15 florets. Washes and roadsides. Detailed Description

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