Sonoran Desert Naturalist >>> Field Guide >>> Sonoran Desert Flora >>> Poaceae >>> Sporobolus airoides


Sporobolus airoides

Alkali Sacaton, Sporobolus airoides, photo of witch grass © by Michael Plagens

Observed near the shore of Kearny Lake, Pinal Co., Arizona, USA. June 2010. Notice the salt-encrusted soil.

RANGE: In the Sonoran Desert this grass will not be growing close by saguaros because it does best in occassionally damp, saline soils, conditions that saguaros cannot tolerate. Widely distributed in western North America.

PERENNIAL: A tough grass growing in clumped bunches reaching a 1 meter or more tall.

INFLORESCENCE: Numerous, small spikelets are dispersed in a panicle that may be widely open or rather tight. Each spikelet holds one floret.

LEAVES: Blades are narrow, usu. less than 2mm. and up to 40 cm long.

FRUIT: The small grains (< 1 mm) dislodge readily from the spikelets and chaff when mature. Thus another common name, dropseed.


Poaceae -- Grass Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 02 June 2012