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Many foraging insects rely on grass vegetation to winter-over, not to mention grasses aid in erosion control.
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Blue Wild Rye

(Elymus glaucus)

A large perennial bunchgrass grows very tall (up to 5') with an upright habit. The leaf color changes from green to blue-green. Plants will go dormant after frost. Tolerant of a wide range of soils and temperatures. Blue Wild Rye prefers moisture but will tolerate drought well. Flowering begins in late spring to early summer with seed maturing six to nine weeks later. Provides excellent wildlife habitat for mammals, birds & waterfowl. Grows up to 11,000' elevation.

'In revegetation planting, Blue Wild Rye should be grown with other grasses not to exceed 50%.' USDA NRCS Plant Material Center 

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California Brome

(Bromus carinatus)

A cool season annual, biennial or short-lived perennial bunchgrass valued for its rapid and easy establishment. Widely used for revegetation and rehabilitation. Use as a native competitor to aid in the reduction of exotic weeds. Provides good cover for wildlife and the seed produced is consumed by small mammals and game birds. Adaptable to moderately moist or dry soils in full sun to some shade. Grows up to 9,500' elevation.

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California Oatgrass

(Danthonia californica)

A long-lived perennial bunchgrass growing to 1' to 3' tall with basal foliage as well as leaves on the stems. Seed is produced along stems and the terminal panicle. 

Valuable for enhancing biodiversity by lending space to broadleaf plants and improving habitat for feeding, nesting, and hiding by songbirds.The foliage is eaten by certain caterpillars and the grains are eaten by birds and mammals. Found in summer dry areas in full sun. Tolerant of any soils. Grows up to 7,200' elevation.

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Lemmon's Needlegrass

(Stipa lemmonii)

Medium to long-lived perennial bunchgrass growing to .5' to 2.5' tall with an upright spreading habit. The purplish flower heads are spike-like and narrow. The large seeds are an important food for birds and small mammals. The plant develops a deep fibrous root system and is very drought tolerant.  Grows up to 7,500' elevation.

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Meadow Barley

(Hordeum brachyantherum)

Short to medium-lived, cool season, perennial bunchgrass. Variable in height, growing to 1.5' to 3.5' tall with an upright slightly open habit. Can stay green all summer if moisture is present and can produce a second flush of seed heads later in summer. Commonly found in sporadically moist meadows and clearings but is moderately drought tolerant. Prefers full sun. Grows up to 11,000' elevation.

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Purple Needlegrass

(Stipa pulchra)

The state grass of California. A long-lived perennial bunchgrass with upright, open habit to 2' to 3' tall. Highly valued for restoration and erosion control. Plants go dormant after seed production but will begin growth in fall, even without precipitation. Purple needlegrass does not compete well with annual grass or broadleaf weeds during its slow establishment. Tolerant of extreme summer heat and drought. Full sun. Grows up to 4,300' elevation.

Native Grasses
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