South Dakota Native Plant Research
Poaceae : Bouteloua curtipendula

Poaceae : Bouteloua curtipendula


Download Seed: The grain from sideoats grama. (78 KB)

Download Seedling: Seedling of sideoats grama grown in research greenhouse at SDSU. (626 KB)

Download Mature plant (823 KB)

Download Vegetative: The leaves flatten as they mature. (697 KB)

Download Flowering: The inflorescence is made up of spikes that are 1-sided. (602 KB)

Download Fruiting: Side oats grama produces fruit in mid to late summer. (723 KB)

Family Name


Common Name

Sideoats grama


Bouteloua curtipendula is a rhizomatous perennial, warm season bunchgrass, with solid, erect culms arising in clumps. The leaf blades are rolled in the bud, but flat at maturity, 2-30 cm long and 2-6 mm wide. The upper surface is rough to the touch and often has hairs, especially along the margins. The lower surface is smooth. The ligule is fringed to eroded in appearance and less than 1 mm long. The inflorescence consist of 20-45 branches, 5-14 mm long, each with 3-8 spikelets, along the top 15 to 25 cm of the culm. The spikes often fall to one side of the stem, which gives the plant its name. Each spikelet is 4.5 to 10 mm long, with 2 glumes (bracts) and 2 florets, 1 sterile and 1 fertile with orange to brownish red anthers and a feathery 2 white stigmas. The fruit is a 1-seeded grain. Sideoats grama blooms from Jun into August on open grasslands and in woodland openings throughout South Dakota.

Additional Notes

Sideoats gramma is an attractive bunchgrass to add to any native plant garden. The flowers are colorful for a grass and the one sided appearance of the fruits give it a unique appearance. The fruits attract birds and the leaves attract butterflies.

Horticulture Notes

Seed Collection: Collect seed in mid to late summer.

Germination: No pretreatment needed.

Soils: Fine textured to rocky well drained soils.

Light: Full sun to partial shade.

Water: Dry to medium dry conditions.

Poaceae : Bouteloua curtipendula