Blue Grama (Bouteloua gracilis)

The Blue Grama (Bouteloua gracilis) is one of the more widespread species of grass in New Mexico occurring in all 33 counties.  This perennial grass is a warm season grass and is without doubt the most valuable forage grass in the state for cattle.  The plant usually grows up to 1 foot in height but can occasionally grow as high as four feet.  The seed stalks have two curling comb-like spikes that appear purple and is probably the reason for the name Blue Grama.  Sometimes called White Grama, it is neither blue nor white.

Native Americans used the seeds to make a flour for bread and Blackfoot Indians predicted the weather based on the number of branches grown during the current growing season.  This is a valuable plant for xeriscaping and provides a good alternative to thirsty lawns of non-native grasses.

The species grows from the lowest elevations up to 8,000 feet, rarely higher, in a variety of habitats including sandy and loamy soils, shallow sites, rocky slopes, bottomlands and mountain grasslands.