Western Wheatgrass

Agropyron smithii



Stems grow from gray, slender, creeping rhizomes. Stems and leaves are blue-green. The plant is often covered with a white coating which adds a silver color to the leaves and stems. Leaves are straight, broad, rough, and roll inward at maturity. The flat seed head is usually awnless. Glumes are asymmetrical. Its dense, narrow spikes occur at the top of the stout culms and range from 3 to 6 inches or 7.6 to 15 cm long. Western Wheatgrass is a perennial, cool-season, native ranging from 12 to 24 inches or 0.3 to 0.6 m tall. Good grazing for livestock. Fair grazing for wildlife. It is widely used for erosion control.


Western Wheatgrass is commonly found in western North America in low-lying areas, especially those with seasonal poor drainage. During times with high moisture, this species can become competitive with other neighboring grass and forb species. Native habitat includes hillsides, bottomlands, canyons, open woods, prairies, and scrublands. Soils include moist, alkaline clay, loam, and sand.