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Bouteloua dactyloides (Buffalo Grass or Buffalograss) is a species of grass in the Poaceae family. It is endemic to the high plains of the United States, where it is co-dominant with Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama) over most of the shortgrass prairie.
It is a warm-seasoned perennial shortgrass and is resistant to drought, heat, and cold. The foliage is usually 2-5 in (5-13 cm) high, though in the southern Great Plains the foliage may reach 12 in (30 cm). Buffalograss is usually dioecious, but is occasionally monoecious, sometimes with perfect flowers. The flower stalks reach 3.9-7.9 in (10-20 cm) tall. The male inflorescence is a panicle, while the female inflorescence consists of short spikelets borne on bur-like clusters, usually with 2-4 spikelets per bur.
Buffalograss sends out several, branching stolons and occasionally produces rhizomes. There are also several roots, which can thoroughly occupy the soil. The numerous stolons and roots can produce a dense sod. The roots of buffalograss are finer than those of most other plain grasses, being less than 0.04 in (1 mm) in diameter.
The species was first described by Thomas Nuttall, who had placed the species in the Sesleria genus. It was later moved to the Buchloë genus by George Engelmann. It wasn't until 1999 that buffalograss was moved to the Bouteloua genus by James Travis Columbus.
- Buchloë dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm.
- Bulbilis dactyloides (Nutt.) Raf. ex Kuntze
- Sesleria dactyloides Nutt.
Buffalograss is used as a grass in lawns in North America and is also grown for forage. Cultivars intended for lawns include 609, Prairie, and Stampede, while Comanche and Texoka are intended for forage.
Settlers once used the dense sod of buffalograss to build sod houses.