Blue Grama (Bouteloua gracilis) is a common, native grass found not only here in southern Arizona, but also in many other arid or grassy areas of the United States as well. This perennial, warm season bunchgrass blooms in the summer and is dormant in the winter. It grows to 20 inches (51 cm) in height.
The one-sided flower clusters consist of numerous small spikelets and florets. The flower clusters are initially straight, silvery green-magenta in color, and held at right angles to the stems, but they eventually dry to a pale blond color and curve into eyebrow-like shapes.
Blue Grama is not just a native grass, it also makes an attractive, drought tolerant, non-weedy accent grass for gardens. This versatile grass is also used for erosion control projects, in roadside plantings, and for prairie restoration. Because Blue Grama is highly palatable to livestock, it is also used for rangeland recovery projects.
Blue Grama seeds are planted in the late spring in the Great Plains, but here in southern Arizona, the best time to plant them is in the summer so that they can grow with our summer monsoon rains.