Warm Weather Grass Species in the Painted Pony Resort Seed Reservoir

The Grassland Restoration Project continues at the Painted Pony Resort with the identification of warm weather grass species on the property.  A restoration ecologist, John Moeny, from Silver City stopped by the Painted Pony Resort to identify grass species in newly fenced seed reservoir.  Being a biologist it is often assumed I know plant and animal species, but the reverse is actually true.  I know little of botany and can not do much better than "tree, bush, and shrub" and in this case "grass".  As a molecular geneticist I was always more comfortable at bench work rather than work in the field, so the presence of a restoration ecologist with specialized knowledge was an immense asset to the project.  The 2 of us spent the better part of the morning and early afternoon out in San Simon River bed and on the benches surrounding the river bottom looking at different grass species.  John identified 13 different species of native grass on the property and passed along advice on how to restore the highly eroded areas where the top soil has blown away as a result of excessive grazing activity.  Below is a list of grass species identified at the Painted Pony Resort.

River bottom grass species:
1.  Tobosa grass (Pleuraphis mutica) - The most common grass in the river bed and covers the majority of the river bed. 
2.  Vine mesquite grass (Panicum obtusum)
3.  Giant Sacaton (Sporobolus wrightii)
4.  Windmill grass (Chloris vivgata)
5.  Cane bluestem (Bothrichloa barbinodis)

Upland grass species:
6.  Sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula)
7.  Black grama (Bouteloua eriopoda)
8.  Bush muhly (Muhlenbergia porteri)
9.  Bistle grass (Setaria sp.)
10.  Dropseed (Sporobolus contractus)
11.  Galleta grass (Pleuraphis jamesii)
12.  6 weeks threeawn (Aristida adscensionis)
13.  6 weeks grama (Bouteloua barbata)

No Lehman's lovegrass, an introduced and invasive species, was observed on the property. 

There were also large swaths of pigweed (Amaranthus sp.) on the east side of the river bottom which may demarcate previously tilled areas, but grasses were found growing between the weeds.

Winterfat, a native shrub and a favorite of grazers, was present on the benches above the river bottom and is a good indicator that fencing the river bottom is already having an effect.  Finally, it should be noted that this census represents only the warm weather species and identification of the cool weather grass species will have to wait until spring.


  1. Very interesting, 13 different grasses of warm weather ones. So are there cold weather grasses?

  2. Yes, apparently there are cool weather species also. I will have to wait until after the winter rains in the spring to see these species. I learned there are both annual and perennial grass species on the landscape here which is interesting, I had always thought grasses were all perennial but I was wrong.