Agropyron desertorum (Fisch. ex Link.) Schultz. - Desert wheat grass
Taxonomic position.Family Poaceae Benth. genera Agropyron Gaertn.
Morphology and biology.Perennial grass. Plant forms dense turf. Stems alone are 25-50 (even 60) cm tall. Leaves folded glabrous, 2-3 mm wide, sheaths of the bottom leaves sometimes pubescent. Spikes are linear, narrow, non-crested, sometimes almost cylindrical, 2.5-7 cm long, 5-9 mm wide. Spikelets spread wide, not deflected from axis, 7-12 mm long, rarely pubescent; spikelet scales with a keel, with short awn; the bottom floral scales are 5-6 mm long, with awn that is 2-3 mm long, not often pubescent. Flowering occurs in May-June. Chromosome number = 28n. This species is cross-pollinated by wind.
Distribution.Distributed throughout the southeast portion of the European former USSR, Ciscaucasia, the southern part of Western Siberia, and Kazakhstan.
Ecology.Grows on dry steppe, clay and stony slopes, and in desert steppes on chestnut solonetzic soils.
Use and economic value.Used as fodder.
Reference citations:Buhteeva A.V., Malyshev L.L., Konarev A.V. 1990. Wild-growing populations of wheat grass from Eastern European steppe province. Bull. VIR. (Leningrad), 198: 54-59.
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Malyshev, L.I. & G.A. Peshkova, eds. 1979. Flora of the Central Siberia. V. 1. Onocleaceae-Saxifragaceae. Novosibirsk: "Nauka". 431 p.
Malyshev, L.I. & G.A. Peshkova, eds. 1990. Flora of Siberia. V. 2. Poaceae (Gramineae). Novosibirsk: "Nauka". 361 p.
Shelyag-Sosonko Y.P., ed. 1977. Grasses of Ukraine. Kiev: "Naukova Dumka". 518 p.
Tzvelev N.N. 1976. Grasses of the USSR. Leningrad: "Nauka". 788 p.