Western wheatgrass

Agropyron smithii

Not only does South Dakota have a state flower, state rock, state soil, state tree and state flag, it has a state grass; western wheatgrass. This species was designated the South Dakota state grass in 1970 by an act of the state legislature. Western wheatgrass was chosen because it is a common species that is one of the few that can be found throughout the entire state. If you are looking over an area in South Dakota in early summer and see a strange blue-green patch of grass, that's probably western wheatgrass.
The name, Agropyron , comes from the Greek words "agrios" meaning wild and "pyros" meaning wheat. Smithii refers to the botanist, Gerald Smith, who discovered the species. The stem of this grass is blue-green in color and grows from 12 to 35 inches (30 to 90 cm) high. The leaves, which are also blue-green, come off the stem at a 45 degree angle. They are stiff and flat, mostly smooth with a strongly ribbed upper surface. The upper surface is rough to the touch. Leaves have a dark purple collar and auricles. The seedhead is a slender spike.

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