Agropyron elongatum (Host). Beauv.
Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished.
- Folk Medicine
- Yields and Economics
- Biotic Factors
Tall wheatgrass is useful for hay and pasturage on soils not suitable for other
wheatgrasses. Makes good green feed in dry summers and palatable hay if cut
before flowering. It establishes well on wet alkaline soils and is extensively
used in reclaiming such areas, and has been reported promising in arid zone of
South Australia where rainfall is 12.520 cm annually. Heath (1975) recommends
the species for reclaiming saline soils. Fuller et al (1982) show how the
species can be used in reclaiming red mud bauxite residues.
No data available.
No data available.
Coarse, tufted, tall, coarse-textured perennial grass; culms erect, very hard,
75180 cm tall, glabrous; leaves gray-green or glaucous, stiff, involute,
scabrous or glabrous on upper surface and along margins, smooth beneath, veins
prominent; spike erect, 1030 cm long, loose; lower internodes of rachis 1.53
cm long, upper ones shorter, all internodes flat or nearly so on side facing
spikelet, scabrous on angles; spikelets appressed before flowering, divaricate
at anthesis, 1.42.5 cm long, 511-flowered; glumes obtuse, subtruncate,
oblong, 0.71.1 cm long, 2.53 mm broad, smooth, indurate, shorter than lowest
floret; lemmas broadly lanceolate, 11.2 cm long, obtuse, 5-veined, with
midvein thicker than others; palea smooth, slightly shorter than lemma, 0.91
cm long, lanceolate or broadly so, obtuse, ciliate on keels. Fl. July. Seeds
175,000 to 187,000/kg.
Reported from the Mediterranean Center of Diversity, tall wheatgrass or cvs
thereof is reported to tolerate alkali, drought, frost, high pH, insects,
sodium or salt, rust, virus, and waterlog. Since tall wheatgrass was
introduced in 1932 from Russia, several cultivars have been developed: 'Largo',
a New Mexico cultivar (1937); 'Jose', a New Mexico cultivar (1965), a green
type with higher quality forage; 'Alkar', a Washington cultivar (1959), used to
reclaim large areas of saline and alkaline lands; and 'Orbit', a Canadian
cultivar (1966), is winter-hardy, adapted to wet saline soils in all parts of
Canada. In breeding experiments, by use of amphidiploid (2n= 56) and polyploid
(2n= 70) plants, this wheatgrass provides a source of resistance to wheat rusts,
Puccinis graminis and P. recondita. (2n= 14, 56, 70)
Native to eastern Mediterranean region, from southern Europe to Asia Minor and
Crimea, where it occurs in saline meadows and along seashores. Introduced in
United States in Great Plains and Inter-mountain Plateau areas north into
Canada, and in arid regions of South Australia.
Ranging from Boreal Moist through Subtropical Thorn to Dry Forest Life Zones,
Tall wheatgrass is reported to tolerate annual precipitation of 3 to 21 dm
(mean of 22 cases = 6), annual temperature of 5° to 19°C
(mean of 22 cases = 12),
and pH of 5.3 to 9.0 (mean of 22 cases=6.8). Thrives in areas subject to
inundation to saline water, as seashores, saline meadows and on alkaline soils.
It is a cool-season grass, and is less drought-resistant and less palatable
than crested wheatgrass (A. desertorum). Will grow in areas with
12.520 cm annual rainfall, but will tolerate much more.
Propagation by seed, usually sown in pure stand. Seed production is good
except at high altitudes, as it requires a long ripening season. Seed rate is
913 kg/ha. Makes good spring and fall growth and remains green well into the
Tall wheatgrass makes fair hay and can be used successfully for silage.
Because of its late maturity, it provides a long grazing period when used for
pasture, but it is not so palatable as most other wheatgrasses.
Yields are exceptionally high where moisture conditions
are favorable. Seed yields vary from 382717 kg/ha in 'Orbit'. Tall
wheatgrass is used extensively for seeding alkaline sites in the northern
Plains and Intermountain regions of United States, Canada and in some areas of
northern Europe and Central Asia.
According to the phytomass files (Duke, 1981b), annual productivity ranges from
2 to 15 MT/ha, which phytomass could be converted to alcohol or methane.
Following fungi have been reported on Tall wheatgrass: Claviceps purpurea,
Colletotrichum graminicola, Fusarium elongatum, F. graminearum, F. oxysporum,
F. scirpi var. acuminatum and var. compactum, Helminthosporium
giganteum, R. sativum, Puccinia coronata f. sp. secalis, P.
glumarum, P. graminis, P. montaenensis, P. triticina, Pythium arrhenomanes,
Rhizoctonia solani, Ustilago hypodytes and U. spegazzinii var.
agrestis. It is also attacked by the Agropyron streak mosaic virus.
Complete list of references for Duke, Handbook of Energy Crops
- Duke, J.A. 1981b. The gene revolution. Paper 1. p. 89150. In: Office of
Technology Assessment, Background papers for innovative biological technologies
for lesser developed countries. USGPO. Washington.
- Fuller, R.D., Nelson, E.D.P., and Richardson, C.J. 1982. Reclamation of red mud
bauxite residues using alkaline tolerant grasses with organic amendments. J.
Envir. Quality 11(3):533539.
- Heath, J. 1975. A salted picnic. J. Agriculture (Victoria) 73(11):424426.
Last update December 19, 1997