Pascopyrum smithii (Western wheatgrass)

Formerly known as Agropyron smithii. Cool season, saline-tolerant, moderately drought tolerant, strongly rhizomatous sod-former. May be replaced by Elymus lanceolatus ssp.  lanceolatus on coarser soils. Moderately palatable to livestock and wildlife.

native distribution

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Family: Poaceae

Duration: Perennial

Growth Habit: Graminoid

Native Status: Native

Season: Cool

Growth Form: Rhizomatous, sod former

Mature Height: 24 in.

Annual Precipitation: 8-36 in.

Drought Tolerance: High

Shade Tolerance: Intolerant


Wetland Indicator Status: FAC

Fire Resistance: No

Fire Tolerance: High


Coarse Texture: No

Medium Texture: Yes

Fine Texture: Yes

Salinity Tolerance: High

CaCO3 Tolerance: High

pH Range: 4.5-9.0


Seeds per Pound: 113,800

Seeding Rate: 8-12 PLS lbs/acre

Season:  Spring/Fall

Days to Germination:


Arriba - Aggressive, with rapid seedling establishment. Produces dense medium height forage. Superior seed yielder. (Released 1973, source of ecotype: Flagler, CO)

Barton - A strongly rhizomatous plant producing superior forage yields. Excellent disease resistance. Produces below average seed yields. (Released 1970, source of ecotype: Barton County, KS)

Recovery - Developed from Rosana and collections from central Colorado. Establishes quicker and has greater seedling vigor than previous releases. Vigorous stands even 4-6 years after establishment. Especially useful on military land and arid rangelands with repeat disturbance or wildfire where the species is normally unable to fully establish. Forage yields similar to other cultivars. (Released 2009, source of ecotype: MT, CO)

Rodan - Moderately rhizomatous, thin-leaved plant producing superior forage yields. Well suited for pasture or revegetation. Good disease resistance. Seed yield is comparable to Rosana except with a short awn. (Released 1983, source of ecotype: Morton County, ND)

Rosana - Strongly rhizomatous, with excellent seedling vigor. Equal in forage yields to other varieties. Low post-harvest seed dormancy aids in ease of establishment. (Released 1972, source of ecotype: Forsyth, MT)