Side-oats Grama is a rarity among native grasses in that it sports tiny attractive flowers during its summer bloom time (see detailed photos.) Bracts hang uniformly from one side of the stem while brilliant red-purple anthers dangle below and delicate white stigmas protrude above. When the seed heads dry, they have a distinctly oat-like appearance.
Side-oats is a warm-season grass that grows actively during the summer months when soil temperatures are warm. Its current range is throughout North America and south to Argentina, and it is cited as a food source or larval host for at least five types of skipper moths. Side-oats Grama’s rhizomatous clumping tendency and moderate height make it a good companion for spring-blooming wildflowers like Shooting Stars or Prairie Smoke.