Grasslands, open habitats, and disturbed areas
Native to Europe, North Africa, and southwestern Asia; widespread around the world
No listed status
This species is
to the Truckee Meadows.
Cheatgrass is a winter annual grass that usually grows between 8 and 25 inches tall. The stems of this grass are smooth and slender. At the top of the grass are drooping, spiky seeds that germinate in the fall and produce in the spring.
As an invasive weed, cheatgrass can cause devastation for certain habitats.
Cheatgrass can be dangerous for animals. Its barblike seeds often get stuck in animals’ fur, noses and ears which can cause infections and irritation. Cheatgrass has even been found in dog’s lungs.
Cheatgrass tends to take all the nutrients from the soil where it grows, ultimately making it more difficult for other plants to grow in the affected area.
The seeds of cheatgrass remain viable for 2 to 5 years after leaving their mother plant.
U.S. Forest Service - Weed of the Week, Cheatgrass, 2005, https://www.invasive.org/weedcd/pdfs/wow/cheatgrass.pdf
Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health, Cheatgrass, 2018, https://www.invasive.org/browse/subinfo.cfm?sub=5214
Intermountain Pet Hospital, Don't Overlook the Dangers of Cheatgrass This Summer, 2017, https://www.intermountainpet.com/blog/dont-overlook-the-dangers-of-cheatgrass-this-summer
Image: Joshua Tree National Park, https://www.flickr.com/photos/joshuatreenp/12525863785, public domain.
Image: USFWS Mountain-Prairie, https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwsmtnprairie/36275047894, license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/, cropped from original.
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