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Products > Plants - Browse By Plant Category > Grass > Buchloe dactyloides 'Buffalo Bill'
 
Buchloe dactyloides 'Buffalo Bill' - Bull Buffalo Grass
   

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Grass
Family: Poaceae (Gramineae) (Grasses)
Origin: North America
Flower Color: Tan
Bloomtime: Spring
Synonyms: [Bouteloua dactyloides, Sesleria dactyloides]
Height: <1 foot
Width: Spreading
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: < 0 F
Buchloe dactyloides 'Buffalo Bill' (Bull Buffalo Grass) A long lived perennial warm season short grass that grows to 3 to 5 inches tall with soft, gray-green slender curling leaves and spreads slowly by above ground stolons. The winter color of this plant is tan with new foliage emerging as temperatures warm, in our area this occurs in late February and in late winter to spring (March to April) appear the small tawny colored male flowers that rise just a few inches above the foliage. Plant in full sun and irrigate occasionally to infrequently. This grass is drought, heat and very cold tolerant. This is a male flowering selection made by "the grassman", John Greenlee and unlike those forms selected for lawn use this one has it flowers above the foliage for all to enjoy. Buffalo grass is a native prairie grass is grows from Montana east to Minnesota and in the southern states along the Gulf Coast from eastern Louisiana to Texas and west into New Mexico and eastern Arizona and northern Mexico where it grows as the main component of the shortgrass prairie or as an understory with other taller prairie grasses. The name for the genus comes from the Greek words 'Boubalos' meaning "cow", "oxen" or "buffalo" and "chloe" meaning "grass" as a translation of the common name. The specific epithet has a couple of interpretations such as the combination of the Greek words 'dactyl' meaning "finger" and 'oides' meaning "like", so "like a finger" but more likely is a reference to it being like plants in the blue-grass genus, Dactylis. In 1818 American Botanist Thomas Nuttal first described this plant in The Genera of North American Plants as Sesleria dactyloides but a year later the Italian botanist Constantine Samuel Rafinesque, renamed it Bulbilis dactyloides, noting that Nuttal had thought it "must form a peculiar genus". The plant Nuttal had first described was a staminate (male) form and in 1855 the German botanist Ernst Gottlieb von Steudel described a carpellate (female) form, giving it the name Antephora axilliflora and finally Georg Engelmann combined the two in 1859 as one dioecious species, describing them together as Buchloe dactyloides. Interestingly, though the plant is most often described as dioecious with separate male and female plants, when grown from seed the resulting seedlings are monoecious, with male and female flowers separate on different stems of the same plant, yet when these stems are vegetatively propagated the resulting plants will be of different sexes. Most selected clones have been female, with flowers in short spikelets held unnoticed down in the foliage. This is good for a monoculture green sward such as a lawn but this male selection with flowers rising above the foliage definitely adds some floral interest. Let's hear it for the boys!  This description is based on our research and observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We also try to incorporate comments received from others and appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information about this plant, particularly if they disagree with what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Buchloe dactyloides 'Buffalo Bill'.
 
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