Eastern Gamma Grass

Photo by David Welfelt

Common Name: Eastern Gamma Grass

Scientific Name: Tripsacum dactyloides

Family: Grass

Longevity: Perennial

Height: 3 - 7 feet

Bloom Period: June and July

 

Description: Stems are upright to spreading from thick, knotty rhizomes. Leaf blades are flat, ½-1 inch wide and smooth. Flower heads have 1-4 spike-like branches as long as 10 inches, with male flowers clustered above the female flowers.

Comments: Eastern Gamma Grass is a relative of cultivated corn. Teardrop-shaped seeds are hard, smooth and embedded along the lower flower branches. Seeds can be popped apart like beads. Most growth is in the spring. Eastern Gamma Grass makes excellent forage for all classes of livestock throughout the growing season but is not good for winter grazing. Rare in grazed pastures, it is locally common in hay meadows and along roadsides. It is most common in deep, moist soils throughout most of Kansas.