Bouteloua curtipendula

Landscape view
Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: sideoats grass 
Type: Ornamental grass
Family: Poaceae
Native Range: North and South America
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 1.50 to 2.50 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: Purplish
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover
Flower: Showy, Good Cut, Good Dried
Leaf: Good Fall
Attracts: Birds
Tolerate: Drought, Erosion, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil, Black Walnut, Air Pollution


Easily grown in average, dry to medium moisture soils in full sun. Tolerates wide range of soil conditions from well-drained sandy soils to heavy clays. May be grown from seed and may self-seed in the garden in optimum growing conditions. Cut clumps to the ground in late winter.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Bouteloua curtipendula, commonly called sideoats grama, is a Missouri native grass which is noted for the distinctive arrangement of oat-like seed spikes which hang from only one side of its flowering stems. Typically occurs in glades, prairies, open rocky woodlands and along railroad tracks throughout most of the State. Narrow, bluish-gray leaf blades (to 1/4" wide) typically form a dense clump growing 1-1.5' tall. Foliage turns golden brown in autumn, sometimes also developing interesting hues of orange and red. Inflorescences of purplish-tinged flowers appear on arching stems above the foliage in early to mid summer, typically bringing the total height of the clump to 3' tall. Inflorescences fade to tan as the seeds mature.

Genus name honors two Spanish brothers Claudius (d. 1842) and Exteban Boutelou (d. 1813) professors of botany and agriculture respectively.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Mass in meadows, prairies, slopes, rock gardens, native plant gardens or naturalized areas. Notwithstanding the excellent ornamental features of this grass, it may also be grown as a turf grass and regularly mowed to 2-4 inches tall.