When you look at the ground or a field, you think to yourself, Grass is grass, right?

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You look at it, kick it around, maybe grab some and rip it up when your standing around. However, sitting right in front of you may be the grass that is crowned the state grass in Montana, for its symbolism, accessibility, and it's utility to the farmer and rancher here in our beautiful and industrious state.


According to the state code regarding state symbols and official designations:

1-1-506. State grass. The grass known as bluebunch wheatgrass, Agropyron spicatum (pursh), shall be designated and declared to be the official grass of the state of Montana.

Bluebunch Wheatgrass according to The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service is a perennial native to Montana and grows
to 1.5 to 4 feet tall with seed spikes 3 to 8 inches long. The auricles are pointed and semi-clasping to nearly lacking. Leaves are lax, cauline, flat to in-rolled, 4-6 mm wide, and green to blue in color.

This plant is very common in the northwest plains regions, and is pretty useful. The NRCA goes on to say the plant is used for animal feed both domestic and wildlife.

Bluebunch wheatgrass
can be used for native hay production and will make
nutritious feed, but is better suited to grazing use.
Bluebunch wheatgrass is palatable to all classes of
livestock and wildlife. It is preferred forage for cattle
and horses year-round, but it is considered coarse in
summer. It is preferred forage for sheep, elk, deer,
and antelope in spring. It is considered desired
forage for elk in summer. It is desirable forage for
sheep in summer, desirable feed for sheep, elk, deer,
and antelope in fall and desirable forage for sheep,
elk, and deer in winter. In spring, the protein levels
can be as high as 20 percent decreasing to about 4
percent protein as the forage matures and cures.
Digestible carbohydrates remain about 45 percent
throughout the active growth period.

Some also use it as a decorative landscaping implement in small bunches. Next time you are out and about, look for them and you'll have an interesting bit of trivia to share.

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