You’ve seen it a million times, now learn to identify it! Technically an exotic invasive plant, tall fescue is practically everywhere, from lawns to levees, and from pastures to (unfortunately!) prairies.
Tall fescue’s branching flowering stalks are somewhat narrow and contracted to slightly spreading, usually 2-10 inches long, and often nodding at the top. Flowers occur in flat, oval spikelets that are 1/4 to 1/2 inch long. There are usually 4-5 individual flowers in each spikelet. It blooms April through July (sometimes to October).
Western goat’s beard is a smooth, hairless annual or biennial with one to several fleshy stalks. The flowerheads are surrounded by narrow green bracts, which are longer than the yellow ray florets. The stems are considerably thickened just below the flowerheads, which are large and showy but close by noon on sunny days.
These two species of sweet clover are present all over America. Although they have been planted for forage, as bee plants, and as nitrogen-fixers, white and yellow sweet clover are now classified as invasive for their weediness and the problems they pose for natural habitats.
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