Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Sporobolus cryptandrus
sand dropseed

Distribution: Occurring east of the Cascades crest in Washington; British Columbia to southern California, east across most of North America to the Atlantic Coast except in the extreme southeastern U.S.

Habitat: Sagebrush desert, especilly where sandy, to the foothills and grassland.

Flowers: June-September

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Wind


Strongly tufted perennial, the culms 3-7 dm. tall, solid and grooved.


Sheaths open, mostly glabrous, with hairs at the throat; ligules 0.5-0.7 mm. long; blades involute, 2-4 mm. broad, mostly smooth, but with long, soft hairs along the margins bordering the ligule.


Inflorescence a moderately-open panicle 10-20 cm. long, partially included in the sheath, the branches simple to again branched, spikelet-bearing to near the base, stiffly ascending; spikelets 1-flowered; glumes 1-nerved, acute, unequal, the first about 1 mm. long, the second twice as long; lemma 2-2.5 mm. long, acute, 1-nerved, awnless and glabrous, about equaled by the 2-nerved palea.

Accepted Name:
Sporobolus cryptandrus (Torr.) A. Gray
Publication: Manual 576. 1848.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Agrostis cryptandra Torr.
Sporobolus cryptandrus (Torr.) A. Gray ssp. fuscicola (Hook.) E.K. Jones & Fassett, orthographic variant
Sporobolus cryptandrus (Torr.) A. Gray var. fuscicola (Hook.) R.W. Pohl, orthographic variant
Sporobolus cryptandrus (Torr.) A. Gray var. occidentalis E.K. Jones & Fassett
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Sporobolus cryptandrus in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Sporobolus cryptandrus checklist entry.

OregonFlora: Sporobolus cryptandrus information.

E-Flora BC: Sporobolus cryptandrus atlas page.

CalPhotos: Sporobolus cryptandrus photos.

USDA Plants: Sporobolus cryptandrus information.

23 photographs:
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