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Community Field Guide

Scientific Name:
Hordeum jubatum Herbaceous Vegetation

Common Name:
Foxtail barley Meadow

Community Description

Summary:
This foxtail barley community type is found in the northern and central Great Plains of the United States and Canada, in lowlands with moderately to strongly saline soils. The topography is flat and the soils are often flooded or saturated in the spring. The vegetation is dominated by short and medium-tall graminoids with a total vegetation cover of nearly 100%. Shrubs are usually absent. Hordeum jubatum dominates the community. Other common species in this community are Elymus trachycaulus, Distichlis spicata, Pascopyrum smithii, Poa arida, Poa compressa, Rumex crispus, and Sonchus arvensis.

Environment:
Stands are located in lowlands with moderately to strongly saline soils (Barnes 1978). The topography is flat or gently sloping and the soils are often flooded or saturated in the spring (Redmann 1972). In the Alkali Creek study area these sites encompassed small patches confined to the bottoms of steep- Sided draws, as well as outwash flats at the lower ends of these drainages.

Vegetation:
The vegetation is dominated by short and medium-tall graminoids with a total vegetation cover of nearly 100% (Barnes 1978). Shrubs are usually absent except where this type grades to Symphoricarpos occidentalis and Rosa woodsii communities immediately upslope. Hordeum jubatum dominates the community, occasionally almost monospecifically. Other common species in this community include, in approximate declining order of importance, Pascopyrum smithii, Distichlis spicata, Elymus trachycaulus, Poa arida, Poa compressa, Rumex crispus, and Sonchus arvensis.

Alkali Creek Study examples of this type are species poor and strongly dominated by Hordeum jubatum, with Pascopyrum smithii, ranging from co-dominate to barely represented. Poa cusickii (Cusick’s bluegrass), Poa secunda (formerly Poa juncifolia, alkali bluegrass) and Puccinellia nuttalliana (Nuttall’s alkali grass) are consistently present in low coverage. The only forbs noted are Rumex crispus (western dock) and Grindelia squarrosa (curlycup gumweed).

Range:
This foxtail barley community type is found in the northern and central Great Plains of the United States and Canada, ranging from Colorado to Saskatchewan.

Dynamics:
The Alkali Creek Fire obviously burned across north-south trending drainages, and woodlands on both east and west banks show the effects from the fire pushed by winds from the west. However, four years post-fire, the effects appears minimal, other than the consumption of fine fuels and perhaps a fertilizer effect that has persisted.

Global Rank: G4 State Rank: S4

Community References

Identifier:
CEGL001798

Author:
Drake, J. F., WCS

Citations:
Barnes and Tieszen 1978, Bunin 1985, Hansen et al. 1991, Redmann 1972, Reid 1974, Vestal 1914

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This information is from the:
Montana Natural Heritage Program
Montana State Library--Natural Resource Information System
1515 East Sixth Ave., Helena, MT 59620-1800
406 444-5354
http://mtnhp.org
mtnhp@mt.gov