“Rangeland Plants: Wyoming Tough” is available at bit.ly/Rangelandplants as a free download or as a spiral-bound guidebook for $8.
The term rangeland encompasses open-space habitats grazed by domestic animals and wildlife throughout the world. Wyoming rangelands include tallgrass and shortgrass prairie and sagebrush steppe.
“You will probably find that once you start to learn about the flora and fauna of Wyoming, it becomes a lifelong habit,” said Mae Smith, publication editor.
Seventy-five grasses, grass-like plants, forbs and woody plants are featured, as well as some non-native interlopers, such as cheatgrass (downy brome). Organization is by plant type and common name. Four color photos of each, plus physical and diagnostic characteristics aid plant identification.
Information includes scientific name, growth habit and preferred habitat, forage value and an interesting fact for each.
Arrowgrass, for example, is not a true grass and is poisonous in hay. Western wheatgrass is Wyoming’s state grass. Sticky purple geranium is protocarnivorous: it dissolves insects that get trapped on its leaves. Arrowleaf balsamroot, which fills landscapes across the state with yellow flowers in summer, has a tap root that has been used as a coffee substitute.
“Rangeland Plants: Wyoming Tough” is one of more than 500 guides and how-to videos available from University of Wyoming Extension (bit.ly/UWEpubs), covering livestock, wildlife and Wyoming open spaces, plus gardening, estate planning, enterprise economics, energy planning and other topics.
For more on rangelands, see “Wyoming Weed Watchlist,” “Cheatgrass Management Handbook,” and the “Successful Restoration of Severely Disturbed Lands” series.