Monday, June 16, 2008

California Grasses

Dead grass. That is what you mostly see when you look at a hill in California at this time of year. One little known fact is that this is nothing like what the grasslands looked like five hundred years ago. At that time deep rooted grass plants stayed green all year. This however didn't last long at all when Mediterranean grasses showed up. Quickly these grasses were almost completely replaced with ones from Europe that only grow in the Winter.

I heard about this a long time ago, but never bothered to look up a picture of what the state looked like at this time of year before Europeans. Well, here it is:


Small patches of grasses surviving hundreds of years grew somewhat spread out. In the winter wildflowers grew between these patches.

If I ever have any land in California I would likely try to grow some of these. It is fairly easy to buy seeds and, while planting them looks like a fair amount of work, once they are established they are the least work of just about any plants you can grow since they are well adapted to the environment here.

Another history of California grasses if you are interested.

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