Monday, October 08, 2007

Our State Grass: Bluebunch Wheatgrass

You can pretty much bet that when I say I’m done with a subject (as I said in my last post that I was done with the topic of wild grasses), I will immediately find something fascinating to say about that topic.

Yesterday my daughter was reading a copy of the State of Washington Voter’s Pamphlet which has all the Washington symbols (bird, song, gem, boat, etc.) printed on the cover and I learned that we have a state grass: bluebunch wheatgrass.

Curious to know more about it, I went looking and found a website that features a good description and a photograph of bluebunch wheatgrass. The website features activities relating to bluebunch wheatgrass, including growing it in your garden. I realized that I’ve seen a lot of bluebunch wheatgrass while driving around eastern Washington.

Many years ago I wrote a story for my daughter called “Chester Chases Swallows in the Sagebrush,” about the time we let our dog out of the car on a deserted part of I-90 (the highway between Spokane and Seattle) and he took off running. I think the correct title for the story should probably be “Chester Chases Swallows in the Bluebunch Wheatgrass.”

Speaking of state anythings, did you realize that many states have state dances? Most of them that have a state dance, list “square dance” as their dance. Washington does. Boring. Some are obvious. Hawaii has the Hula. Louisiana the Second Line. Virginia has the Virginia Reel. Both Wisconsin and Pennsylvania list the Polka. Some are not. Ohio and the Charleston? And some are interesting. New York has Lindy Hop. California has West Coast Swing. The Carolinas claim the Shag. And Texas claims the Texas Two-Step (although I might also nominate the Texas Push). The most amazing thing is that I know most of these dances (except the Hula).
I found all of these on Wikipedia,
which also has a list of the state grasses, in case you want to find the grass for your state:

Photograph: Loren St. John @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database


Goddess of the Woods said...

That's pretty interesting! Just curious ... is your particular breed of Wheatgrass edible? I know people do shots of Wheatgrass juice, but that's of a certain type ... I was wondering if yours is toxic or not. Hmmm ... Also looked up my state grass ... Blue Grama? I must look into it more, the photo at Wiki was rather tiny ...

Waverly Fitzgerald said...

Dear Goddess of the Woods,

According to Wikipedia, the wheatgrass we drink is another variety, triticum aestivum: