Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition'
Bouteloua gracilis, commonly called blue grama or mosquito grass, is a tufted, warm season, native grass noted for its distinctive arrangement of mosquito larvae-like seed spikes which hang from only one side of its flowering stems. It is native to prairies, plains, open rocky woodlands and along railroad tracks throughout the Western U.S. It was a dominant grass of the dry shortgrass prairies. Narrow, bluish-gray leaf blades (to 1/4” wide) typically form a dense clump growing 12-15" tall. Foliage turns golden brown in autumn, sometimes also developing interesting hues of orange and red. Inflorescences of purplish-tinged flowers appear on arching stems above the foliage in early to mid summer, typically bringing the total height of the clump to 20" tall.
Genus name honors two Spanish brothers Claudius (d. 1842) and Exteban Boutelou (d. 1813) professors of botany and agriculture respectively.
Specific epithet from Latin means slender or graceful.
'Blonde Ambition' produces chartreuse flowers (instead of purple for the species) on taller flowering stems that rise to 2 1/2' tall. Chartreuse flowers contrast nicely with the blue-gray leaf blades. Flowers give way to blond seed heads which typically remain through fall into early winter.