This is a particularly luxuriant head of "cheatgrass" (Bromus tectorum). Spring is a wonderful season for cheatgrass. It's an annual, and at the first sign of warmth and water, the seeds formed the previous year sprout, and the little plants start growing furiously. For a few weeks, a landscape infested with cheatgrass looks great! So lush, so green! But, oh, so temporary. As quick as the stuff grows, it sets seed, dries up, and dies. Poof! What was a lush green field of grass becomes a grayish brown tinderbox just waiting to catch fire. If you were expecting pasture, guess again -- you've just been cheated!
Originally European, now widely introduced in dry areas in much of the world.
Here in eastern Washington, well, let me just quote from bentler.us:
Great stuff, eh? And nobody has a clue how to get rid of it!Cheatgrass is an invasive weedy annual that sprouts quickly in spring, grows rapidly in dense mats, and produces tons of seeds that are easily recognized as they poke into socks by the hundreds while walking through it. This plant generally outcompetes native bunchgrasses as it sucks moisture and nitrogen from the soil, and eventually produces hot wildfires resulting in sterile burns well-suited for its rapid spread and ultimate dominance.
But hey, it's spring now. Sure looks nice, doesn't it?
Technical: Canon 300D, Sigma 105mm, ISO 100, 1/640 sec, f/4, natural light (overcast), handheld. A bit of blur added to background to improve the bokeh. One distracting brown leaf tip cloned away.