Cottonwoods line the streams, salt-loving vegetation margins the bare playas, low bushes and scattered bunch-grass grow over the lowlands, especially in the north.
The Columbia plain is for the most part treeless and, except where irrigated, grows principally bunch-grass or, in its lower and more arid parts, sagebrush.
The Great Plains are covered for the most part only with bunch grass which grows in tufts, leaving the ground visible between, and except in May and June presents a yellow and withered appearance.
Mixed with the bunch grass are occasional patches of sage brush.
The east is devoted chiefly to stock raising; for cattle, horses and sheep thrive well on the bunch grass except when it is covered with snow.
In the glades are bunch-grass and a variety of flowering plants; buttercups, daisies, forget-me-nots and other wild flowers may be found near melting snow-banks in August.
The hay crop, 865,000 tons in 1909, is made quite largely from wild grasses and grains cut green; on the irrigated lands alfalfa is grown extensively for the cattle and sheep, which are otherwise almost wholly dependent for sustenance upon the bunch grass of the semi-arid plains.
Almost all of the United States east of the 98th meridian is naturally a forest region, and forests cover the greater part of the Rocky Mountains, the Cascades, the Sierra Nevadas and the Coast Range, but throughout the belt of plains, basins and deserts west of the Rocky Mountains and on the Great Plains east of the Rocky Mountains there are few trees except along the watercourses, and the prevailing type of vegetation ranges from bunch grass to sage brush and cactuses according to the degree of aridity and the temperature.
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