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Forbs and Pocket Gophers

Forbs and Pocket Gophers

I love it when I’m researching and learning about one topic and it leads me to another interesting topic. This often happens with nature study when an answer to a question just makes you curious about something else.

I’ve been reading about pocket gophers because we have many that live and are active in the habitat behind our house here in Central Oregon. Their holes are everywhere! (If you’re interested in learning about pocket gophers, there’s an Outdoor Hour Challenge in the High Desert ebook that will help you get started.) We’ve been wondering just what they eat and it turns out their diet includes “forbs”.

I had no idea what a “forb” was, so we decided to research the term.


“A forb or phorb is an herbaceous flowering plant that is not a graminoid (grass, sedge, or rush). The term is used in biology and in vegetation ecology, especially in relation to grasslands and understory.”

-From Wikipedia

Basically, most wildflowers are forbs. Grass is not a forb.

A pocket gopher’s diet consists mainly of forbs, eaten from the roots and pulled down into their tunnels. Most pocket gophers do not venture too far from their tunnel entrances to look for vegetation to eat.

So my dear readers, follow those “rabbit trails” when you are researching a topic. You never know what gem you will discover. I learned a new term to use in my nature study.


Pocket Gopher Nature Study Outdoor Hour challenge