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Elymus glaucus
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Blue Wildrye
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Elymus glaucus

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About Blue Wildrye (Elymus glaucus) Elymus glaucus is a species of wild rye known by the common name blue wild rye. This grass is a common and widespread species that is native to North America from Alaska to New York to northern Mexico. It is found in every region of California except the low desert. This is a perennial bunch grass growing small, narrow tufts of several erect stems which exceed 50 centimeter in height and may approach 150 centimeter. It has a thick, fibrous root system, sometimes with rhizomes, and the stems may form stolons. It has flat leaves each up to a centimeter wide at the base and rapidly narrowing to a point. The tip of the stem is occupied by a narrow, pointed flower cluster many centimeters long made up of a few spikelets. Each spikelet is one to one and a half centimeters long, not counting an awn which may be two or three centimeters in length. This is a popular accent grass for the garden and also used in restoration projects. Common native grass associates in the far west coastal prairies are Danthonia californica, Deschampsia caespitosa, Festuca idahoensis and Nassella pulchra. It can hybridize with other species of Elymus to produce highly variable forms.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
1 - 5 ft (0.3 - 1.5 m)

Max. Width
1 ft (0.3 m)


Growth Rate

Summer Semi-Deciduous

Flower Color

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Prairies, grasslands, meadows, other open places

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
-3814' - 14090'

Annual Precip. ?
5.6" - 154.0"

Summer Precip. ?
0.14" - 5.80"

Coldest Month ?
10.8° F - 57.7° F

Hottest Month ?
34.1° F - 81.1° F

Humidity ?
0.01 vpd - 30.21 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerates a wide variety of soils

Soil PH
5.0 - 8.2

Soil Toxicity Tolerance
Tolerates Serpentine Soil, Tolerates Sodic Soil


Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to -15° F

Sunset Zones ?
1, 2*, 3*, 4*, 5*, 6*, 7*, 8, 9, 10*, 11, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17*, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Companion Plants
Can be combined with virtually any woodland or chaparral plants

Wildlife Attracted
Attracts various insects, especially bees and butterflies. The genus Elymus is host plant for the Woodland Skipper butterfly and Chytonix moth

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: No treatment.  For propagating by seed: No treatment.

Common uses
Deer Resistant, Butterfly Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Blue Wild Rye

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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