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Giant Wildrye
Elymus condensatus
About Giant Wildrye (Elymus condensatus) Nurseries Show All Photos Elymus condensatus (syn. Leymus condensatus) is a wild rye grass native to California and northern Mexico. Its common name is giant wildrye. It grows in bunches or clumps, stays green all year, and has a distinctive silver blue foliage. It is drought tolerant, growing in coastal sage scrub, chaparral, southern oak woodland, foothill woodland, and Joshua tree woodlands, rarely in wetlands. It spreads by rhizomes but not rapidly and can be easily contained. It often hybridizes with Leymus triticoides, producing the common hybrid grass Leymus x multiflorus. The cultivar 'Canyon Prince' from the Channel Islands is cultivated as a landscaping grass that is somewhat smaller and more compact than the species.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
3 - 10 ft (0.9 - 3 m)

Max. Width
2 - 8 ft (0.6 - 2.4 m)

Fountain, Weeping


Growth Rate


Flower Color

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Near the coast, in dry slopes, open places as a component of coastal sage scrub or chaparral. In inland valleys and foothill areas it is associated with oak woodlands. It is also found in some high desert areas with Joshua tree woodland


Elevation ?
-7' - 7531'

Annual Precip. ?
5.1" - 50.8"

Summer Precip. ?
0.14" - 3.40"

Coldest Month ?
28.5° F - 56.9° F

Hottest Month ?
54.9° F - 84.0° F

Humidity ?
0.04 vpd - 35.93 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerant of sand and clay

Soil Texture
Clay Loam, Loam, Loamy Sand, Sand, Sandy Clay, Sandy Clay Loam, Sandy Loam, Silt, Silt Clay Loam, Silt Loam

Soil PH
5.0 - 8.0

Soil Toxicity Tolerance
Tolerates Serpentine Soil

Fast, Medium, Slow

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

Sunset Zones ?
7*, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17*, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Companion Plants
California Encelia, California Sagebrush, Coyotebrush, Oaks, Salvia spp, Eriogonum spp.

Wildlife Attracted
Seeds eaten by mammals and birds.

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Very Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Can be pruned back to the ground in summer if it becomes floppy. Remove rhizomes to control spread

Propagation ?
Can be propagated from rhizomes cut from the mother plant in Spring.  For propagating by seed: No treatment.

Common uses
Groundcovers, Deer Resistant, Butterfly Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Botanical Names
Leymus condensatus

Common Names
Giant Rye Grass, Giant 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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