Plant Image
Plant - summer
Granite Mtn - Tr 345
Sue Smith
Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Elymus elymoides - squirreltail

Synonyms: Aegilops hystrix, E. difformis, E. glaberĀ , E. insularisĀ , E. minor, E. pubiflorus, Sitanion hystrix var. hystrix and more. See SEINET.

Other Common Names: bottlebrush squirreltail, western bottle-brush grass

Plant Form:Grass

Family: Poaceae

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Plant image
Plant - summer

Granite Mtn - Tr 345 Sue Smith
Plant image
Plant - summer

Granite Mtn - Tr 345 Sue Smith
Plant image
Ligule and blade

Granite Mtn - Tr 345 Sue Smith
Plant image
Seedhead - mature

Granite Mtn - Tr 345 John Kava
Plant image
Seedhead - mature

Granite Mtn - Tr 345 John Kava
Plant image
Immature seedhead

Granite Mtn - Tr 345 Sue Smith
  Grass Description -   Glossary of Grass Terminology

Origin: Native    Season: Cool and Warm
Habitat Description: Dry slopes of the desert ranges to subalpine sites.
Plant Communities: Interior Chaparral, Semidesert Grasslands, Pinyon Juniper Woodland, Montane Conifer Forest
Elevation: 2000 - 11000 feet

Similar Species: Hordeum jubatum

General Description

Desc: Erect grass not forming dense clumps, often covered in a powdery or waxy bloom. Blades at distinct angles from stem. Seedhead when mature looks like a bottle brush or squirrel tail.
Identification notes: Tufted perennial, 3 to 25 inches; seedheads are spikes, erect to flexuous, clusters of (usually) 2 spikelets per node and stacked up the central stem; very long awns that curve outward when dry, making the seedhead look like a bottlebrush.
Grass Type: Perennial bunchgrass  Rhizomes: N  Stolons: N
Large Dense Clump (> 2 feet): N  Bushy (highly branched): N
Height with Seedheads: 12 to 24 inches
Seedhead Structure: Unbranched  Seedhead Droops: N
Flowering Period: Apr - Sep

Flower Characteristics

Number of Flowers per Spikelet: Multi-flowered  Spikelets One-sided: N
Awns: Greater than 1 inch   Three Awns: N  Awns Bent: Y

Flower and Seedhead Notes: Spikes 1-1/4 to 8 inches long, 2 to 6 inches wide, bristly with long spreading awns, densely flowered, often partially included in the upper leaf sheath. Spikelets of 2 to 5 florets of which one or more may be fertile.

Vegetative Characteristics

Blade Hairy: N  Blade with White Margin: N  Blade Cross Section: Involute  
Blade Notes: Blades 2 to 8 inches long, 1/16 to 1/4 inch wide, stiff and rolled inward; tapering to a fine point; prominent veins.
Sheath Hairy: Y  Tuft of Hairs Top of Sheath or Collar: N  Ligules: Membranous
Auricles (Ear-like lobes at base of blades): Y
Vegetative Notes: Sheaths smooth, no hairs, roughened with stout projections, or densely white-villous; auricles usually present, to 1/16 inch, often purplish; ligules shorter than 1/16 inch, as though abruptly "chopped off" or appearing torn at the edge or irregular.

Forage Value: Considered one of the most fire resistant of all native bunchgrasses and provides good forage before the bristly spikes mature and after they have fallen off.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 8.0  
Last Updated: Feb 16, 2020  
Content Questions/Comments: Email Jeff Schalau  
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