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Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Elymus virginicus - Virginia wildrye

Plant Form:Grass

Family: Poaceae

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  Grass Description -   Glossary of Grass Terminology

Origin: Native    Season: Warm
Habitat Description: Moist woods, meadows, and prairies.
Plant Communities: Riparian
Elevation: 3100 - 3200 feet

Similar Species: Elymus glaucus, Elymus canadensis

General Description

Desc: Tufted; seedhead remains straight at maturity; short, membranous, rigid ligule; no hair on stems or leaves; color variable, green waxy, blue-green or silver.
Identification notes: 1 to 4 feet tall; leaves flat, 2 to 4 inches wide; spikes rigidly erect, 2 to 5 inches; lemmas with conspicuous straight awns, base of glumes round, hardened at base. Awns of E. canadensis are divergent, glumes of E. glaucus not hardened.
Grass Type: Perennial bunchgrass  Rhizomes: N  Stolons: N
Large Dense Clump (> 2 feet): N  Bushy (highly branched): Y
Height with Seedheads: Greater than 36 inches
Seedhead Structure: Unbranched  Seedhead Droops: N
Flowering Period: Jun - Aug

Flower Characteristics

Number of Flowers per Spikelet: Multi-flowered  Spikelets One-sided: N
Awns: 1/4 inch to 1 inch   Three Awns: N  Awns Bent: N

Flower and Seedhead Notes: The seedhead is densely covered on all sides with ascending sessile spikelets. The seedhead is partially enclosed or barely exerted from the uppermost leaf. Spikelets 1/2 inch, appressed to slightly divergent, commonly 3 to 4 florets.

Vegetative Characteristics

Blade Hairy: N  Blade with White Margin: N  Blade Cross Section: Flat  
Blade Notes: 6 to 10 rough blades, 2 to 4 inches wide and 12 inches long occur along the entire length of each seedhead stem. Blades are medium green, dark green, or bluish-green, hairless on both their upper and lower sides, and rather floppy.
Sheath Hairy: N  Tuft of Hairs Top of Sheath or Collar: N  Ligules: Membranous
Auricles (Ear-like lobes at base of blades): N
Vegetative Notes: Short, membranous, rigid ligules.

Forage Value: Not available.

  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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