Elymus trachycaulus -Slender wheatgrass

Elymus trachycaulus – Slender wheatgrass (Su,DM,A,N)

12-40″ Tall x 12″ Spread, light blue-green wide leaves. Slender wheatgrass is a perennial, cool-season, short-lived, coarse, tufted bunchgrass. Leaves are from 3 to 13 inches long and upto a half inch wide, with basal leaves longer than upper leaves. The culms are erect, ranging from 6 to 48 inches (8-120 cm) in height, and bear terminal, erect spikes. Flowers in early July to early August.   When blooming,  yellow stamens form from the spikelets. The root system is dense, consisting of coarse and fine fibrous roots which extend beyond 12 inches (30 cm) in depth.

  • Seeds for birds, tall ornamental
  • Blooms:  Mid Summer  (Su)
  • Moisture: Dry to Medium (DM)
  • Soil Type:  ALL: Sands, Loams, and Clays (A) can tolerate some salt.
  • Range: Native (N)
  • Can tolerate some shade
  • Started as: Seed  7-10  days
Late spring the seedheads begin to form, seen here are glumes forming opposite each other. These are sheaths that will protect the growing flowers.

Propagation by seed

Slender wheatgrass is a self-pollinated. It can be stored upto 6 years in seed banks. This species requires 1- to 2-month short night/long day stratification prior to germination. Sow in with a fine covering and keep moist. Germinates within 7 days.

Role in Ecosystem

Elymus trachycaulus is a native to much of the US and Canada. It provides cover for birds and small mammals. It is palatable for livestock and larger undulates but is not a good source of protein.

US Forest Service Information

Habitat Types and Plant Communities

Widely distributed, slender wheatgrass has numerous ecotypes that occur in widely differing climates. Slender wheatgrass is found on semiarid ranges, in temperate and boreal forests, and in subalpine, alpine, and subarctic habitats [8,23].

2021 – Year 2, wet year culms over 36″ tall

Information on plant structures including culms, spikelets, glumes. University of Oregon

An amateur gardener who loves to watch the garden grow.

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