Comprehensive Description

Read full entry


In bright sunlight, the blue-glaucous form of Canada Wild Rye has a shiny metallic appearance. It is one of my favorite grass species. Canada Wild Rye can be distinguished from other grass species by its large and distinctive spikes. While other Elymus spp. (Wild Ryes) have large spikes, they are often erect and the awns of their spikes remain straight at maturity (rather than curving outward). A species with nodding spikes, Elymus villosus (Silky Wild Rye), has spikelets with only 1-2 lemmas each, while the spikelets of Canada Wild Rye have 3-6 lemmas each. This provides the spikes of the latter species with a more stout appearance. Canada Wild Rye also has longer paleas (8.5 mm. or more) than Silky Wild Rye and other Wild Ryes. Another common name of Elymus canadensis is Nodding Wild Rye. The large seeds were used as a food source by Amerindians.


Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

Belongs to 1 community


EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!