IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

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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.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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