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CommentsThis native grass has a distinctive inflorescence and attractive appearance. The bottlebrush-shape of the floral spike makes it easy to identify. The spikelets of other Elymus spp. (Wild Ryes) are less remote from each other and more erect along the central stalk of their floral spikes. Other Wild Ryes also have a pair of long glumes at the base of each of their spikelets, while the spikelets of Bottlebrush Grass usually lack such glumes (or they have been reduced to bristles). Because of these structural differences, Bottlebrush Grass is sometimes assigned to a different genus and referred to as Hystrix patula. However, it is sufficiently similar to other species of Wild Rye to form hybrids with them (particularly with Elymus virginicus). These hybrids display characteristics of both parents; they can be found occasionally in natural areas.