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Common name: Blue Wildrye
Scientific name: Elymus glaucus
Duration: Perennial
Family: Grass family (Poaceae)
Habitat: Grows in a wide variety of soil types at lower to mid elevations. Grows in open prairies and beneath ponderosa, Douglas-fir sites with annual precipitation of 10-30”. Very shade tolerant.
Blooming period: Midsummer
Color: Blue-purple hue on foliage and spike inflorescence
Height: 3-4'
Planting Time: Spring

Pronunciation: Elymus glaucus (EL-ee-mus GLA-kus)

Blue wildrye is an erect, rapidly developing, cool-season (but tolerant of hot weather), native perennial bunchgrass. It grows in small tufts, with broad and flat steel-blue leaves up to 12 inches long. In the Pacific Northwest the bunches rarely exceed 4 inches in width. The spike seed head is commonly blue in color.

Forage Value: Palatable to cattle and horses when young and tender before the seed heads develop.

Historic Uses: Many Native American tribes collected the seeds for food. Because of its thick nodes, this grass was not readily used for basketry.

Miscellany: This grass is very tolerant of fire, as it produces little downward heat thus reducing the damage to its own roots. This is a common grass to include in post-fire restoration seed mixes.

Elymus is from the Greek word elymos meaning 'millet' which comes from elyo meaning 'to cover.'

glaucus is Latinized from a Greek word meaning bluish or greenish grey.

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1461 Thorn Creek Road, Genesee, Idaho 83832