Elymus canadensis L.

Canada Wild Rye

Habitat: Cliffs, balds, ledges, ridges, talus and rocky slopes, floodplains, forests.

Range: New Brunswick and Quebec, west to Alaska, south to Texas and California.

Aids to Identification: Like other members of the genus Elymus, Canada wild rye is a tall grass with bristly terminal spikes, and the plant may appear bluish. Unlike the typical flat leaf-blades of other species in this genus, Canada wild rye has thick and hard leaves that are involute at the tip. Additionally, Elymus canadensis differs from E. wiegandii in having a smooth, glabrous, or scabrous leaf surfrace (vs. finely densely hairy or pillose/villous surface).

Ecological characteristics: A species of dry, gravelly, or rocky soil to streambanks and dry to moist fields and meadows. This species is tolerant of heavy metals.

Phenology: Fruits July - October.

Family: Poaceae

Synonyms: Elymus canadensis L. var. glaucifolius (Muhl. ex Willd.) Torr.; Elymus canadensis L. var. villosus Bates.

Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has been documented from several towns in the following county(ies): Aroostook, Kennebeck, Oxford, Piscataquis, Somerset, and York.

Reason(s) for rarity: Uncertain.