Elymus hystrix L.
Habitat: Rich, rocky, or alluvial deciduous forests. [Hardwood to mixed forest (forest, upland)]
Range: New Brunswick to Ontario, south to Georgia, Illinois, and Nebraska .
Aids to Identification: Like other members of the genus Elymus, E. hystrix is a tall grass with flat leaf-blades and bristly terminal spikes. It is distinguished by its widely spreading spikelets, 2 spikelets borne at each node, and its long awns.
Ecological characteristics: In Maine this grass is known to occur on rich wooded slopes and alluvial floodplains with a variety of deciduous trees in the canopy.
Phenology: Fruits June - July.
Synonyms: Maine tracks this at the species level. There are two varieties in New England, both are known from Maine.
- Elymus hystrix L. var. bigeloviana (Fern.) Bowden, with synonym Hystrix patula Moench var. bigeloviana (Fern.) Deam.
- Elymus hystrix L. var. hystrix with synonyms Hystrix hystrix (L.) Millsp. and Hystrix patula Moench.
Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has been documented from a total of 18 town(s) in the following county(ies): Cumberland, Franklin, Kennebec, Knox, Oxford, Somerset, Waldo, York.
Reason(s) for rarity: Scarcity of suitable habitat.
Conservation considerations: This plant is restricted statewide to southern Maine, and most known populations are vulnerable to conversion of their habitat to residential or commercial use.