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Canada Wildrye


Common Name Canada Wildrye

Latin Name: Elymus canadensis

[Pronounced: "ELL-eh-muss can-ah-DEN-siss"]

Type of Plant: Prairie Grass

Identification Helps: This species is easily identified by its large, dropping wheat-like seed heads.

Similar Species: Virginia wildrye, E. virginicus, has similar wheat-like heads, but they don't droop.

Preferred Growing Conditions in the Wild: This grass grows in successional or disturbed prairies. It is uncommon or absent in fully established, mature or ancient prairies. It grows quickly and well on open or disturbed sites but retreats with the full competition of other prairie tallgrasses.

Seasons of Growth and Bloom: This grass blooms in as early as July on through October.

Natural Distribution in Ohio: It grows throughout all of Ohio's prairie regions.

Description and General Information: Elymus canadensis is one of the easiest prairie grasses to identify, with its characteristic large drooping seedheads. It sometimes grows in non-prairie areas, especially along streams and ditches and other disturbed sites. It grows best in more porous soils.

When seeded, it grows quickly and easily. It is used in many prairie restorations and creations, where it can become the dominant grass until other tallgrasses begin to dominate.