Elymus canadensis
Canadian wild rye
WTU specimens
Other herbaria

Distribution: Alaska south on the east side of the Cascades to California, east to Quebec, north Carolina and Texas

Habitat: Sandy, dry to moist meadows to mountain canyons.

Flowers: June - August

Origin: Native

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Tufted perennials, forming small clumps, the hollow culms up to 1.5 m. tall.


Sheaths open, usually glabrous; auricles well-developed; ligules 0.5-1.5 mm. long, with fine marginal hairs; blades flat, coarse, usually scabrous, 7-15 mm. broad, often glaucous.


Inflorescence a single terminal spike 10-20 cm. long, often drooping, the upper spikelets crowded, the lower barely overlapping; spikelets articulate above the glumes, 2- to 6-flowered, borne flatwise on the rachis, 2 per node; glumes scabrous, hardened, the base spreading, the awn slender and divergent; lemmas scabrid-pubescent, the body 10-15 mm. long, tapered gradually into a divergent, scabrid awn up to 3.5 cm. long; paleas nearly as long as the body of the lemmas.

Accepted Name:
Elymus canadensis L.
Publication: Sp. Pl. 1: 83–84. 1753.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Elymus philadelphicus L.
var. canadensis – Canadian wild rye
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Elymus canadensis in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Elymus canadensis checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Elymus canadensis atlas page.

CalPhotos: Elymus canadensis photos.

USDA Plants: Elymus canadensis information.

8 photographs:
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