Page authors: David Giblin, Don Knoke
Leymus cinereus
Great Basin lyme grass

Distribution: East of the Cascades in Washington; central and western North America.

Habitat: Sagebrush-steppe, arid grasslands, forest edges, and other dry, open areas in the intermountain west.

Flowers: June-July

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Tufted perennial with short rhizomes, the culms puberulent, 1-2 m. tall in clumps up to 1 m. broad.


Sheaths open; auricles well-developed on some leaves; ligules 3-7 mm. long, puberulent; blades flat, 10-20 mm. broad, very tough, scabrous.


Inflorescence a terminal, stiff spike 12-20 cm. long, the spike sometimes compound; spikelets usually 3 per node, often one or more pedicillate; spikelets 4- to 6-flowered; glumes narrow, tapered from the base, 10-20 mm. long; lemmas 10-15 mm. long usually with awns 2-7 mm. long; paleas about equal to the lemmas.

Accepted Name:
Leymus cinereus (Scribn. & Merr.) Á. Löve
Publication: Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 29(7): 467. 1902.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Aneurolepidium piperi (Bowden) B.R. Baum
Elymus cinereus Scribn. & Merr. [HC]
Elymus cinereus Scribn. & Merr. var. cinereus [HC]
Elymus cinereus Scribn. & Merr. var. pubens (Piper) C.L. Hitchc. [HC]
Elymus condensatus J. Presl var. pubens Piper
Elymus piperi Bowden
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Leymus cinereus in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Leymus cinereus checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Leymus cinereus atlas page.

CalPhotos: Leymus cinereus photos.

USDA Plants: Leymus cinereus information.

49 photographs:
Group by