Northern Wildrye - Elymus innovatus
State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Rare in Montana, where it is currently known from a few scattered sites east of the Divide. Additional population data are needed for the species witin Montana. Population trends are unknown and two occurrences are only known from historical collections.
Northern Wild-rye is a perennial grass that forms small clumps of stems that are 4-8 dm high and which arise from creeping rhizomes. The stiff leaves are 2-4 mm wide and have inrolled margins; they are glabrous on top but minutely roughened on the bottoms. The membranous crest on the leaf where it meets the stem, or ligule, is ca. 1 mm high and has hairs on the upper margin. Spikelets are arranged opposite each other at each node in a narrow spike that is 4-9 cm long and located at the top of the stem. Spikelets are often purplish and have a pair of narrow, awn-tipped glumes at their base. They have 3-5 flowers, each of which has an awned, hairy lemma that is 5-12 mm long and a smaller palea.
Fruiting in June and July.
E. GLAUCUS lacks rhizomes, and the leaf blades are 5-10 mm wide and the lemmas are smooth.
AK to B.C., east to Alta. and south to MT, WY, and SD. Peripheral.
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations:
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(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)
Moist meadows, forest margins and openings along rivers and streams in the valley and lower montane zones.
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
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- Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.