Elymus diversiglumis Scribn. & Ball
Species Image Gallery
(opens in a new window)
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Elymus
Species Synonyms: Elymus interruptus auct. non Buckl.
Common Names: diverseglume wildrye
Texas wildrye
variable-glumed wildrye
interrupted wildrye
Canada: Saskatchewan – Manitoba – western Ontario
Saskatchewan: eastern and central Saskatchewan; Prince Albert – Saskatoon – Souris River Valley
Ecoregion: Moist Mixed Grassland, Aspen Parkland, Boreal Transition, Mid-Boreal Lowland
Saskatchewan: moist rich deciduous woods and thickets
Canada: thickets and woods
Provincial Status According
to Harms (2003):
Nature Conservancy Status:
G5 S2
Saskatchewan Species at
Risk Status:
Diverseglume wildrye is threatened because it is rare or uncommon in Saskatchewan. Possible threats, including habitat loss, have been identified for this species.
Height: 80 – 150 cm
Roots: fibrous; rhizomes lacking
Stems: tufted, hollow, green or bluish
Leaves: 8 – 40 cm long, 8 – 13 mm wide, flat, long-hairy on nerves of upper surface, hairless below; sheaths hairless; ligules 1 – 2.5 mm long, membranous; ear-like lobes at base of leaf inconspicuous to 2 mm long
Inflorescence: spikes arching at maturity, 8 – 24 cm long, loose
Spikelets: 1 – 3 per node of central axis, closely appressed, containing 2 – 4 florets
Florets: glumes bristle-like or absent, unequal, 2 – 6 mm long, less than 0.5 mm wide, base rounded and hardened; lemma 8 – 12 mm long (excluding awn), hairy; lemma awn 2 – 3 cm long, divergent at maturity; palea 8 – 9 mm long, shorter than lemma
Fruits: grain
1 Spikelets 2 or 3 at each node or central axis, 1 – 6-flowered; lemmas obscurely 5-nerved
1 Spikelets solitary at each node of central axis, each spikelet with at least 2 florets; lemmas 5 – 7-nerved
2 Glumes, if present, bristle-like, divided to base into 2 divergent awns; central axis of spike readily separating; plants mostly 10 – 50 cm tall
E. elymoides ssp. elymoides
2 Glumes bristle-like or not; central axis of spike not readily separating; plants mostly taller than 50 cm
3 Glume margins membranous, not nerved; lemmas hairless to rough hairy
E. glaucus ssp. glaucus
3 Glume margins thickened, hard, and nerved; lemmas densely hairy
4 Glumes bristle-like, reduced or absent, usually < 6 mm long (excluding awn) and 0.5 mm wide
E. diversiglumis
4 Glumes linear, usually at least 1 cm long (excluding awn) and 1 – 2 mm wide
5 Glumes shorter than lemma body; lemma awns divergent at maturity; base of glume flattened
5 Glumes equal to or longer than lemma body; lemma awns straight at maturity; base of glume rounded or bowed
6 Leaves firm, hairless or rough hairy above; spikes arching; palea to 1.1 cm long
E. canadensis var. canadensis
6 Leaves thin, long hairy above; spike pendulous; palea to 1.5 cm long
E. canadensis var. wiegandii
7 Glumes and lemmas long-awned (to 1.5 cm)
E. virginicus var. virginicus
7 Glumes and lemmas sharp-tipped to short-awned (< 2 mm)
E. virginicus var. submuticus
8 Rhizomes short or absent; florets separating above the glumes; anthers 1.5 – 2 mm long
8 Rhizomes long and creeping; florets separating below the glumes; anthers 3 – 7 mm long
9 Awns equal to or longer than lemma
E. trachycaulus ssp. subsecundus
9 Awns absent or much shorter than lemma
E. trachycaulus ssp. trachycaulus
10 Leaves flat, 4 – 8 mm wide, green; lemmas hairless or nearly so
E. repens
10 Leaves rolled, 1 – 3 mm wide, bluish; lemmas usually hairy
11 Glumes 2 – 3-nerved; lemmas long-awned
E. albicans
11 Glumes 3 – 5-nerved; lemmas awnless
12 Spikes to 25 cm long, central axis hairy below spikelets; glumes conspicuously 5-nerved; lemmas densely hairy
E. lanceolatus ssp. psammophilus
12 Spikes to 15 cm long, central axis hairless below spikelets; glumes 3-nerved, only the midvein conspicuous; lemmas hairless or hairy
13 Lemmas hairless or rough-hairy
E. lanceolatus ssp. lanceolatus var. riparium
13 Lemmas long-hairy
E. lanceolatus ssp. lanceolatus var. lanceolatus
*Elymus hybrids occur naturally in Saskatchewan. E. X maltei (E. canadensis x E. virginicus) and E. X pseudorepens (E. trachycaulus x E. lanceolatus) are examples.