Russian wildrye

(Psathyrostachys juncea (Fisch.) Nevski)




Synonyms
Elymus junceus Fisch.; Elymus sibiricus L.; Hordeum sibiricum (L.) Schenck
Description
Russian wildrye is a tall (up to 3 m) cool season, bunch grass, perennial forming large clumps over three feet in diameter. The nodes of the inflorescence often bear 3 spikelets, but differ from barley in having more than one floret per spikelet.
Distribution and habitat
This grass introduced in 1927 from Russia. It has proved adapted to the Northern Great Plains and Intermountain Regions, where it is used primarily for pasture. Growth starts early in spring and is concentrated in valley bottoms, roadsides, gullies, a nd edges of forests up to 9,000 feet.
General information
The plants are leafy and nutritious, with dense basal leaves. Russian wildrye is adapted for either fall or early spring grazing and under some circumstances for spring-fall use. Grazing Russian wildrye when plants are rapidly replenishing reserves or before maturity reduces subsequent new growth and carbohydrate reserve stores in the autumn. Seedling vigor is low, but once established, plants are deep- rooted, drought resistant and salt tolerant.