Tom's Blog

Monday, December 2, 2013

Small invasion of Canada wild rye

Canada wild rye (Elymus canadensis) is often a substantial part of the seed mix for new prairie plantings, since it gets established quickly and acts as a native nurse plant for prairie seedlings. Since it is a short-lived perennial, it eventually is replaced by the permanent prairie grasses, such as Indian grass, and big and little bluestem.

We have never used this species in our prairie or savanna plantings, but even so, there are small patches here and there about the Conservancy. Where have they come from? Probably as a contaminant in the seeds of some other species. (It's difficult to guarantee complete seed purity.)

Small patch of Canada wild rye established in the Circle at the top of the ridge.
The long, curled awns are characteristic of this species.

The patch here consists of less than a dozen flower stalks, mixed in with Indian grass and little bluestem. 


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