Comprehensive Description

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General: Grass Family (Poaceae). Basin wildrye is a large, coarse, robust, perennial bunchgrass. It is a long-lived cool season native with an extensive deep coarse fibrous root system.

Basin wildrye has long leaf blades (15 to 25 inches) and flat wide (up to 3/4 inch) leaves with long pointed auricles. The reproductive stems are dense, stout, and strongly erect. Seed heads are 6 to 10 inches long. Basin wildrye clumps may reach 3 feet in diameter and 3 to 6 feet tall (10 feet under excellent soil and climate conditions). Growing points are 10 to 12 inches above the crown.

Basin wildrye has fair seedling vigor. It is one of the first grasses to initiate spring growth and produces an abundance of basal leaf growth until the development of seed heads in mid-June to mid-July. Following the development of seed heads, basin wildrye produces very little additional basal leaf growth and rapidly becomes coarse and mostly stems. Re-growth does not occur following seed production.

Distribution: It is native to the Great Plains and Intermountain regions of the western United States. For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.


Public Domain

USDA NRCS Idaho State Office & the National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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