E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Agropyron cristatum (L.) Gaertn.
Crested Wheat Grass (crested wheatgrass)
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #85642)

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Distribution of Agropyron cristatum
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Agropyron cristatum ssp. pectinatum

Species Information

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Perennial, tufted grass from fibrous roots; stems (30) 50-100 cm tall, usually soft-hairy below the spike.
Sheaths open, the lower ones smooth to somewhat long-hairy or soft-hairy; blades soft-hairy on the upper surfaces, flat, 1.5-5 (10) mm wide; ear-shaped lobes at the leaf-bases slender, about 1 mm long; ligules fringed with fine hairs, scarcely 1 mm long.
Inflorescence a dense, oblong, flattened spike, 1.5-5 (13) cm long, the rachis rough short-hairy; spikelets closely overlapping, less than 1 mm apart, spreading at an angle of 30degree or more to the rachis, mostly 5- to 7- (8-) flowered, (5) 7-12 (15) mm long, separated by short rachis internodes (0.7) 1-1.9 (2.3) mm long; glumes short-awned, the awns gradually tapering, 2-4 mm long; lemmas short-awned, the awns sometimes slightly bent, 2-4 mm long.
The three Agropyron species occurring in BC hybridize readily when growing together, forming morphologically intermediate plants. In addition, some cultivars are also intermediate, being derived from hybrids. Consequently, identification of Agropyron species in North America is often extremely difficult. In many instances, it may be best to refer to plants of this genus as A. cristatum sens. lat., the last phrase indicating no distinction is being made between the three species.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry to mesic roadsides, fields and waste places in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; frequent in SC and SE BC, rare in SW BC; introduced from Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Agropyron cristatum

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 353 865 1985
Slope Gradient (%) 0 13 90
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
20 205 338
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 3 6
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BG(20), ESSF(1), ICH(1), IDF(27), MS(4), PP(8), SBPS(1)

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References