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

Elymus trachycaulus (Link) Gould ex Shinners
slender wheatgrass
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Percy Folkard  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #32579)

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Distribution of Elymus trachycaulus
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Species Information

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Perennial, tufted grass from fibrous roots, sometimes with short rhizomes; stems 30-120 cm tall, erect, the nodes exposed, smooth.
Sheaths smooth or sometimes hairy; blades 2-5 mm wide, flat to in-rolled, somewhat concentrated around the base of the stems, ear-shaped lobes lacking at the leaf-bases or if present, to 0.5 mm long; ligules up to 0.5 mm long, blunt, entire.
Inflorescence spikelike, 4-25 cm long, 4-10 mm wide, with 1 spikelet per node; spikelets 9-16 mm long, 2 times as long as the internodes, with 3 to 5 (7) florets; glumes unequal, 6-12 mm long, 3/4 to as long as the lemmas, the tips pointed or shortly awned; lemmas 6-13 mm long, smooth near the base and rough above, the tips pointed to awned, the awns up to 40 mm long; anthers 0.8-3 mm long.
Two subspecies are recognized in BC:

1. Lemmas awned, the awns 15-40 mm long, longer than the bodies................. ssp. subsecundus (Link) A. & D. Love

1. Lemmas unawned or awned, the awns less than 13 mm long, shorter than the bodies................ ssp. trachycaulus.

The hybrid Elymus x macounii Vasey (Elyhordeum x macounii [Vasey] Barkw. & D. R. Dewey, Elymordeum x macounii [Vasey] Barkw.) is sporadic in BC. It is mainly a hybrid between E. trachycaulus and Hordeum jubatum.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry grasslands, meadows, forest openings and rocky ridges and slopes in all vegetation zones; spp. subsecundus - frequent in S BC, less frequent northward; ssp. trachycaulus - common throughout BC; N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to ME, MA, PA, NC, IN, MO, TX, NM, AZ, MX and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Elymus trachycaulus

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) 1 1224 2682
Slope Gradient (%) 0 23 101
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 185 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 7
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: BAFA(7), BG(42), BWBS(25), CWH(2), ESSF(109), ICH(8), IDF(165), IMA(10), MS(22), PP(25), SBPS(30), SBS(39), SWB(2)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References