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

Elymus glaucus subsp. virescens Buckley (Piper) Gould
blue wildrye
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants
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E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Elymus glaucus subsp. virescens
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Species Information

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Perennial, bluish, tufted grass from fibrous roots or short rhizomes; stems 30-180 cm tall, erect or slightly decumbent at the base, the nodes exposed and often covered with dense short hairs.
Sheaths smooth to rough, white-hairy close to the base, often purplish at the stem-base; blades 4-13 mm wide, lax, flat or slightly in-rolled, bluish-green, rough on the nerves, sometimes hairy, ear-shaped lobes at the leaf-bases up to 2.5 mm long, often purple; ligules up to 1 mm long, entire or ragged.
Inflorescence a spike 5-21 cm long, 0.5-2 cm wide, erect to slightly nodding, rarely pendent, (1) 2 to 3 spikelets per node; spikelets 8-25 mm long, purplish, with bases often overlapping, with 2 to 4 (6) fertile florets; glumes 9-14 mm long, unawned or awned, the awns 1-5 mm long; lemmas 9-14 mm long, smooth to short-hairy at least on the nerves, the awns 1-25 mm long, straight to slightly curved; anthers 1.5-3.5 mm long.
Two subspecies occur in BC:

1. Lemmas awnless or awned, the awns less than 5 mm long................... ssp. virescens (Piper) Gould

1. Lemmas awned, the awns greater than 5 mm long.................... ssp. glaucus

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to dry slopes, meadows and open forests in the lowland and montane to subalpine zones; ssp. glaucus - common in S BC, less frequent north of 55 degrees N; ssp. virescens - infrequent in coastal BC, rare E of the Coast-Cascade Mountains; ssp. glaucus - N to SE AK and YT, E to ON and S to NY, IL, AR, TX, NM, AZ and CA; ssp. virescens - S to CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Elymus glaucus ssp. virescens

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) 900 1132 1306
Slope Gradient (%) 0 1 5
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
195 218 242
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
4 5 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: IDF(1), MS(2), SBS(1)


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.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Elymus glaucus var. virescens (Piper) Bowden
Elymus virescens Piper

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References