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

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

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #26092)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Elymus trachycaulus subsp. 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

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Late Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Spring to Summer
Source:  The USDA

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 ssp. 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) 170 1204 2550
Slope Gradient (%) 0 23 92
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 196 352
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: AT(28), BAFA(6), BG(3), BWBS(41), ESSF(31), ICH(10), IDF(63), MH(5), MS(16), PP(3), SBPS(53), SBS(68), SWB(12)


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

Agropyron brevifolium Scribn.
Agropyron caninum
Agropyron caninum subsp. majus (Vasey) C.L. Hitchc.
Agropyron caninum subsp. majus
Agropyron caninum var. andinum (Scribn. & J.G. Sm.) C.L. Hitchc.
Agropyron caninum var. hornemannii (Koch) Pease & Moore
Agropyron caninum var. mitchellii Welsh
Agropyron novae-angliae
Agropyron pauciflorum (Schwein.) Hitchc. ex Silveus
Agropyron pauciflorum subsp. majus (Vasey) Melderis
Agropyron pauciflorum subsp. novae-angliae (Scribn.) Melderis
Agropyron pauciflorum subsp. teslinense (Porsild & Senn) Melderis
Agropyron pauciflorum var. novae-angliae (Scribn.) Roy L. Taylor & MacBryde
Agropyron pauciflorum var. pauciflorum
Agropyron scribneri
Agropyron subsecundum var. andinum (Scribn. & J.G. Sm.) A.S. Hitchc.
Agropyron tenerum Vasey
Agropyron teslinense A.E. Porsild & Senn
Agropyron trachycaulum (Link) Malte ex H.F. Lewis
Agropyron trachycaulum var. majus (Vasey) Fern.
Agropyron trachycaulum var. novae-angliae (Scribn.) Fern.
Agropyron violaceum subsp. andinum (Scribn. & J.G. Sm.) Melderis
Agropyron violaceum var. andinum Scribn. & J.G. Sm.
Elymus donianus subsp. virescens (Lange) A. L÷ve & D. L÷ve
Elymus pauciflorus (Schwein.) Gould, non Lam.
Elymus trachycaulus subsp. andinus (Scribn. & J.G. Sm.) A.& D. L÷ve
Elymus trachycaulus subsp. novae-angliae (Scribn.) Tzvelev
Elymus trachycaulus subsp. teslinensis (Porsild & Senn) A. L÷ve
Elymus trachycaulus var. andinus (Scribn. & J.G. Sm.) Dorn
Elymus trachycaulus var. majus (Vasey) Beetle
Roegneria pauciflora (Schwein.) Hyl.
Roegneria trachycaula (Link) Nevski
Triticum trachycaulum Link

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References