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

Leymus innovatus (Beal) Pilg.
fuzzy-spiked wildrye (downy ryegrass)
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #6949)

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Distribution of Leymus innovatus
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Species Information

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Perennial, tufted grass from rhizomes; stems usually slightly hairy below the nodes and the inflorescence, mostly 40-80 (100) cm tall.
Sheaths open, minutely short appressed-hairy; blades stiff, usually smooth on the lower surfaces and minutely rough above, strongly in-rolled, 2-4 mm wide; ear-shaped lobes well-developed, prominent; ligules jagged with fine hairs, less than 1 mm long.
Inflorescence an erect spike, 4-9 (10) cm long, but rarely the lowest pair of spikelets considerably distant and the overall length of the spike up to 15 cm long; spikelets mostly paired, 3- to 5-flowered, unstalked, often purplish, the lowest 1 to 3 pairs usually much shorter than the internodes of the rachis, the upper ones 2 to 3 times as long; glumes very narrow, awl-like, stiff, hairy, nerveless or inconspicuously 1- to 3-nerved, 5-12 mm long, awn-tipped; lemmas long-hairy to appressed-hairy, 7-9 mm long, merely awn-tipped or with awns up to 3 (4) mm long; paleas subequal to the lemmas; anthers about 5 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry meadows, river terraces, grassy slopes and forests in the montane zone; frequent in SC and SE BC, less frequent in NW and NE BC; N to AK, YT and NT, E to ON and S to SD and WY.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Leymus innovatus

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) 6 975 2440
Slope Gradient (%) 0 19 262
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 192 360
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(4), BWBS(616), ESSF(65), ICH(2), IDF(17), MS(33), PP(1), SBPS(6), SBS(60), SWB(121)


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 brownii Scribn. & J.G. Sm.
Elymus innovatus Beal
Elymus innovatus var. glabratus Bowden
Elymus innovatus var. innovatus
Elymus innovatus var. velutinus Bowden
Leymus velutinus (Bowden) A. Löve & D. Löve

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References