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Elymus hystrix (Eastern bottlebrush grass)
Smith, R.W.

Elymus hystrix

Elymus hystrix L.

Eastern bottlebrush grass, Bottlebrush Grass

Poaceae (Grass Family)


USDA Symbol: elhy

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Greenish-brown, bristly spikelets in several to many clusters along a terminal spike atop an erect smooth stem.

Together, the groups of spikelets resemble a bottlebrush, hence the common name. The species name, from the Greek hystrix (hedgehog), aptly describes the bristly spikelets. This grass is sometimes known as Hystrix patula.


Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Linear
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Fruit Type: Caryopsis
Size Class: 1-3 ft. , 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Green
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug


USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: MB , NB , NS , ON , QC
Native Distribution: Manitoba east to Nova Scotia, south to Georgia, west to Oklahoma, and north to North Dakota.
Native Habitat: Woods

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil Description: Loam


Use Ornamental: A grass that does well in a woodland garden with other species that grow in filtered light
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Butterflies
Larval Host: Northern Pearly Eye, (Enodia anthedon)

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Elymus hystrix is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Northern Pearly Eye
(Enodia anthedon)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery - Orefield, PA
Sunshine Farm & Gardens - Renick, WV
American Native Nursery - Quakertown, PA
Toadshade Wildflower Farm - Frenchtown, NJ
Prairie Nursery - Westfield, WI

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
* Available Online from Wildflower Center Store


Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
* The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Elymus hystrix in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Elymus hystrix in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Elymus hystrix


Record Modified: 2012-12-07
Research By: TWC Staff

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