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Leymus cinereus (Basin wildrye)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Leymus cinereus

Leymus cinereus (Scribn. & Merr.) Á. Löve

Basin Wildrye, Great Basin Lyme Grass, Great Basin Wildrye

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Synonym(s): Aneurolepidium piperi, Elymus cinereus, Elymus cinereus var. pubens, Elymus condensatus var. pubens, Elymus piperi

USDA Symbol: LECI4

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

Much like common rye grass, this tall, robust, cool-season grass grows in bunches often 1 ft. or more across. The leaves are flat and 1-3 ft. long. There is a single, erect, dense seed head, 5-8 in. long, at the end of each 2-6 ft. culm. Great Basin lyme grass is a short-lived perennial.


From the Image Gallery

7 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Leaf: Green
Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr


USA: AZ , CA , CO , ID , MN , MT , NE , NM , NV , OR , UT , WA , WY
Canada: BC , SK
Native Distribution: B.C. to Sask., s. to s. CA & NM
Native Habitat: River banks; ravines; moist or dry slopes & plains

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Dry to moist, sandy soils.
Conditions Comments: This grass tolerates salt and drought and adapts to wet winters and dry summers. It is good for binding sandy, loose soils.


Description: Sow seed.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Seeds germinate without treatment.
Commercially Avail: yes

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 Organizations Directory

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

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1995 VOL. 12, NO.3 - Explore the Big Bend With the Wildflower Center, Education Director\'s Report, T...

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2009-02-20
Research By: TWC Staff

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