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Elymus hystrix var. hystrix (Eastern bottlebrush grass)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Elymus hystrix var. hystrix

Elymus hystrix L. var. hystrix

Eastern Bottlebrush Grass, Bottle-brush Grass

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Synonym(s): Hystrix hystrix, Hystrix patula

USDA Symbol: elhyh

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

The light-green, upright flower clusters are this perennial grass’ most interesting feature. They are 2-4 in. wide and 6-8 in. long; the bristle-tipped seeds giving the effect of a bottle brush. Bottle-brush grass grows to almost 5 ft. tall. Wide, wavy-margined leaves are held horizontally from the stalk.


From the Image Gallery

3 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Fruit Type: Caryopsis
Size Notes: Up to about 5 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Green , Brown
Bloom Time: 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: NB , QC
Native Distribution: S.w. ME to e. ND, s. to GA, TN, n. AR & e. KS
Native Habitat: Rich or rocky, open woods

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Dry to mesic soils.
Conditions Comments: Bottlebrush grass is somewhat lax-stemmed and is better suited to informal areas. It is one of the few true grasses that prefer shade.


Use Wildlife: Birds, Butterflies
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds


Description: Propagate by seed or division.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

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

North American Native Plant Society - Etobicoke, ON

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-01-24
Research By: TWC Staff

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