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Photo: Bottlebrush Grass

Elymus hystrix L.

Bottlebrush Grass

Habitat: Rich, rocky, or alluvial deciduous forests. [Hardwood to mixed forest (forest, upland)]

Range: New Brunswick to Ontario, south to Georgia, Illinois, and Nebraska .

Aids to Identification: Like other members of the genus Elymus, E. hystrix is a tall grass with flat leaf-blades and bristly terminal spikes. It is distinguished by its widely spreading spikelets, 2 spikelets borne at each node, and its long awns.

Photo: Bottlebrush Grass

Ecological characteristics: In Maine this grass is known to occur on rich wooded slopes and alluvial floodplains with a variety of deciduous trees in the canopy.

Phenology: Fruits June - July.

Family: Poaceae

Synonyms: Formerly known as Hystrix hystrix (L.) Millsp., Hystrix patula Moench, Hystrix patula var. bigeloviana (Fern.) Deam, and Elymus hystrix L. var. bigeloviana (Fern.) Bowden.

Photo: Bottlebrush Grass

Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has been documented from a total of 14 town(s) in the following county(ies): Cumberland, Franklin, Kennebec, Knox, Oxford, Somerset, York.

Dates of documented observations are: 1897, 1900, 1903, 1905 (2), 1913, 1916, 1966, 1974, 1975, 1979, 1990, 1996, 1997, 1999 (2), 2000 (6), 2001 (5), 2002

Reason(s) for rarity: Scarcity of suitable habitat.

Conservation considerations: This plant is restricted statewide to southern Maine, and most known populations are vulnerable to conversion of their habitat to residential or commercial use.

Photo: Bottlebrush Grass
Photo: Bottlebrush Grass