Inclusion in Plant ID / Comparison Guides

This photo is featured in 3 plant ID/comparison guides:

collage of Riverbank Wildrye and Silky Wild Rye

Riverbank Wildrye (Elymus riparius) vs. Silky Wild Rye (Elymus villosus)

Updated June 16th, 2023

These two species are visually similar, and can occur together in the same habitat, but they can be easily distinguished by the presence or absence of pubescence as well as differences in their spikes and foliage color. Elymus riparius is more limited to moist, usually riparian habitats, and ranges farther northeast, whereas Elymus villosus can be found in drier habitats as well, and ranges farther west and slightly farther south on the east coast. These species are not known to hybridize.

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collage of Canada Wildrye and Riverbank Wildrye

Canada Wildrye (Elymus canadensis) vs. Riverbank Wildrye (Elymus riparius)

Updated February 13th, 2023

These two species are easily confused, especially early in the season before spikes dry out. Both can be glaucous and both have long, drooping spikes. They are readily distinguished by whether or not the awns curl later in the season. E. riparius is more restricted to moist, usually riparian habitats, tolerates greater shade, and ranges farther south in the east of its range. E. canadensis prefers sunnier and more disturbed habitats, can occur in drier habitats, and ranges much farther west.

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collage of Early Wildrye and Riverbank Wildrye

Early Wildrye (Elymus macgregorii) vs. Riverbank Wildrye (Elymus riparius)

Updated December 31st, 2022

These two species can be confused as both can be glaucous and occur in moist bottomland woods. They are usually distinguished by spikes and bloom time. Although their habitats overlap, E. riparius ranges farther north and is more likely on alluvial soils and the lower portions of floodplains, often growing directly up to the water's edge, whereas E. macgregorii ranges farther south and west, is restricted to well-drained sites with deep, calcareous soils, and ventures into mesic upland woods.

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