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collage of Eastern Bottlebrush Grass and Silky Wild Rye

Eastern Bottlebrush Grass (Elymus hystrix) vs. Silky Wild Rye (Elymus villosus)

Updated November 2nd, 2023

These species are sometimes confused, as both are among the earlier Elymus species both to bloom and distribute their seeds, their habitats largely overlap, and both are widely used in ecological restoration projects and occasionally in gardens. They are easy to tell apart by their spikes, and can usually be distinguished by foliage too. E. villosus ranges farther west and slightly farther south, whereas E. hystrix ranges farther north and tolerates more shade and more ground-level competition, but requires more leaf litter in the soil.

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