Salina Wildrye

Salina Wildrye, courtesy of Roger Banner, USU Extension

Photo courtesy of Dr. Roger Banner, USU Extension

Common Name(s):

Salina Wildrye
Saline Wildrye

Scientific Name:

Leymus salinus (M.E. Jones) A. Löve

Scientific Name Synonyms:

Elymus salina M.E. Jones




Life Span: Perennial


Season: Cool

Growth Characteristics: An erect, perennial bunchgrass, with short rhizomes growing 1 ½ to 3 feet tall, with numerous slender seedstalks. Reproduces by seed.

Seedhead:Slender, erect spike, 2 to 4 ½ inches long; spikelets mostly one per node, solitary to slightly overlapping, contain 5 to 9 florets; glumes needlelike, tapering to awn tips, 1/8 to ¼ inch long; lemmas glabrous, awnless to awn-tipped.

Leaves: Mostly basal; blades rolled, firm, scabrous or rarely pubescent at base, and 4 to 6 inches long; sheaths scabrous; ligules short, membranous; auricles present or absent.

Ecological Adaptations:

Salina wildrye is a native grass, principally of the central Utah uplands. It occurs mainly on upland range sites and also on a few semi-desert and mountain sites in Carbon and Emery Counties, and to a lesser extent, in counties to the southwest and southeast of these two counties. Elevations range from 5000 to 7500 feet and rainfall varies from 10 to 16 inches annually.

Soils: It is found mostly on fine textured soils of shale parent material. Soils where it grows vary from shallow to deep and from loams to silty clay loam, often with coarse fragments-cobble, gravel, and stones.

Associated Species: Big sagebrush, shadscale, phlox, saltbush, and Utah juniper.

Uses and Management:

Salina wildrye is fair to poor forage for livestock and game animals, being most useful during the early spring. It is used to a limited extent by upland game birds and songbirds. It is a rather poor erosion control plant in pure stands because of it bunchiness. The foliage is harsh and tough to the touch. Salina wildrye is quite resistant to grazing.