Elymus curvatus Piper

awnless wild-rye

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Awnless wild-rye is a rare exotic grass that inhabits disturbed soils, mainly near coastal beaches and ports in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The genus name, "Elymus," is derived from a Greek word meaning "rolled up," which refers to the palea and lemma that are tightly rolled around the seed. Also, the rust-colored leaf sheathes sometimes tightly enclose the growing spike, especially in stressed habitats. The leaves often have a bluish cast (they are glaucous).

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats)

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
Rhode Island
Leaf blade width
5–15 mm
Inflorescence branches
there are no branch points between the base of the inflorescence axis and the flowers, or they are not obvious
Spikelet length
10–15 mm
Glume relative length
  • both glumes are as long or longer than all of the florets
  • neither glume is quite as long as all of the florets
Awn on glume
  • the glume has an awn
  • the glume has no awn
One or more florets
there is more than one floret per spikelet
Lemma awn length
0.5–10 mm
Leaf sheath hair type
there are no hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
Leaf ligule length
Up to 1 mm
Anther length
1.5–3 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Anther length
    1.5–3 mm
    Anther number
    3
    Awn on glume
    • the glume has an awn
    • the glume has no awn
    Bristles below spikelets
    no
    Floret lower bract texture
    the lemma is thin and flexible
    Floret number
    2–5
    Floret types within spikelet
    there are at least two distinct forms of florets within one spikelet
    Glume awn length
    0–5 mm
    Glume keel
    NA
    Glume relative length
    • both glumes are as long or longer than all of the florets
    • neither glume is quite as long as all of the florets
    Glume shape
    the glume is flat or curved in cross-section
    Glume veins
    • 3
    • 5
    Glumes per spikelet
    2
    Inflorescence arrangement
    the spikelets are uniform
    Inflorescence axis hairs
    • the inflorescence axis is rough and feels like sand-paper
    • the inflorescence axis is smooth and has no hairs
    Inflorescence axis orientation
    the inflorescence axis is straight
    Inflorescence branch length
    0 cm
    Inflorescence branch roughness
    NA
    Inflorescence branches
    there are no branch points between the base of the inflorescence axis and the flowers, or they are not obvious
    Inflorescence branches coming off the lowest stem node
    0
    Inflorescence crowding
    NA
    Inflorescence length
    90–150 mm
    Inflorescence length to width ratio
    11.5–18
    Inflorescence type (general)
    the inflorescence is a spike, or is spike-like, lacking obvious branches
    Inflorescence type (specific)
    the inflorescence is a spike (a long unbranched stem with flowers along it that lack stalks)
    Inflorescence width
    5–13 mm
    Inforescence position
    the spikelets are mainly carried at the end of the stem
    Lemma awn base
    the awn is attached right at the tip of the lemma
    Lemma awn coiled
    the lemma awn is straight or twisted, but not coiled one half turn
    Lemma awn length
    0.5–10 mm
    Lemma awn number
    • the lemma has no awn
    • the lemma has one awn on it
    Lemma awn orientation
    the awn of the lemma is straight
    Lemma cross-section
    the lemma is flat or rounded if you cut across the midpoint
    Lemma hairs
    • the lemma has fine hairs between the veins
    • the lemma is hairless between the veins
    Lemma keel hairs
    NA
    Lemma marginal vein hairs
    • the marginal vein of the lemma has fine hairs on it
    • the marginal vein of the lemma is hairless
    Lemma surface
    the surface of the lemma is relatively smooth (not counting any longitudinal veins or hairs)
    Lemma tip
    the lemma tip is a simple point, with or without an awn (long narrow extension ending in a point)
    Lemma tip shape
    the lemma tip tapers to a narrow point (it may or may not also have an awn or teeth at the tip)
    Lemma vein number
    5
    Lemma vein orientation
    the veins on the lemma stay roughly parallel throughout
    Lower glume length
    7–18 mm
    Lower glume relative length
    the lower glume is nearly as long, or as long as, the upper glume
    One or more florets
    there is more than one floret per spikelet
    Palea length
    6–10 mm
    Palea relative length
    palea is one half to fully as long as lemma
    Reproductive system
    all the flowers on the plant have both carpels and stamens (synoecious)
    Spikelet axis tip
    there is no extension of the spikelet axis beyond the tip of the spikelet
    Spikelet disintegration
    • the spikelet breaks off above the glumes, so that after the florets fall off, the glumes remain
    • the spikelet breaks off below the glumes
    Spikelet length
    10–15 mm
    Spikelet number per node
    Up to 2
    Spikelet pedicel
    the spikelets do not have pedicels
    Spikelet pedicel length
    0 mm
    Spikelet position
    NA
    Spikelets per panicle branch
    0
    Spikelets spiny
    the spikelets do not appear spiny
    Tip of glume
    the tip of the glume is not divided (though it may have an awn on it)
    Upper glume length
    7–18 mm
    Upper glume relative length
    the upper glume is more than one half as long as the lowest lemma
  • Fruits or seeds
    Groove on seed
    the caryopsis has a groove running most of its length
  • Growth form
    Horizontal rooting stem
    no
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Rhizomes
    no
    Roots
    there are only slender roots on the plant
  • Leaves
    Basal leaves
    the plant has few or no leaves coming from the base of the flowering stem
    Leaf auricles
    • the leaves do not have auricles
    • the leaves have auricles
    Leaf blade cross-section
    • the leaf blade is clearly folded or rolled inwards
    • the leaf blade is more or less flat in cross-section, or slightly folded or rolled inwards
    Leaf blade hairs
    the leaf blade is hairless, but it may have tiny prickles that give it a sand-papery feel
    Leaf blade texture
    • the leaf blade is rough and sandpapery
    • the leaf blade is smooth, or it may have soft hairs
    Leaf blade width
    5–15 mm
    Leaf ligule length
    Up to 1 mm
    Leaf ligule type
    the leaf ligule is in the form of a membrane with fine hairs
    Leaf margin glands
    there are no glands along the edges of the leaf blade
    Leaf sheath closed around stem
    the margins of the leaf sheath are overlapping and not fused together except in the basal half (or less)
    Leaf sheath hair type
    there are no hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
    Leaf sheath hairs
    there are no hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
    Orientation of topmost leaf
    the flag leaf is held upright, or at less than a 45 degree angle out from the stem
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    Rhode Island
    Specific habitat
    man-made or disturbed habitats
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Hairs at nodes
    the stem nodes are hairless or they have very sparse hairs
    Plant height
    60–110 cm
    Stem node number
    6–9
    Stem orientation
    • the stems are upright
    • the stems trail at the base, but turn upwards at the tips
    Stem spacing
    the stems grow close together in compact clusters or tufts

Wetland Status

Occurs in wetlands or non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FAC)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
absent
Maine
absent
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
absent
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
absent

Conservation Status

None

Native to North America?

Yes and no (some introduced)

Sometimes Confused With

Elymus virginicus:
lemma awns mostly 3-15 mm long and leaf blades flat or involute, usually laxly spreading (vs. E. curvatus, with lemma awns absent or up to 3 mm long and leaf blades often somewhat involute, usually ascending).

Synonyms

  • Elymus submuticus (Hook.) Smyth & Smyth
  • Elymus virginicus L. var. submuticus Hook.

Family

Poaceae

Genus

Elymus

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

2.  Elymus curvatus Piper E

awnless wild-rye. Elymus submuticus (Hook.) Smyth & Smyth; E. virginicus L. var. submuticus Hook. • MA, RI. Disturbed soil near coastal beaches and ports.