Elymus lanceolatus ssp. lanceolatus (Thickspike wheatgrass)

Formerly Agropyron dasystachyum. Cool season, strongly rhizomatous, sod-forming drought tolerant perennial. Long-lived and similar appearance to Western wheatgrass (Pascopyrum smithii) but ripens three weeks earlier. Adapted to a wide range of sites but prefers well-drained medium to sandy textured soils. Palatability generally good year-round for livestock and wildlife. Varieties listed below.

native distribution

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Family: Poaceae

Duration: Perennial, long-lived

Growth Habit: Graminoid

Native Status: Native

Season: Cool

Growth Form: Rhizomatous

Mature Height: 27 in.

Annual Precipitation: 8-25 in.

Drought Tolerance: High

Shade Tolerance: Intolerant


Wetland Indicator Status:

Fire Resistance: No

Fire Tolerance: High


Coarse Texture: Yes

Medium Texture: Yes

Fine Texture: Yes

Salinity Tolerance: Medium

CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium

pH Range: 6.6-8.4


Seeds per Pound: 153,000

Seeding Rate: 6-8 PLS lbs/acre

Season: Spring/Fall

Days to Germination:


Bannock - Composite from accessions in several western states. Long-lived, leafy variety with moderate sod-producing qualities. Able to grow in some clayey soils. Rapid establishment and high forage production. (Released 1995)

Bannock II - Greater seedling establishment than previous releases, including Sodar (Streambank wheatgrass, E. lanceolatus ssp. psammophilus). Better seed producer than Bannock, Critana and Sodar. (Released 2015)

Critana - Developed for strong sodding ability on dry sites. Strong seedling vigor; great for site stabilization including sand dunes. (Released 1971)

Schwendimar - Adapted west of the Rocky Mountains on sites receiving as low as 8 in. annual precipitation; specially on coarse soils. (Released 1994)