Elymus wawawaiensis (Snake River wheatgrass)

Cool season, long-lived, perennial bunchgrass formerly thought to be a regional type of Bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata ssp. spicata). Similar to Bluebunch wheatgrass in appearance, growth characteristics and adaptation, but more drought tolerant, resulting in it often being used in place of Bluebunch throughout the western U.S., though its natural distribution is limited to Idaho, Washington and Oregon. Palatable to livestock and wildlife, especially in the spring. Heavy spring grazing is detrimental to vigor and longevity. Varieties listed below.


Elymus wawawaiensis (Snake River wheatgrass) map.png


Family: Poaceae

Duration: Perennial

Growth Habit: Graminoid

Native Status: Native

Season: Cool

Growth Form: Bunchgrass

Mature Height: 36 in.

Annual Precipitation: 5-16 in.

Drought Tolerance: High

Shade Tolerance: Intolerant

Elevation: up to 10,000 ft.

Wetland Indicator Status: FACU

Fire Resistance: No

Fire Tolerance: Medium


Coarse Texture: Yes

Medium Texture: Yes

Fine Texture: No

Salinity Tolerance: Low

CaCO3 Tolerance: High

pH Range: 6.0-8.4


Seeds per Pound: 120,000

Seeding Rate: 12-16 PLS lbs/acre

Season: Spring/Fall

Days to Germination:


Discovery - Enhanced stand establishment of rangeland seedings. Seedlings are more persistent during summer drought than those of Secar. Higher dry-matter and seed yields than Secar. (Released 2008)

Secar - Originally considered to be a Bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata ssp. spicata). Low elevation dryland ecotype with excellent drought tolerance and longevity. Matures early and produces numerous fine stems and leaves. (Released 1980)