Leymus cinereus (Basin wildrye)

Formerly known as Elymus cinereus. Robust, 4 to 6 ft. tall, cool season, perennial bunch grass which often spreads by short rhizomes. Very drought tolerant but also withstands periodic flooding and survives well on sub-irrigated sites. Adapted to a wide variety of sites in winter-wet and summer-dry climates. Excellent soil binder and provides outstanding winter feed above snow level.

native distribution

Map Coming Soon.jpg


Family: Poaceae

Duration: Perennial

Growth Habit: Graminoid

Native Status: Native

Season: Cool

Growth Form: Bunchgrass

Mature Height: 4-6 ft.

Annual Precipitation: 8-20 in.

Drought Tolerance: Medium

Shade Tolerance: Intolerant


Wetland Indicator Status: FAC

Fire Resistance: No

Fire Tolerance: High


Coarse Texture: Yes

Medium Texture: Yes

Fine Texture: Yes

Salinity Tolerance: High

CaCO3 Tolerance: High

pH Range: 5.6-9.0


Seeds per Pound: 144,000

Seeding Rate: 6-12 PLS lbs/acre

Season: Spring/Fall

Days to Germination:


Crooked River - Source Identified selection out of Crook County, OR.

CTUIR - Source Identified selection out of Umatilla County, OR.

Grand Ronde - Source Identified selection out of Union County, OR.

Magnar - Very robust and productive, reaching heights over 8 ft. Cold hardy, long-lived and drought tolerant. Survives on alkaline sites and on sites with moderately high water tables. (Released 1979, source of ecotype: Saskatchewan, Canada)

NBR - Source Identified selection out of Malheur County, OR.

Trailhead - A very drought-hardy strain which is superior to other cultivars or native sources in productivity and stand longevity under dry, hot conditions. Survives in areas receiving as little as 6 inches of annual precipitation. (Released 1991, source of ecotype: Roundup, MT)