Psathyrostachys juncea (Russian wildrye)

Formerly Elymus junceus. Cool season, perennial bunchgrass with an extensive horizontal root system. Adapted a wide range of soil textures and infertile soils; moderately saline and alkaline tolerant. Very drought tolerant, surviving with as little as 8 in. annual precipitation. Cold hardy. May be difficult to establish, but extremely competitive and long-lived thereafter. Starts growth in early spring, produces abundant green basal leave forage. Excellent palatability and can be grazed from late summer through winter, retaining its protein content even when cured. Tolerant of heavy grazing and regrows quickly. Most of the forage sits low in the basal leaves; unsuited for hay production. Use also for arid rangelands, dryland pasture, green strips and fuel breaks. Varieties listed below.


Psathyrostachys juncea (Russian wildrye) map.png


Family: Poaceae

Duration: Perennial

Growth Habit: Graminoid

Native Status: Introduced

Season: Cool

Growth Form: Bunchgrass

Mature Height: 36 in.

Annual Precipitation: 10-45 in.

Drought Tolerance: High

Shade Tolerance: Intolerant


Wetland Indicator Status:UPL/FAC

Fire Resistance: No

Fire Tolerance: Medium


Coarse Texture: No

Medium Texture: Yes

Fine Texture: Yes

Salinity Tolerance: Medium

CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium

pH Range: 6.5-9.0


Seeds per Pound: 162,600

Seeding Rate: 5-10 PLS lbs/acre

Season: Fall

Days to Germination:


Boizoisky Select - Good seedling vigor, stand establishment and forage yield. (Released 1984)

Boizoisky II - Selected for seedling vigor, seed mass, seed yield, vegetative vigor, forage production and response to drought. Equal to or greater seedling establishment than earlier varieties. Better seedling establishment than Bozoisky-Select. (Released 2006)

Swift - Good seedling emergence from deeper plantings. Resistance to leaf spot. (Released 1978)