Elymus glaucus Montane Herbaceous Alliance
Blue wild rye montane meadows

USDA Ecological Section Map

Summary Information

  • Primary Life FormHerb
  • Elevation400-2500 m
  • State RarityS3?
  • Global RarityG3?
  • DistributionUSA: CA (NatureServe), w. North America. Mexico (TJM2) (BONAP)
  • Endemic to CaliforniaNo
  • Endemic to California Floristic Province and DesertsNo
  • Date Added2009/09/01

Characteristic Species

Elymus glaucus is dominant or co-dominant in the herbaceous layer with Agrostis scabra, Bromus diandrus, Calamagrostis canadensis, Carex feta, Carex pellita, Glyceria striata, Heracleum maximum, Juncus oxymeris, Phleum pratense, Poa pratensis, Senecio clarkianus, Senecio triangularis, Solidago canadensis, Stachys albens and Veratrum californicum.

Vegetation Layers

Herbs < 1 m; cover is intermittent to continuous.

Membership Rules

  • Elymus glaucus ≥ 50% relative cover or conspicuous along with other graminoids such as Agrostis gigantea, Carex feta, and C. pellita in the herbaceous layer (Keeler-Wolf et al. 2003b).


Foothill and montane meadow edges, forest openings, and elevated flats. Soils may be intermittently flooded and have water tables that drop well below the surface during the growing season. The USFWS Wetland Inventory (1996 national list) recognizes Elymus glaucus as a FACU plant.

Other Habitat, Alliance and Community Groupings

MCV (1995) Montane meadow habitat
NVCS (2009) Elymus glaucus herbaceous alliance
Calveg Perennial grasses and forbs
Holland Native grassland
Munz Valley grassland
WHR Perennial grassland, Wet meadow
CDFW CA Code 41.630.00

National Vegetation Classification Hierarchy

Formation Class Mesomorphic Shrub and Herb Vegetation (Shrubland and Grassland)
Formation Subclass Temperate and Boreal Shrubland and Grassland
Formation Temperate Grassland, Meadow, and Shrubland
Division Vancouverian and Rocky Mountain Grassland and Shrubland
Macro Group Western Cordilleran montane-boreal wet meadow
Group Western cordilleran montane-boreal mesic wet meadow