Elymus canadensis L.
Bulkley - Nechako
Cariboo - Fraser Fort George
Northeast - Peace Liard
Thompson - Okanagan
Boreal White and Black Spruce
Engelmann Spruce-Subalpine Fir
Native plant community
Canada wildrye is found in native plant communities in the Peace Region.
Canada wildrye may be considered for site rehabilitation when there is native plant community objective, however it prefers coarse textured soils. Varieties have been developed. Where there is a native plant community objective, and a desire to maintain a high level of ecological integrity, seed from local ecotypes or wild populations may be preferred.
Canada wildrye is a tall, tufted, cool season, perennial bunchgrass. It is also known as nodding wildrye in some areas. It grows from a deep, spreading root system, occasionally with short rhizomes. Erect and leafy hollow stems grow to 60 to 150 cm (24 to 59 in.) in height. Leaf blades are flat and wide, waxy green, and sometimes curled. Its seed heads self-pollinate, with some cross-pollination.
Native to British Columbia.
Canada wildrye is found throughout British Columbia, but is infrequent in the south-central and southeast parts of the province. It is found throughout North America, with the exception of the U.S. southeast, and the Great Plains.
Canada wildrye is found on sandy or gravelly, dry to moist river bars and meadows in highland areas below the subalpine.
Canada wildrye is used for habitat restoration and erosion control, and also as grazing and hay for livestock.
Canada wildrye grows rapidly in spring, and if grazed should be used in spring or early summer.
Canada wildrye grows slowly after grazing or haying and should be rested for an entire growing season following use. It should only be grazed after it has reached a height of 13 cm (5 in.).
Canada wildrye is considered to be good forage early in the season, but is less desirable as it matures. Forage quality is poor when mature; although the energy value is relatively good, the protein value is very poor. Canada wildrye has fair to good palatability for wildlife.
Canada wildrye is relatively short lived, with an expected productive life span of 3 to 5 years.
Canada wildrye establishes rapidly and has high seedling vigor but is replaced by other species within 2-3 years.
Canada wildrye is not considered invasive.
Canada wildrye is not considered to be very competitive.
Canada wildrye does not compete well with weedy species.
Canada wildrye establishes quickly and has good seedling vigour providing quick stabilization on disturbed sites. It is particularly well suited for use in riparian areas. It is known for its rapid cover and site stabilization in mixtures for roadside, parks and recreational areas, prairie restoration, and critical areas.
Canada wildrye has moderate drought tolerance, but is better adapted to moist areas.
Canada wildrye has good winter hardiness.
Canada wildrye prefers coarse-textured soils.
Canada wildrye is not adapted to flooded conditions.
In some references, Canada wildrye has poor salinity tolerance; in others it is rated with good salinity tolerance.
Canada wildrye tolerates soil pH levels as low as 5.0.
Canada wildrye has fairly high shade tolerance which makes it suitable for use in riparian areas where there may be a tree or shrub canopy.
Canada wildrye is easily established.
Canada wildrye is suitable for fall or dormant season seeding, and is suitable for broadcast seeding applications. “Manadan” (ND) is the predominant variety for northern regions and was released in 1946 by the USDA Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory at Mandan, North Dakota.
Persistence of Canada wildrye is increased if plants are allowed to set seed and establish seedlings.