Bottlebrush, Elymus hystrix
(Formerly called Hystrix patula)
Poaceae or Grass Family


2 to 5 feet tall, usually unbranched. Leaves, about 6 inches long, dark green to gray-green, narrow, somewhat floppy. Inflorescence a terminal spike about 5 to 9 inches long. Flowers are tiny 2 to 4 in a cluster called a spikelet. Pairs of spikelets are arranged widely-spaced along the stem. Each spikelet with a very long bristle called an awn. When the flowers develop into fruits, which are grains, they easily detach and fall. Blooms in summer.

Most grasses in the Park are exotic invasives, but this charming grass is native. It prefers partial shade and not-too-dry soil. It occurs occasionally along Wildwood Drive and the bikeway.

This is one of the easiest grasses to identify because of the widely spaced spikelets with very long awns.


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