Early Wild Rye (Elymus macgregorii) is a native perennial cool season grass that typically grows 24″-30″ tall.
We have dubbed it the “Early Green-Up Grass”, and the qualities that earn it this name contribute to its usefulness and function.
Any grass with a nickname of “Early Green-Up Grass” has a place as livestock forage, and its place is to be one among many. The many includes other native cool season and warm season grasses as well as native forbs and legumes all growing together. This creates a productive, no-fertilizer-needed forage chain that the bison loved, and your cows will too.
From greens to seeds to structure, wildlife find many uses for Early Wild Rye. While it is a direct food source for some animals, possibly the bigger function that it serves is as a foundational link in the food chain – it provides food for many animals that then become food for others.
Early Wild Rye is an invigorating sight that brings the promise of spring when it greens up under the canopy of leafless, brown trees in late winter. It can also have a dash of strong, perennial wildflowers added. Either way it will revive the spirits in the dull, dreary days before spring arrives.
Having its identity often lumped in with other Wild Ryes, this grass is not well known. However, with its stature, seed head, and early growth, it is distinctive. In nature’s design, the plant is found as a nearly pure stand beneath trees and also mixed into diverse grasslands. Early Wild Rye is worthy of inclusion in restoration projects.
Videos About This Plant
To learn more about this plant, check out our videos about it and its uses.