Native Plant Highlights

What’s in Bloom | Bottlebrush Grass

July 10, 2020

Eastern Bottlebrush Grass (Elymus hystrix)

E. hystrix is a member of the Poaceae (grass) family. It is native to the eastern United States and southeastern Canada. Bottlebrush grass is found in open woods, grasslands, and roadsides, can grow in sun or shade, and is tolerant of dry soil.

The name bottlebrush comes from the bristly appearance of the spikelets that grow in clusters along the upright, smooth stem. The scientific species name (hystrix) comes from the Greek word for porcupine which is another good comparison for the spikey texture of this grass.

Bottlebrush grass grows about 2 to 4 feet tall and spreads across an area of about 1 foot. The strap-like leaves grow in an alternate arrangement about 12 inches long with parallel venation.

Benefits to Biodiversity | Bottlebrush grass is a larval host for the Northern Pearly Eye butterfly (Enodia anthedon) as well as several moth species. The grain-like seeds provide a food source for various bird species.

References: USDA, Ladybird Johnson Wildflower, MGNV

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