Elymus elymoides is classified under the Eukarya domain because like many other grasses, it is multicellular containing nuclei and membrane bound organelles within each cell (figure 2). Other organisms classified under Eukarya include the garden thyme and the pineapple.

Classified under the land plants because it is a photosynthetic grass that is an autotroph. Elymus elymoides contains cell walls as well as chloroplasts that formed from endosymbiosis with cyanobacteria (Campbell 2008). Other organisms classified under land plants include the kiwi and saffron.

Classified under Anthophyta since squirreltail is considered a vascular plant meaning it has veins (xylem and phloem) that transport water and minerals throughout the entire grass. It also produces flowers which is the main synapomorphy for this Phylum (figure 3, Campbell 2008). Other organisms classified under Anthophyta include dill  and the hibiscus flower (shoeblackplant).



Classified under Liliopsida since squirreltail is a seed plant that produces an embryo from a cotyledon and parallel-veined leaves. Other organisms classified under Liliopsida include onions, asparagus, and bull grass.

Classified under Poales (or Cyperales) since squirreltail is a flowering plant and includes a variety of grasses. Another organism classified under Poales is the cheatgrass.
Classified under Poaceae meaning “The grasses.” Another organism classified under Poaceae includes the California oatgrass.
Classified under Elymus since it is defined as a tall, cluster of perennial grasses.

Classified under Elymus elymoides since it has bushy looking spikes and is a type of wild rye.

As you can see E. elymoides is closely related to many grasses of the same genus, but are categorized as different species. E. Elymoides is most closely related to E. mutabilis 1, E. dentatus 1, and E. canadensis 1 (Mason 2013). Chloroplast DNA was the main source used to categorize E. elymoides’ closest relatives (figure 4). It is also important to note that there are other ways to categorize a species’ closest relatives, some other examples of these include phospheonolpyruvate carboxylase which is an enzyme that plays an important role in photosynthesis, and beta amylase which is important in the breakdown of the starches in the leaves of plants (Cousins 2007 and Fulton 2008).

Scientific name in English:
The literal translation for Elymus elymoides is a case, sheath, or kind of grass. These translations are all derived from the Greek language (Borror 1960).

To learn more in depth about this species, continue onto the Habitat and Geography page.  

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