Habitat and Geography

Elymus elymoides grows in a wide variety of habitats ranging from the semiarid Intermountain West to low altitudes and dry locations (Leffler 2011 and Leger 2008). The general elevation range for E. elymoides is anywhere from 2,000 to 11,500 feet (EOL 2013).  E. elymoides ranges in geography from Canada to Northern Mexico typically toward the Western half of North America (Figure 1, Parsons 2011 and USDA 2014). In the United States, E. elymoides is most common at low to middle altitudes growing in areas such as California, Nevada, and Utah (USDA 2014).


The nice feature about E. elymoides is that it naturally invades locations where Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass) and Taeniatherum caput-medusae (medusahead), invasive grasses, are growing (Simonin 2001). This allows it to have an extremely competitive nature amongst non-native plant species. E. elymoides has associations with many plants such as sagebrush, shadscale, green rabbitbrush, and mixed conifer forests (EOL 2013).

Many other organisms live amongst E. elymoides and these organisms are animals. Animals such as Orthoptera (grasshoppers like Melanoplus devastator, crickets, katydids), Auchenorrhyncha (tree hoppers, spittle bugs, cicadas), and Sternorrhyncha (plant lice, whiteflies) all prey on E. elymoides as a means for their nutrition. This interaction causes damaging effects to this grass. To find out more about E. elymoides and the interactions it has with other organisms it lives and competes with, visit the interactions page (EOL 2013).

E. elymoides is a low maintenance grass because it only needs on average five inches of rain or more per year and grows in any type of soil ranging from fine to coarse soils as shown below (USDA 2006).


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