Elymus elymoides is a species that has very interesting interactions with other species within the land plants and animals kingdoms.  This species can thrive in such harsh conditions and even compete and most importantly win with invasive species, making it have a restorative quality, which is very important in any ecosystem today. 

One of the major competitors in the land plants Kingdom that E. elymoides encounters is Bromus tectorum.  This interaction is widely studied because B. tectorum is an alien annual grass that invades places where it can affect bottlebrush squirreltail, but not drastically.  Bromus causes the most problems within this Elymus species when they are just young seeds and the Bromus causes fatality within the seeds because E. elymoides is not strong enough to resist the invasion quite yet.  However, if this Elymus species has matured then Bromus has little to no effect on it (Humphrey and Schupp 2004).  This is because Elymus elymoides is capable of ecotypic variation which provides it genotypes to resist invasion (Humphrey and Schupp 2004). 


One other heavily studied organism interaction this Elymus species has is with Taeniatherum caput-medusa also known as Medusahead.  This interaction gets a little trickier when competing with E. elymoides because they have similar qualities, and even in some cases the Medusahead can actually outperform the E. elymoides.  Medusahead is capable of outperforming Elymus because Medusahead grows very rapidly using all of the resources that Elymus would have used (Young and Mangold 2008).   It also gives Elymus a hard time competing because like Elymus, Medusahead also grows long roots to get soil moisture from further in the ground than other grasses. Medusahead grows well in cooler temperatures as well, meaning that they both succeed in very similar environments.  Although Elymus sometimes struggles with this competitor, it will still be able to survive, especially if it is more mature and if proper weeding maintenance is put into action to kill off the Medusahead (Young and Mangold 2008).

Bottlebrush squirreltail is not always interacting with other organisms on a competitive scale, but it also acts as a food source.  Many animals such as cattle, mule deer, horses, black tail jackrabbits, ground squirrels and sheep enjoy this as part of their year round diet in the fields (USDA 2006 and EOL 2013).  Animals like bison and cattle also use it as a dietary component (EOL 2013).  Other species that interact with E. elymoides can be seen on the back on the habitat and geography page.

Additionally, this species of Elymus is known for its amazing and useful qualities that help restore ecosystems.  In particular, it serves as an early seral species that can successfully compete and win with invasive species and weeds to restore the land back to other native perennials (EOL 2013). This restoration can happen in any disturbed climate such as arid to semi-arid, desert shrub, and pinyon-juniper ecosystems (EOL 2013).

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