Elymus elymoides is a type of perennial land plant that is able to produce a large number of seeds that are capable of germination.  This is mainly due to the fact that this species, when exposed to ideal conditions, has a very quick germination and reaches reproductive maturity very quickly.  The germination for this species takes place predominately in the fall or spring and flowers from late May to August (USDA 2006). Although it quickly germinates, and is a rather short-lived grass, E. elymoides can still thrive and even act as a restoration plant for areas affected by almost all invasive species.
Steve Hurst @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS DatabaseElymus elymoides has to be in certain conditions in order for it to flourish best.  It has been reported that bottlebrush squirreltail matures best at higher elevations compared to that of lower elevations (Simonin 2001).  It also has this ability to grow in lower temperatures.  In fact, it germinates best in a 10-25°C or 57-77°F climate zone (USDA 2006).  This species also grows in desert areas, meaning it is not limited to only colder temperatures, but germination is much slower in desert areas compared to colder temperatures. This species, when exposed to increased temperature incubation time, does not speed up the germination, but instead usually slows it down (Meyer et. al 2000). Oddly enough, when livestock graze and moderately crush this species, the germination rate can actually increase when compared to a place where there is just solely natural wind contributing to the dispersal (Young et al. 2003). Although some traffic on E. elymoides is very beneficial to the plant’s germination, too much can be considered detrimental to species, especially if the plant is anywhere from a seedling to two years of age (USDA 2006).

This species is a self-pollinating allotetraploid meaning that it is a hybrid that has a chromosome set four times that of a haploid organism.  It is also able to hybridize with other certain species like Elymus, Hordeum, and Pseudoroegneria (Simonin 2001).  With some help of the wind, the seeds are distributed throughout the area.  Because of the natural wind causing the seed dispersion of the E. elymoides, it is fully capable of long distance distribution up to 131 feet (Simonin 2001).  This distribution is made possible through the grass’s awns, the bristle part of the E. elymoides, and the inflorescence, which is the complete part of the flower head on the plant that includes parts like the actual flower itself and the stem.  The seed dispersal process happens when the inflorescence is taken by the wind and encounters the awns of the other E. elymoides plants (Simonin 2001).

Cassondra Skinner @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS DatabaseIf E. elymoides is not in ideal conditions, such as a dry season, the seeds go dormant.  Once the seeds are dormant they have to go through a period of afterippening to which the seeds germinate faster than recently harvested seeds.  It can also skip the afterippening stage and germinate immediately giving it only a partial state of dormancy (Simonin 2001).

Now that the reproduction process of Elymus elymoides has been discussed, go back to the Form and Function page, or continue on to the Interactions page to find out how it cooperates with other organisms.

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