Elymus cinereus 'Magnar' - Great Basin Wild Rye

"Magnar" is a cultivar of this British Columbia native. We expect it will eventually be grown around the world by virtue of its outstanding ornamental qualities. Because the blossoms are held high above the coarse foliage they will catch the slightest breeze. Best appreciated when planted in lawn areas, where it will provide a focal point for many years.

I see Elymus cinereus growing in single clumps along the Kettle River in southern British Columbia (see photos on the left). It is quite noticeable even at highway speeds. Our area (Zone 5) is very hot and dry (less than 17" precipitation annually) but it is thriving.

When provided with ideal conditions, Great basin wild rye will be transformed from a rather common native to a showpiece specimen.

Description: cool season; clump forming
Foliage - wide and green to blue-green in colour; 80-100 cm (32-40") tall
Flowers - June-July; 120-150 cm (48-60") in height

Ideal conditions: full sun to part shade; moist fertile soil; grows well in open meadows; tolerates a wide range of conditions

Coldest zone: 3 (find your zone; further info on plant hardiness)

Season of interest: June onwards

Recommended spacing between plants: 60-100cm (24-40") why such a difference?

Drought tolerance rating: 1 (water to root depth once every month) further info

Pronunciation: Elymus (eh-LYE-mus) cinereus (sin-er-EE-us)

Sizes available: gallon size field clump; 4" pot size field clump

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More ornamental grasses

Compare Elymus cinereus to our other grasses in this handy chart.


Elymus cinereus - Great basin wild rye
Elymus cinereus - Great basin wild rye
growing in the wild


from the USDA website: states and provinces where
Elymus cinereus is native