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Elymus macgregorii R. Brook & J.J.N. Campbell

MacGregor's Wild Rye

Habitat: Rich, mesic, circumneutral soils of hardwood forests and floodplains.

Range: Eastern U.S.

Aids to Identification: Wild rye's are recognized by their coarse spike inflorescences, alternating clusters of spikelets along the rachis, and long awns. MacGregor's wild rye can easily be confused with the more common Virginia wild rye (E. virginicus), thus easily overlooked. Both have erect spikelets and straight awns and may occur in similar habitats. MacGregor's wild rye has longer awns; 10-25 mm long compared to 0-10 mm in Virginia wild rye. MacGregor's wild rye also has fewer nodes (9-18) per spike and longer internodes (4-7 mm) than Virginia wild rye (ie. MacGregor's wild rye appears less compact than Virginia wild rye). MacGregor's wild rye also has glaucous to pubescent leaf blades whereas Virginia wild rye has glabrous leaf sheaths. The image on the right shows the very similar E. virgincus var. jejunus (which also occurs in Maine).

Ecological characteristics: Little is known ecologically about this plant in Maine.

Phenology: Flowering and fruiting late May through mid June.

Family: Poaceae

Synonyms: Recently recognized as a separate species from Elymus virginicus L. complex.

Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has been documented from a total of 8 towns in the following counties: Cumberland, Knox, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset.

Dates of documented observations are: 1894, 1900, 1904, 1909, 1910, 1925, 2001

Reason(s) for rarity: Possibly confused with Elymus viginicus and overlooked.