Tuesday, April 04, 2006

alkali rye grass, Leymus triticoides, May-July, Native

Recognizable by it bluish-green color, narrow (about 4 mm wide) leaves, spike-like inflorescence without noticeable lemma awns (at arm's-length), and spreading habit. The glumes are awl-like without visible veins. There are normally two spikelets per node. Alkali rye grass is widespread in the academic preserve along roads where ditches collect water, in swales, and drainages (large stand just south and east of the Dish in a low area where paths form a V), and in seasonally wet areas along the Stanford Ave. Greenbelt trail toward its west end. Holstein (2001) "Pre-agricultural Grassland in Central California", Madrono 48: 253-64) argues that the turf-forming alkali rye grass, and not purple needle grass, was a dominate grass of the Central Valley prior to development.

On Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve it grows not far from the main entrance gate on Sand Hilll Road and on both sides of the Bear Creek Road near the Verbena lasiostachys var. scabrida site. Is also found with Elymus glaucus near the intersection of lake and lakeside lab road, near the bath house site. Alkali rye grass is frequently green while other herbaceous plants are dried out.

Photo right by Toni Corelli, 6/30/2006.