Widespread over Eastern North America, Riverbank Wild Rye (Elymus riparius) is a common grass of floodplain forests and stream edges. Never common in any location, riverbank wild rye is a very ornamental grass for wetland and conservation plantings.
Riverbank wild rye is similar to the much more common Virginia Wild Rye (Elymus virginicus); it differs in that the seed heads are more arching and fountain-like, giving a more ornamental appearance. Like all Wild Ryes, riverbank wild rye is a cool-season grass, growing the most in the cooler weather of the Spring and Fall, blooming and going dormant over the warm summer season.
Riverbank wild rye grows to 2-3 feet tall, though it will grow even taller than that in rich, alluvial floodplain soils. The seed heads bear a striking resemblance to cultivated cereal rye, and the grain is actually edible and highly nutritious; the individual grains are small with a stiff awn that makes them difficult to use in traditional meals and flours, though.
Riverbank wild rye is a very useful grass for rain gardens and riparian buffer plantings - It grows quickly to size the first season, setting seed which helps it establish further. As plantings become more established, riverbank wild rye slowly fades out, giving way to longer-lived grasses, sedges & herbs.
Riverbank wild rye has a very nutritious grain, making it a good component of a deer habitat mix. Deer feed on the grass, and especially the grain - The grain matures in summer, helping deer to put on weight before the winter.
Riverbank wild rye is very easy to grow - Plant plugs 9-12 inches apart in prepared ground, and water several times. Further irrigation is usually unneccessary.
Riverbank wild rye combines well with other wetland and edge plants - Combine with Rose Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) and buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) for a long-blooming, rich rain garden that helps native pollinator populations.
We provide riverbank wild rye in both Quart SuperPlugs and RootMaker 32-Cell Trays - These both establish very quickly due to the natural root-pruning of the containers.
|Common Name:||Riverbank Wild Rye|
|Botanical Name:||Elymus riparius|