Elymus riparius (Riverbank Wild Rye) - Quart Super Plugs


Not Available for 2022

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About Riverbank Wild Rye

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.

How to Grow Riverbank Wild Rye

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
Availability: Not Available for 2022