Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Blue Lyme Grass


Leymus arenarius ( Wild Blue Rye )
Also called Leymus glauca or Elymus arenarius and Wild Blue Rye. Fast growing; reaching up to 5 ( typically 3 ) feet and forms an attractive tall groundcover, esp for commercial sites, steep slopes and industrial areas. In some of its range, it is of extreme importance as its roots bind sand dunes preventing erosion. In these areas it is often protected.
Blue Lyme Grass may become invasive on favorable sites, sending out rhizomes as much as 8 feet from the parent plant. Individual clumps unrestrained, can reach up to 16 feet across. To contain, they can be planted in bottomless containers that are at least 2 feet deep to block the runners from spreading. It is a widespread native of Europe, especially in coastal areas.
The arching, healthy bright blue leaves are up to 5 feet x 0.4 inches in size. The foliage remains the same color all season long.
The flowers consist of tan spikes that appear during summer.
This grass produces abundant, large seeds giving it potential as a perennial grain crop. It is actually a relative of Rye which is a popular agricultural grain.
When harvesting, be careful not to accidently harvest the Ergot fungus which is poisonous. Ergot is a parasite which replaces some of the grains on the seed head with larger, dark spurs.
Hardy zones 3 to 8 in full sun to partial shade on light, sandy soil. Drought and salt tolerant. It thrives in harsh coastal conditions on both the Atlantic Seaboard and in western Europe north into Ireland.
It is recommended to cut or mow to ground during early spring to stimulate new growth. Propagation is from division or seed.

* photo taken on Aug 25 2013 @ University of Maryland, College Park

* photos taken on Aug 3 2014 @ National Zoo, Washington, DC

'Blue Dune'
Intense silvery-blue foliage.

* photo taken on May 16 2011 in Washington, D.C.

* photo taken on June 10 2011 in Baltimore Co., MD

* photo taken on June 15 2014 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Oct 24 2014 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Jul 17 2017 in Gatineau, Quebec

* photo taken on Jul 9 2017 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Nov 3 2017 in Columbia, MD

More compact in habit, only reaching up to 2.5 feet in height, with showy bright steele-blue foliage.

Leymus condensatus
An evergreen ( in mild climates ) perennial grass, reaching a maximum size of 10 x 6 feet.
The foliage is blue-green.
The silvery-green, upright plumes, up to 20 inches long, are borne during mid-summer.
Hardy zones 7 to 9 in full sun to partial shade on just about any light, well drained soil. Cut back hard every 2 years to renew.

* photo taken by C. Kenneth Pearse @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

'Canyon Prince'
A very fast growing, rhizome spreading, evergreen grass, reaching up to 5 x 4 feet, that is native to the California. It is great for stabilizing sand dunes.
The very attractive foliage is silvery-blue.
The flower plumes ripen to wheat color.
Hardy zones 7b to 9

Leymus racemosus ( Blue Lyme Grass )
Also called Leymus giganteus and Mammoth Wild Rye. Spreading vigorously, it can grow up to 4 feet with metallic blue-gray foliage. It is native from the Black Sea to southern Siberia and Mongolia; south to central Asia and Tibet. The leaf blades are up to 16 x 0.6 inches in size.
The flower plumes, up to 12 x 0.8 inches in size, appear during summer.
Hardy zones 4 to 10; it grows exceptionally well in hot locations such as where heat radiates from parking lots and buildings. Tolerant of drought, heat, salt, wind & deer. Prefers moist, well drained soils in sun.

Leymus tritichoides ( Beardless Wild Rye )
A fast spreading, groundcover, perennial grass, reaching up to 4 feet in height, that is a widespread native of the western U.S.
The foliage is blue-green to green during summer, later turning to golden-tan color then to gray for winter.
Hardy zones 7 to 10 in full sun to partial shade. Tolerant of drought and salt spray.


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