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Common Name: Russian Wildrye

Scientific Name: Psathyrostachys juncea

Native / Introduced: Introduced

Main Uses:

~Tolerates moderate to heavy grazing

~Range, pasture and wildlife habitat improvement

Height: 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 feet

Root Type: Bunchgrass

Growing Season: Cool

Soil Types: Most, prefers loams

Tolerances: Close grazing and drought

Sun or Shade: Full sun

Minimum Precipitation: 7-10 inches

Elevation: Up to 6,500 feet

Lifecycle: Perennial

Planting Seed Rate: 4 - 7 lbs/acre

Estimated Seeds Per Pound: 162,000

Optimal Planting Season: Fall

Planting Depth: 1/4 - 1/2 inch deep

Category: Grass



Russian Wildrye originates from the Russian and Mongolian steppes of central Asia. It is a cool-season bunchgrass with a color range from light green to dark green. Its robust roots can delve up to 10 feet deep under suitable conditions. This grass thrives in fertile soil, particularly loam, and shows moderate tolerance to salt and alkali, as well as drought.

Noteworthy for its nutritional value, Russian Wildrye is favored for grazing by various livestock and wildlife species. Once established, it boasts a prolonged growth season, outcompeting weeds effectively. Its ability to cure on the stem extends grazing availability, greening up early and maintaining palatability well into summer and fall, unlike crested wheat.

Russian Wildrye demonstrates vigorous regrowth post-grazing and withstands close grazing, rendering it versatile for livestock management. Its beneficial characteristics make it a crucial component in range, pasture, and wildlife habitat enhancement endeavors.


NRCS Profile:

NRCS Plant Guide:

Other Resources:


Photo Credit: Matt Lavin

Russian Wildrye Seeds


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