Elytrigia elongata (Host) Nevski - Tall wheatgrass.
Taxonomic position.Family Poaceae Barnh. genus Elytrigia Desv.
Synonyms.Triticum elongatum Host, Agropyron elongatum (Host) Beauv., Elytrigia ruthenica (Griseb.) Prokud., Elymus elongatus (Host) Greuter.
Morphology and biology.Perennial herbaceous plant, forming more or less dense tussocks without creeping subterranean shoots or, less frequently, with few short creeping subterranean shoots. Stems are 60-100 cm high, thick, naked. Leaf blades are very hard, on the upper side having few (often less than 10) thick and very protruding ribs covered with dispersed aciculae and setae. Sheaths of the stem leaves are cloven almost to the base, with lanceolate auricles. The ligule is 0.2-0.8(1) mm long, leathery-membranous, usually with tiniest cilia along the edge. The inflorescence is a compound spike, 5-20 cm long, non-friable. Spikelets are large, 1.4-2.5 cm long, with 5-9(11) flowers set on the rachis one by one in two longitudinal rows, sessile (pedicels are up to 0.3 mm long). Glumes are cartilaginous-leathery, obtuse, as if chopped off, 0.7-1.1 cm long, with 5-7(9) nerves, smooth. The lemma is 7-11 mm long, awnless, smooth, with five nerves. Wind- and self-pollinated plant. Autochore. Propagated by seed. Blossoms in June; bears fruit in August. 2n = 14, 56, 70.
Distribution.Eastern Europe (south), Crimea, south of Russia, Caucasus (Ante-Caucasus, Daghestan, Southern, Western and Eastern Transcaucasia), Mediterranean region, Asia Minor, Iran.
Ecology.Grows on solonchak steppe meadows, solonchaks, less frequently on chalk outcrops or pebbles, along seashores and near them.
Utilization and economic value.Good forage plant, resistant to fungal diseases, low temperatures and droughts. High-yielding. Utilized in wheat breeding.
Reference citations:Brezhnev, D.D., Korovina, O.N. 1981. Wild relatives of cultivated plants in the flora of the USSR. Leningrad: Kolos, p.61 (in Russian).
Tsvelev, N.N. 1976. Cereal grasses of the USSR. Leningrad, Nauka, 788 pp. (in Russian).