Psathyrostachys juncea - (Fisch.) Nevski
Russian Wildrye
Other Common Names: Russian wildrye
Synonym(s): Elymus junceus Fisch.
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Psathyrostachys juncea (Fisch.) Nevski (TSN 504629)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.143146
Element Code: PMPOA81010
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Grass Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Monocotyledoneae Cyperales Poaceae Psathyrostachys
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Psathyrostachys juncea
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: GNR
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNA (14Oct2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Arizona (SNA), Colorado (SNA), Montana (SNA), Nebraska (SNA), New Mexico (SNA), North Dakota (SNA), South Dakota (SNA), Utah (SNA), Wyoming (SNA)
Canada Alberta (SNA), British Columbia (SNA), Manitoba (SNA), Saskatchewan (SNA), Yukon Territory (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AZexotic, COexotic, MTexotic, NDexotic, NEexotic, NMexotic, SDexotic, UTexotic, WYexotic
Canada ABexotic, BCexotic, MBexotic, SKexotic, YTexotic

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
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Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
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Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: Low/Insignificant
Rounded I-Rank: Low
I-Rank Reasons Summary: Psathyrostachys juncea, Russian wildrye, has been widely planted in the midwestern and western United States for range rehabilitation and for erosion control. This species is difficult to get established, but once it does become established it is a strong competitor for water and nutrients. It does possess the ability to out compete native grasses and forbs once it is established. Russian wildrye doesn't appear to be spreading aggressively beyond where it has been planted nor does it possess many qualities that suggest it might inherently be able to invade new habitats on its own. Overall, while it has a broad range in the United State, its presence is largely due to human activities.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Low/Insignificant
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: Medium/Low
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: Low
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: Medium/Insignificant
I-Rank Review Date: 06Dec2005
Evaluator: Oliver, L., rev. A. Tomaino (2005)
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: This species is native to the steppe and desert regions in Russia and China (Taylor 2005).

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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: Russian wildrye is non-native in the midwest of the United States as well as Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba (Kartesz 1999).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: This species occurs in many natural habitats in several ecosystems (Taylor 1995).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Low/Insignificant

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:Medium significance/Insignificant
Comments: No information was found that specifically says that this species alters abiotic processes within an ecosystem. This species is used as a fuelbreak in case of wildfire. Further, it is known to be fire resistant throughout the growing season, it is drought tolerant and adapted to persist in semi-arid sites where it competes with other weeds, and it is palatable to herbivores (Taylor 2005). If this species were to escape into fire dependent areas it may be able to alter the fire regime, but this is simply speculation. According to a NRCS evaluation of one culitvar of Psathyrostachys juncea, it causes minor negative impacts to ecosystem processes.

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:Low significance
Comments: This species is a perennial grass so it does affect at least one vegetative layer.

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:Medium/Low significance
Comments: It is noted that Russian wildrye is difficult to get established, but once it does it is a strong competitor for water and nutrients. When in monocultures it can exclude all other vegetation for years (Taylor 2005). At the same time it is reported that this species is slow to spread and hard to establish (Taylor 2005). Another source, Ogle 2005, says that when this species is appropriately established it can exclude weeds, and native grasses and forbs. According to a NRCS evaluation of one culitvar of Psathyrostachys juncea, it demonstrates allelopathic effects on seed germination of other plants (NRCS 2002).

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Insignificant
Comments: No information was found that suggests that this species disproportionately affects any one native species. In fact, it is mentioned that this species isn't known to hybridize with native species (Ogle 2005).

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: Since this species is deliberately planted in a good number of regions it is difficult to assess whether or not it affects high quality ecosystems or vulnerable species on its own. It has been planted in salt desert scrub, pinyon-juniper woodlands, parkland pastures, big sagebrush habitat, rangelands as well as other habitats (Taylor 2005).

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: Medium/Low

6. Current Range Size in Nation:Moderate significance
Comments: This species is known from many of the midwestern states and some of the western states (Kartesz 1999).

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: It is unclear if Russian wildrye is affecting native species or ecological communities since it is deliberately planted in so many habitats. While it isn't known to spread easily on it's own, it is known for persisting once it does get established (Taylor 2005).

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:Moderate significance
Comments: Russian wildrye is known from several biogeographic units, at least 20%.

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Russian wildrye is known from a wide number of habitats, however, it has been planted in most of the habitats where it occurs. It has been used in rangeland rehabilitation since the 1950s (Taylor 2005). Habitats where it is known include Ponderosa pine, sagebrush, desert shrub, Southwestern steppe, Chaparral-mountain shrub, Pinyon-juniper and other (Taylor 2005).

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: Low

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:Low significance
Comments: It is unlikely that the range of this species is expanding greatly on it's own. This species has been widely planted in the midwest and west and may have spread from those plantings but is difficult to get established (Taylor 2005).

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Low significance
Comments: This species may already occupy much of its potential range considering it has been planted widely in the midwest and west. Russian wildrye does seem to have the potential to occur in other regions where it currently isn't but there are a few mitigating factors. While this species is drought, salinity, alkalinity and cold tolerant, it is known to be slow to establish (Taylor 2005).

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:High significance
Comments: Since it is planted for range rehabilitation and erosion control, dispersed long distances by human actions. Russian wildrye isn't tolerant of spring or winter flooding, but has moderate tolerance of flooding events in summer and fall (Taylor 2005). Presumably during the flooding events seeds are carried down stream and long distance dispersal occurs at least some of the time.

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:Low significance
Comments: Since this species is slow or difficult to establish (Taylor 2005) it is unlikely that it is spreading extensively in any area where it already occurs.

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: This species is difficult to establish (Taylor 2005) so it has little ability to invade new areas on its own. According to a NRCS evaluation of one culitvar of Psalathyrostachys juncea, establishes only in areas where major disturbance has occurred in the last 20 years (NRCS 2002). Requires open soil and disturbance to germinate (NRCS 2002).

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:High/Low significance
Comments: Occurs in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba (Kartesz 1999) and in western South America (Clayton et al. 2002). Therefore it is known as an escape outside the region of interest.

16. Reproductive Characteristics:Low significance
Comments: Russian wildrye is known to reproduce by seeds and by tillering also (Taylor 2005). According to a NRCS evaluation of one cultivar of Psathyrostachys juncea, seeds remain viable in the soil for 2-3 years (NRCS 2002). Produces 11-1000 viable seeds per mature plant, each reproductive cycle (NRCS 2002). Reproduces one or more times per year (NRCS 2002).

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: Medium/Insignificant

17. General Management Difficulty:Medium significance/Insignificant
Comments: Very little information is available about how difficult or time consuming it is to manage this species, because most documentation is geared toward managing for this species. It is known that once this species does establish it does have the ability to persist in areas. It is a strong competitor once established and can outcompete native grasses and forbs and does have a robust root system (Taylor 2005), so it could be a challenge to manage against. According to a NRCS evaluation of one cultivar of Psathyrostachys juncea, after above-ground parts are cut, it resprouts and produces seed in future years (NRCS 2002).

18. Minimum Time Commitment:Low significance
Comments: According to a NRCS evaluation of one cultivar of Psathyrostachys juncea, seeds remain viable in the soil for 2-3 years (NRCS 2002).

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Control measures will have moderate effects on other plants (NRCS 2002).

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:High/Low significance
Comments: Planted for range rehabilitation and erosion control; assumption is, at least in some areas, accessibility may be a problem.
Authors/Contributors
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Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Clayton, W.D., K.T. Harman, and H. Williamson. 2002. World Grass Species: Descriptions, Identification, and Information Retrieval. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Online. Available: http://www.kew.org/data/grasses-db.html. Accessed 2005, December 5.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Natural Resources Conservation Service [NRCS]. 2002. Environmental evaluation of plant materials releases. Unpublished evaluation forms. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Plant Materials Center, Beltsville, MD.

  • Ogle, D. 2005. Russian Wildrye Psathyrostachys junceus (Fisch.) Nevski. Plant Guide. USDA NRCS, Boise, ID.

  • Taylor, J. E. 2005. Psathyrostachys juncea. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U. S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://fs.fed.us/database/feis/ [2005, April 25].

  • The Nature Conservancy. 2001. Map: TNC Ecoregions of the United States. Modification of Bailey Ecoregions. Online . Accessed May 2003.

  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. 2001. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN). [Online Database]. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland.URL: http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/index.pl. (Accessed 2005)

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