This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol1", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Elymus virginicus L. Sp. PI. 84. 1753.
Culms 2°-3,° tall, erect, simple, smooth and glabrous. Sheaths usually shorter, than the internodes, often overlapping on the lower part of the culm, smooth, sometimes pubescent, the uppermost often inflated and enclosing the peduncle and the base of the spike; ligule very short; blades 5'-14' long, 2"-8" wide, rough; spike 2-7' in length, broad, stout, upright; spikelets divergent from the rachis, 2-3-flowered; empty scales thick and rigid, lanceolate, 8"-12" long, including the short awn, 5-7-nerved; flowering scales 3"-4" long, glabrous, bearing a rough awn 2"-6" in length.
In moist soil, especially along streams, Nova Scotia to Manitoba, south to Florida and Texas. Ascends to 2000 ft. in North Carolina. Virginia Lyme-grass. July-Aug.
Culms erect from a. perennial root, 2°-3° tall, smooth and glabrous. Sheaths longer than the inter-nodes, smooth, the uppermost often inflated and enclosing the base of the spike; ligule a short membranous ring; blades 7-12' long, 4"-9" wide, acuminate, very rough on both surfaces; spikes 2i'-6' long, stout, the rachis pubescent; spikelets crowded, in pairs, 2-5-flowered; empty scales linear, 5"-6" long, thick, 3-5-nerved, the nerves hirsute, acuminate into a scabrous awn as long as or shorter than the scales; flowering scales lanceolate, 5-nerved, appressed-hirsute, 4"-5" long, acuminate into a rough awn 6"-8" long.
River banks, Maine to Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri and Nebraska. July-Aug.
Elymus australis Scribn. & Ball, Bull. U. S. Dep. Agr. Agrost. 24: 46. /. 20. 1901.
Culms 3°-4° tall, erect; sheaths glabrous or hirsute; blades up to 1° long, 5"-8" wide, rough, sometimes hirsute on the upper surface; spike 4'-6' long, 1'- 11/2' in diameter over all, exserted; empty scales thick, indurated and curved at the base, usually hirsute, long-attenuate into a long awn, the flowering scales 4"-s" long, hirsute, bearing a his-pidulous awn 1'-l 1/4' long.
Elymus canadensis glabriflorus Vasey; Dewey, Contr. U.
S. Nat. Herb. 2: 550. 1894. Elymus glabriflorus Scribn. & Ball, Bull. U. S. Dep. Agr.
Agrost. 24: 49. f. 23. 1901.
Culms 2°-3° tall, erect, stout; sheaths glabrous or hirsute; blades up to 1° long, 3'-5" wide, flat or nearly so, rough, sometimes sparsely hirsute on the upper surface; spike 4'-6' long, stout, sometimes nodding; spikelets 2-3 at each node, the empty scales thick, indurated and somewhat curved at the base, strongly nerved, sometimes ciliate on the margins, attenuate into a long hispidulous awn, the flowering scales glabrous or hispidulous, bearing a long hispidulous awn.
Low woods or thickets, Pennsylvania to Iowa, south to Florida, Texas and New Mexico. June-Aug.