Elymus hystrix

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: bottlebrush grass 
Type: Ornamental grass
Family: Poaceae
Native Range: Eastern-central United States
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 2.50 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: September to October
Bloom Description: Green maturing to brown
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy, Good Cut
Attracts: Birds
Tolerate: Drought, Heavy Shade, Erosion, Dry Soil, Black Walnut, Air Pollution


Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Adapts to wide range of soil conditions including heavy clay. Easily grown from seed and will readily self seed in the garden under optimum growing conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Elymus hystrix, commonly called bottle brush grass, is a Missouri native perennial grass which occurs in dry woodland areas throughout the State. Forms loose upright tufts of narrow-bladed, rough-textured, medium green leaves (to 12" long). Greenish, bristly flower heads (9-10" long) rise well above the foliage in summer, maturing to brown in late summer and persisting on the plant well into autumn. Flower heads resemble bottle brushes and are the best ornamental feature of this grass, particularly when backlit.

Genus name comes from the Greek word elymos used for a type of grain.

Specific epithet means hedgehog (porcupine) in reference to the supposed resemblance of the seed head bristles to the hedgehog quills.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Plant in clumps, mass or naturalize in a lightly-shaded woodland setting, native plant garden or naturalized area.