Snake River Wheatgrass


Snake River Wheatgrass

  • One of the most drought tolerant native perennial grasses available
  • Known for it’s heartiness and ease of establishment
  • Good selection for restoration projects or improvement of disturbed sites
  • Great forage value for cattle, horses, and elk,

Quantity is per pound. Example: 1 = 1 lb, 2 = 2 lbs, 3 = 3lbs, etc. This is pure seed, not a live plant.

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Snake River (Elymus wawawaiensis) wheatgrass is recognized as one of the most drought tolerant native perennial grasses available. It can survive in as little as 8 inches of annual precipitation. The ‘Secar’ variety is more vigorous and productive than bluebunch wheatgrass, and the name was selected to reflect its drought tolerance (Seca means “dry” in Spanish). It’s heartiness and ease of establishment makes it a good selection for restoration projects or improvement of disturbed sites.

Snake River wheatgrass stands are persistent with an extensive root system, hardy seedlings. It establishes well under droughty conditions, particularly the Secar variety. It grows 1-4 feet tall and has a slightly blue-green color. It has good forage value for cattle, horses, and elk, and at some times during the year for sheep, deer and antelope. Caution must be taken to not overgrazed, especially in the spring.

This item has a minimum order quantity of 3 pounds.

***click the “Additional Information” tab for more seed facts about Elymus wawawaiensis.

Cultivars, Improved, and Selected Materials (and area of origin)
‘Discovery’ was developed from four accessions that were found to have improved vigor in comparison to Secar. The populations used to generate Discovery trace to materials collected in Whitman and Asotin counties in southeastern Washington and Idaho County in central Idaho. Discovery was released in 2008, and Breeder seed is maintained by the USDA-ARS Forage and Range Research Laboratory, Logan, UT. Foundation, Registered and Certified seed is available to commercial growers through the Utah Crop Improvement Association.

‘Secar’ is the original cultivar release of Snake River wheatgrass. It was originally released as a bluebunch wheatgrass, but was later determined it to be Snake River wheatgrass. The original collection site for Secar is the Snake River Gorge near Lewiston, Idaho. The Idaho- Oregon, Montana, and Wyoming AES, Washington Agriculture Research Center, and Pullman Plant Materials Center released Secar in 1980. Certified seed is available and Breeder seed is maintained by Pullman PMC. Foundation seed is available through the Washington State Crop Improvement Association.

***Click on the “Quick Plant Facts” tab above for more information.

(Elymus wawawaiensis)

Snake River Wheatgrass NRCS Plant Guide

PDF version of NRCS Plant Guide & Fact Sheet

Prepared By & Species Coordinator: Dan Ogle, Plant Materials Specialist, USDA NRCS Idaho State Office, Boise, Idaho

Download PDF

Helpful Links

Additional information about this product can be found on the academic websites linked below.


Many plants have more than one common and scientific name. We've listed a few of them below.

  • Snake River Wheatgrass
  • Elymus wawawaiensis
  • Bluebunch Wheatgrass
Quick Plant Facts
Common Name:

Slender Wheatgrass

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