Culms 60-130 cm. Spikes 10-22 cm; internodes 7-15 mm, smooth, scabrous, or hairy distally. Spikelets 10-28 mm. Lemmas not scabrous, moderately hairy, hairs stiff, shorter than 1 mm.
Elymus lanceolatus subsp. lanceolatus grows in clay, sand, loam, and rocky soils, and is widely distributed in the western Flora region. It is most likely to be confused with the octoploid Pascopyrum smithii ; it differs morphologically from that species in having more evenly distributed leaves and acute glumes that tend to taper from midlength or higher, rather than acuminate glumes that tend to taper from below midlength. In addition, the midvein of the glumes of E. lanceolatus is straight, whereas that of Pascopyrum smithii -leans- to the side distally.
Strongly rhizomatous, usually glaucous, 3-9 dm; lvs involute or sometimes flat, 1-3.5(-5) mm wide, firm, glabrous to scaberulous or sometimes pilose; spikes stiff, erect, 6-25 cm, the middle internodes 7-12+ mm; spikelets 11-20+ mm, mostly 3-7-fld, sometimes some of them in pairs; glumes in var. dasystachya lance-oblong, acute to acuminate, broadest at or above midlength, usually more than half as long as the lemmas; in var. psammophila more slender and attenuate, approaching the form of E. smithii, to half as long as the lemmas; lemmas 7-10 mm, acute, sometimes shortly awn-tipped, densely villous, or in var. dasystachya sometimes merely scabrous; anthers (3.5-)4-5 mm; 2n=28. (Agropyron d.; Elymus lanceolatus) Var. dasystachya is widespread in the w. cordilleran region and on the n. Great Plains, and casually intr. eastward; var. psammophila (J. M. Gillett & H. Senn) Cronquist occurs on sand dunes along lakes Michigan and Huron in Ont., Mich., Ill., and Wis., disjunct from the natural range of var. dasystachya.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.