Basin wildrye is a large, coarse, robust, perennial bunchgrass. Basin wildrye clumps may reach 3 feet in diameter and 3 to 6 feet tall (10 feet under excellent soil and climate conditions). The growing points are 10 to 12 inches above the crown. It is a long-lived cool season native with an extensive deep coarse fibrous root system.
Native to the Great Plains and Intermountain regions of the western United States, Basin wildrye occurs in moist to dry sites including wet meadows, valley bottoms, flood plains and hillsides. It is very winter hardy and has a rather broad climatic adaptation. It grows best in areas with average annual precipitation of 8 inches to above 20 inches.