Thickspike wheatgrass is a long-lived, strongly rhizomatous, perennial grass. Thickspike wheatgrasses are similar to western wheatgrass in appearance, except they are not as coarse, their rhizomatous trait is not as aggressive, and their coloration is somewhat greener. It occur throughout most of western North America with primary distribution in the Intermountain and Rocky Mountain areas.
Thickspike wheatgrass prefers medium to coarse textured soils. Cold tolerant, can withstand moderate periodic flooding in the spring, moderately shade tolerant, and very tolerant of fire.
Thickspike wheatgrass has good palatability for livestock and wildlife. Livestock and wildlife will graze thickspike wheatgrass throughout the growing season, until the plants become too coarse toward fall. Established stands can withstand heavy grazing.