Plants cespitose, not rhizomatous. Culms 50-200 cm, glabrous, lower internode plus sheath about 3.5 mm thick. Sheaths ciliate on the lower margins; auricles 0.2-1.5 mm; ligules 0.3-1.5 mm; blades 2-6.5 mm wide, generally convolute, adaxial surfaces 1-8-ribbed, ribs rounded, prominent, spinulose, margins usually thinner than the ribs, pale green. Spikes 10-42 cm, erect; lower internodes 16-42 mm; middle internodes 9-19 mm; rachises glabrous, not disarticulating at maturity. Spikelets 13-30 mm, with 6-12 florets. Glumes oblong, glabrous, midveins about equal in length and prominence to the lateral veins, apices truncate, margins about 0.5 mm wide, hyaline; lower glumes 6.5-10 mm, keeled, keels occasionally scabrous distally; upper glumes 7-10 mm; lemmas 9-12 mm, glabrous; paleas 7.5-11 mm, keeled, keels ciliate; anthers 4-6 mm. 2n = 69, 70.
Thinopyrum ponticum is native to southern Europe and western Asia. In the Flora region, it is planted along roadsides for soil stabilization and is spreading naturally, in cooler areas, because of its tolerance of the saline conditions caused by salting roads in winter.
In its native range, Thinopyrum ponticum grows in dry and/or saline soils. It is sometimes treated as a subspecies of T. elongatum (Host) D.R. Dewey, a diploid species that grows in maritime regions of western Europe.
Tufted, glaucous perennial 7-15(-20) dm; lvs flat to loosely involute, 2.5-5(-8) mm wide, stiff, thick-veined, the auricles standing erect; spikes elongate, 10-30 cm, loose and open, the middle internodes (9-)15-20(-25) mm, the lower often longer; spikelets (13-)16-22 mm, 6-18-fld, becoming arcuate in age; glumes indurate, oblong, 5-7-veined, obtuse to truncate; lemmas 8.5-13 mm, broadly lanceolate, obtuse or rounded, awnless, the midvein thickened; anthers 4-7 mm; 2n=14, 28, 42, 56, 70. Dry, open places, especially in alkaline soils; Mediterranean sp., escaped at scattered stations in w. U.S., and locally established in s. Ont. (Agropyron e.; Elymus e.; Lophopyrum e.)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.