The bearded wheat grass readily self-fertilises (7) but can also hybridise with other species within and in closely related genera. Natural hybrids are known to occur with crested wheat grass (Agropyron cristatum), Canada wildrye (Elymus canadensis), bottlebrush squirreltail (Elymus elymoides), Saunder’s wheatgrass (Elymus saundersii), blue wildrye (Elymus glaucus), thickspike wheatgrass (Elymus lanceolatus) and false quackgrass (Elymus pseudorepens), among others. The adaptability and high fecundity of the bearded wheat grass means it is widely used for re-vegetating disturbed land and it has been used for rehabilitating mine spoils, oil-drilling sites, livestock ranges, wildlife habitat, and watershed areas (2).
The bearded wheat grass is grazed on by the sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), elk (Cervus canadensis), moose (Alces alces), bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis), mountain goat (Oreamnos americanus), pronghorn (Antilocapra americana), various rodents, and livestock (2) (5). Birds and small mammals use this plant’s seeds for food and the foliage for cover and nesting material (2) (5).