En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Native Indian Rice Grass cultivation as food source

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - September 30, 2006

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Native Indian Rice Grass cultivation as food source
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi! I'm a student at UT and I ran across a grass while doing some reseach, native to Utah and Arizona, called Indian Ricegrass. It was used as a famine plant among native communities, however, it was never really used as a primary source of food. All of the sources that I have found indicates that it's a hardy plant, with larger seeds than many wild grasses and high protein levels. Why was this plant never domesticated for agricultural use?

ANSWER:

Indian Rice Grass (Achnatherum hymenoides), native to California, the Rocky Mountain states, midwestern, southwestern and northwestern United States and western Canada, is being cultivated and is recommended by the U. S. Department of Agriculture for use as a feed for livestock and wildlife and as a reclamation crop for disturbed areas. Improved selected cultivar seeds are available for purchase.

Flour made from Indian rice grass grains is gluten free. Gluten-free flour is essential for people suffering from celiac disease or are otherwise gluten intolerant. The Indian rice grass has the advantage over other gluten-free flours (such as those made from rice, beans, potatoes, or corn) in that it is high in protein, high in fiber and makes very flavorful baked goods. An article, Value Added Corner: Amazing Grains!, in the USDA magazine, Rural Cooperatives (Volume 71, number 3, July/August 2004) describes the formation, with research and support from Montana State University and the U. S. Department of Agriculture, of a grower-owned cooperative that now "produces, processes, packages, markets and distributes a gluten-free flour made from Indian rice grass. The cooperative also supplies state-certified native grass seed for private and federal land reclamation projects." Amazing Grains Grower Cooperative now sells an all-purpose flour blend and a baking flour supplement under its brand name "Montina" which can be found in stores in 40 of the 50 states.

 

More Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Source of Pectis angustifolia from Georgetown TX
December 26, 2012 - You answered an earlier question about Limoncillo (Pectis angustifolia) by saying you had found a source for these seeds in Santa Fe, but the hyperlink was inoperable. I'd like to try to propogate t...
view the full question and answer

Edible Plant Resources for Minnesota
February 25, 2010 - Can you suggest some references or resources that could tell me what native species would do well in a Twin Cities region edible forest? Pretty much all deciduous with buckthorn in the understory tha...
view the full question and answer

Looking for Yucca filamentosa, Adams Needle, to purchase
April 07, 2009 - Where can I purchase Adam's Needle in Austin or Travis County
view the full question and answer

Purchase of frostweed in Staten Island NY
January 05, 2010 - My grandson would like to buy a frostweed plant. Can I buy this from you?
view the full question and answer

Source for common names of plants in the United States
January 16, 2008 - Hello Mr. Plants! I am writing to you on behalf of Carol Sharp who is one of the leading plant and flower photographers here in the UK. We will shortly be making her collections of work availab...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center