En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Where to find Yarrow for sale in the area of Ft. Worth TX?
May 05, 2011 - I'm very fond of the native plant called "Yarrow." Where might I find this in the Fort Worth area, and what are the tips for growing it. Seems like I saw it in one of the gardens at the LBJ Wildf...
view the full question and answer

SITES (or CITES) accredited source for native orchids
January 03, 2012 - Do you know of a nursery which is SITES accredited which offer North American native orchids? I grow as a hobby indoor ones as well as keep my eyes out protecting the outside native ones we have: Spir...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on garden weddings
November 19, 2004 - What native perennial plants should reliably be in bloom March 5? I am an avid gardener and having a garden wedding next year (March 5, 2005). For table center pieces, I am hoping to buy flats of ...
view the full question and answer

Are Texas mallows the source of marshmallows?
March 30, 2009 - Did marshmallows that we eat originate from our native Texas mallow plants?
view the full question and answer

Sources for native plants from Austin TX
December 19, 2012 - Hello. I am currently planning a Texas native plant garden. Unfortunately, I cannot seem to find the seeds/bulbs/roots/plants for some of the natives at local nurseries: Indian Ricegrass (Achnatherum ...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center