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Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Achnatherum hymenoides (Roem. & Schult.) Barkworth
Indian ricegrass, Indian Millet, Sandgrass
Poaceae (Grass Family)
Synonym(s): Eriocoma cuspidata, Oryzopsis hymenoides, Stipa hymenoides
USDA Symbol: achy
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
Indian rice grass is a 1-2 ft., perennial bunchgrass. The sage-green, wiry foliage and ivory-colored seedheads give the grass an overall light, airy appearance. Foliage turns tan when dormant.
This beautiful grass often dominates sand dunes. It is a highly palatable species for many animals including livestock.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow , Green
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
, WY Canada: BC Native Distribution:
E. of the Cascades from B.C. to CA,
e. to Man., MN,
& n. Mex. Native Habitat:
Dry grasslands; deserts
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Low Light Requirement:
Sun Soil Moisture:
Dry CaCO3 Tolerance:
High Heat Tolerant:
Deep, sandy or rocky soils. Conditions Comments:
Indian ricegrass is very drought tolerant and useful in land reclamation projects. Remove old clumps to allow self-sown seedlings room to develop. This grass can be mowed to 8 in. in early fall. Achnatherum hymenoides
is a highly drought tolerant native
bunchgrass. The seed has a hard coat that prolongs dormancy, taking up to two years for an area that has been seeded to become fully established.
Indian ricegrass produces graceful inflorescence,
1 to 3 ft high & is used as an ornamental bunching grass in the landscape. Use Wildlife:
Wildlife forage. Seeds are sought by birds and small mammals. Use Food:
The seeds were ground for flour, mixed with water and cooked into a mush by the Montana Indians, Navajo, Hopi, Apache, Paiute, and others. Use Other:
Palatable for most grazing animals, can sustain relatively high grazing pressure if it is allowed to produce enough seed for reproduction.Indian ricegrass decreases under grazing because grazing removes the seeds, and therefore plants are not replaced. Conspicuous Flowers:
Birds , Butterflies Larval Host:
PropagationDescription: Sow seeds 1-2 in. deep. Increase by division in early spring or fall.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Seeds are dormant without pretreatment. Seeds must be scarified with H2SO4 to obtain germination. Mechanical scarification is also useful.
Commercially Avail: yes
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Plants to stop erosion in Arizona
January 17, 2009
I'm looking for a plant to stop erosion; I have big wash outs that are starting to erode my yard so I guess I'm looking for deep rooting plants. I live south of Tucson, Arizona. If you can advise me...
view the full question and answer
Groundcover for erosion control
September 23, 2008
I live in southern california. What is the best groundcover
to plant on a slope to prevent erosion?
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National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
Record Last Modified: 2009-04-18
Research By: BJG, MWJ