Herbs & Plants

Achnatherum hymenoides

Botanical Name: Achnatherum hymenoides
Family: Poaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales
Subfamily: Pooideae
Genus: Oryzopsis
Species: O. hymenoides

Common Names: : Indian ricegrass and Sand rice grass, Indian Millet,Indian Mountain Ricegrass

Habitat: Achnatherum hymenoides is native to western North America east of the Cascades from British Columbia and Alberta south to southern California, northeastern Mexico, and Texas. It grows on sandy prairies and rocky slopes. Generally found in dry, well-drained soils, in association with a range of plants.

Achnatherum hymenoides is a perennial grass growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in).It grows in a variety of habitats from desert scrub to ponderosa pine forests. It can live in soils from sand to clay, but it does particularly well in sand, where it is the dominant grass growing with sagebrush, and may occur almost unmixed with other plants. It stabilizes shifting sand.

It is in flower from May to July. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Wind.
It can fix Nitrogen.

Fruiting season: July – August …CLICK & SEE

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: simpleLeaves are mostly basal, about as long as the stem, very slender, .1 to 1 mm wide, rolled up along the edges (involute), smooth to slightly rough-textured, and stiff. The sheath is smooth to slightly rough-textured and sometimes minutely hairy along the edge near the tip. The ligule (membrane where the leaf joins the sheath) is 3 to 7.5 mm long, shorter on the upper stem, smooth to jagged along the tip and lacks a fringe of hairs. Nodes are smooth. Stems are unbranched, hairless, mostly erect, multiple from the base and forming loose to dense clumps.

Flowers: Open, loose, branching cluster at the top of the stem, 2½ to 6 inches long, with 1 or 2 branches per node. Branches are up to 6 inches long, ascending to spreading, with 1 or more pairs of spikelets (flower clusters) per branch, each pair conspicuously forked with each spikelet on a wiry stalk up to 1 inch long. Spikelets are spindle-shaped in outline and have a single floret.

At the base of a spikelet is a pair of bracts (glumes), both about equal in size and shape, thin and papery, hairless to minutely hairy, 3-veined, 5 to 9 mm (to ~1/3 inch) long, narrowly egg-shaped with a long taper to a narrow tip, sometimes with an awn up to 2mm long. Florets are surrounded by a pair of bracts (lemma and palea), the lemma leathery becoming hardened, brown to black at maturity, densely white-hairy with mostly appressed hairs that easily rub off and are about as long as the lemma, the lemma body 3 to 4.5 mm long tapering to a straight or bent awn 3 to 6 mm long that falls off before maturity; the palea is similar to the lemma but lacks the awn.


Succeeds in any moderately fertile moisture retentive soil in full sun[200]. This species is unlikely to tolerate temperatures lower than about -5°c, and so will only be suitable for the milder areas of the country. Currently (1992) being tested for its potential as a perennial cereal for sandy soils in dry regions. This plants roots are often surrounded by a rhizosheath that harbors nitrogen-fixing organisms. These organisms probably contribute to the species’ success as a colonizer. Climate: cold to warm temperate. Humidity: arid to humid. Carbon Farming Solutions – Cultivation: new crop (Describes the non-destructive management systems that are used in cultivation)

Edible Uses:
Seed – raw, cooked or ground into a meal and used in making bread etc, gruel and as a thickener in soups. The seeds are ground into a meal for bread and porridge. They can also be used for cakes. They can be mixed with cornmeal and used for dumplings. The seed is rather small but when fully ripe it falls readily from the plant and is fairly easy to harvest. Another report says that the seed is rather large, but this has not been our experience. The seeds were parched over the flames of a fire in order to remove the hairs. A pleasant taste and very nutritious, it contains about 6% sugars and 20% starch. Before corn was introduced to the area, this seed was at one time a staple food for some native North American Indian tribes. Carbon Farming Solutions – Staple Crop: balanced carb (The term staple crop typically refers to a food that is eaten routinely and accounts for a dominant part of people’s diets in a particular region of the world).

Medicinal Uses: Not known to us.

Other Uses:
Several cultivars have been developed for use in restoration work on the prairies. It helps stabilize shifting sand. An important food for livestock and for wild grazers such as bison, desert bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer, pronghorns, and jackrabbits.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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