|Indian ricegrass growing in cryptobiotic crust at White Sands National Park|
(Roem. & Schult.) Rydb.
Eriocoma hymenoides (common names: Indian ricegrass and sand rice grass) is a cool-season, perennial bunchgrass with narrow, rolled leaf blades. It is native to western North America east of the Cascades from British Columbia and Alberta south to southern California, northeastern Mexico, and Texas.
In the wild, it typically grows 4 to 24 in (10 to 61 cm) tall and 8 to 12 in (20 to 30 cm) wide.
Indian ricegrass is an important food wild grazers such as bison, bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer, pronghorns, and jackrabbits. For some of these species, it is especially vital in late winter, as it produces green shoots earlier than other grasses. The seeds are heavily consumed by many rodents and birds. Seed caching rodents may enhance seedling survival and long term survival of the plant
Indian ricegrass is preferentially consumed by cattle and is an early casualty of overgrazing. It has been eliminated from many sites throughout its range.
In the past, the grass was a staple food of Native Americans, especially when the maize crop failed, and for non-agricultural tribes. Seed of the ricegrass was gathered and ground into meal or flour and made into bread. Since 2000, the ricegrass has been cultivated in Montana and marketed under the trade name Montina as a gluten-free grain. The Zuni people used the ground seeds as a staple before the availability of corn.
The Utah Section of the Society for Range Management began campaigning for a state grass in the mid-1980s, and after studying many species the field was narrowed to four candidates, Indian ricegrass, bluebunch wheatgrass, galleta grass, and Great Basin wildrye. Indian ricegrass was then selected. The state-grass bill was introduced by Senator Alarik Myrin, a member of the Society, in 1989.
- "PLANTS Profile for Achnatherum hymenoides". USDA, NRCS. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
- Syst. Veg., ed. 15 bis [Roemer & Schultes] 2: 339. 1817 [Nov 1817] "Plant Name Details for Stipa hymenoides". IPNI. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
basionym of Poaceae Achnatherum hymenoides
- Gen. N. Amer. Pl. [Nuttall]. 1: 40. 1818 [14 Jul 1818] "Plant Name Details for Eriocoma cuspidata". IPNI. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
Notes: = Oryzopsis cuspidata
- Dept. Agric. Special Rep. 63: 23. 1883 "Plant Name Details for Oryzopsis cuspidata". IPNI. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
nomenclatural synonym: Poaceae Eriocoma cuspidata Nutt.
- Phytologia 74(1): 7 (1993) "Plant Name Details for Achnatherum hymenoides". IPNI. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
Basionym: Stipa hymenoides
- "Eriocoma hymenoides". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 2022. Retrieved September 15, 2022.
- Stubbendick, James (2017). North American Wildland Plants, third ed. University of Nebraska Press. p. 174. ISBN 978-0-8032-9965-8.
- Mojave Desert Wildflowers, Pam MacKay, 2nd Ed., p287
- Tirmenstein, D. 1999. Achnatherum hymenoides. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Retrieved on 2009-04-24.
- Canyon Country Wildflowers, Damian Fagan, 2nd ed., 2012, Morris Bush Publishing, LLC. in cooperation with Canyonlands Natural History Association, ISBN 978-0-7627-7013-7
- "The Montina Story". Amazing Grains. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved March 30, 2010.
- Stevenson, Matilda Coxe 1915 Ethnobotany of the Zuni Indians. SI-BAE Annual Report #30 (p.67)
- Castetter, Edward F. 1935 Ethnobiological Studies in the American Southwest I. Uncultivated Native Plants Used as Sources of Food. University of New Mexico Bulletin 4(1):1-44 (p. 27)
- Nevada Revised Statutes, Chapter 235 Section 055. Retrieved on 2008-03-27
- Nevada Facts - State grass Archived 2015-05-05 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2008-03-27.
- Utah Code Section 63-13-5.5. State symbols. Archived 2004-12-11 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 2008-03-27.
- Utah State Symbols - Indian Ricegrass Pioneer - Utah's Online Library. Retrieved on 2010-06-29