Achnatherum hymenoides (Indian ricegrass)

Formerly Oryzopsis hymenoides. Densely tufted, cool season, perennial bunchgrass, adapted to deep, well-drained soils. Tolerant of weakly saline and sodic soils. Very drought tolerant and winter hardy. Valuable for stabilizing sandy soils susceptible to wind erosion. Excellent for native restoration, rangeland improvement and disturbance reclamation. Often slow to germinate but good seedling vigor. Sometimes occurs as a dominant species. Forage is highly palatable and nutritious to livestock and wildlife. Seeds are sought by birds and small mammals. Varieties listed below.




Family: Poaceae

Duration: Perennial, short lived

Growth Habit: Graminoid

Native Status: Native

Season: Cool season

Growth Form: Bunchgrass

Mature Height: 12-24 in.

Annual Precipitation: 6-16 in.

Drought Tolerance: High

Shade Tolerance: Intolerant


Wetland Indicator Status: UPL

Fire Resistance: No

Fire Tolerance: High


Coarse Texture: Yes

Medium Texture: Yes

Fine Texture: No

Salinity Tolerance: Low

CaCO3 Tolerance: High

pH Range: 6.6-6.8


Seeds per Pound: 141,000

Seeding Rate: 6-12 PLS lbs/acre

Season: Fall

Days to Germination:


Nezpar - Consistently good establishment. Survives in areas with as low as 6 in. annual precipitation. Outperforms Paloma in the northern U.S. in yield and stand survival. (Released 1978, origin: Idaho County, ID)

Paloma - Used in the southern half of the species range. Long lived, good regrowth and spring recovery. Some resistance to root rot damage. (Released 1974, origin: Pueblo County, CO)

Rimrock - Cold hardy and better adapted to northern latitudes than Nezpar. Prodigious seed producer. Similar in establishment and vegetation characteristics to Nezpar and Paloma. (Released 1996, origin: Yellowstone County)

Star Lake - Small-seeded variety intended for use on wildlands and mined lands in the Colorado Plateau and Arizona-New Mexico Plateau ecoregions. Excellent germination. (Released 2004, origin: McKinley County, NM) 

White River - High germination rates and seed yield. Intended for wildland restoration, mineland rehabilitation, and mountain rangelands in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. (Released 2006, origin: Rio Blanco County, CO)