Achnatherum hymenoides (Indian ricegrass)

Formerly Oryzopsis hymenoides. Densely tufted, cool season, very drought tolerant, perennial bunchgrass adapted to deep, well-drained soils. Forage is highly palatable and nutritious to livestock and wildlife. Seeds are sought by birds and small mammals. Sometimes occurs as a dominant species throughout its range. Excellent for rangeland improvement and land reclamation.

native Distribution



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 - Demonstrates consistently good establishment and desirable vegetative characteristics. Outperforms Paloma in the northern U.S. in yield and stand survival. (Released 1978, origin: Idaho County, ID) 

Paloma - Often used in range seedings for reclamation mixtures in the southern half of the species range. 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)