hymenoides (Roemer & J.A. Shultes) Barkworth
Stipa hymenoides Roemer
& J.S. Shultes
Oryzopsis hymenoides (Roemer & J.S. Shultes) Ricker ex
bunchgrass, without rhizomes, growing 1 to 2 ½ feet tall.
Starts growth in early spring, flowers in late spring, reproduces
from seeds and tillers.
Seedhead:Loose panicle with hair-like branches
which spread at distinctly wide angels; spikelets contain one floret,
solitary at ends of the panicle branches; lemmas hard and black,
remain around the seed, surrounded by dense white hair; awn 3/16
inch, readily breaks off; seeds readily shatter, leaving glumes
attached to panicle branches.
Leaves: Numerous, mostly basal, blades slender,
rolled, often as long as the culms; sheaths fringed on one margin
only; leaves rolled in the bud; ligules up to 3/8 inch long, membranous,
pointed, sometimes split; auricle absent.
is one of the more widely adapted native grasses of Utah rangelands.
It is drought tolerant and found on most of Utah's range sites.
It grows at elevations between 3,000 and 10,000 feet.
to a wide variety of soils, but does not do well on wet or poorly
drained soils. It is dominant on sandy stony, gravelly, and shallow
soils in the upland and semi-desert climatic zones. It is also adapted
to soils high in lime. It is moderately salt and alkali tolerant.
a tremendous variety of range plants from the salt desert shrub
association through the foothills bunchgrass, sagebrush types and
up into the mountain shrub types.
ricegrass is a key species on Utah foothills and semi-desert range.
It is one of the more valuable grasses for domestic livestock and
big game animals, providing excellent forage for spring and summer
use. It is especially valuable for winter grazing because the plants
cure well and lower plant parts remain somewhat green. Due to the
abundance of plump, nutritious seed, it is an excellent food source
for upland game birds, particularly mourning doves, pheasants and
Indian ricegrass depends on the moisture of the early growing season
to complete its normal growth and food storage cycles. Accordingly,
the grazing system for this grass should include an occasional deferment
from grazing during the springtime to permit the plant to go through
the flower and seed formation stages before available moisture is
exhausted from the soil. When grazed during the growing season,
40 percent of the top growth can be safely removed. During the dormant
season, 60 percent of the growth can be removed.
Fires that occur in the spring and summer may damage Indian ricegrass.
Seeds are high in protein, and members of various Indian tribes
used them to make flour.
Indian ricegrass is the State Grass of Utah.