Paloma Indian Ricegrass

  • Scientific name: Orzhyopsis hymenoides
  • A widely adapted native grass
  • Drought tolerant, found on most range sites
  • Excellent in sandy, gravelly, and shallow soils
  • Valuable for domestic livestock and big game animals
  • Excellent source protein for upland game birds
  • Highly valued for wildlife habitat improvement
  • Widely used on disturbed sites, range mixes

Quantity is per pound. Example: 1 = 1 lb, 2 = 2 lbs, 3 = 3lbs, etc. This is pure seed, not a live plant.

Map of Indian Ricegrass Distribution Area
Indian Ricegrass Distribution Area

Min. to Max. Annual Precipitation


Average Max. Height

A widely adapted native grass of the intermountain west. Drought tolerant and found on most range sites. Grows at elevations between 3,000 and 10,000 feet and adapted to a wide variety of soils. Most frequently occurs in sandy, gravelly, and shallow soils, frequently found in dunes. Valuable grass for domestic livestock and big game animals. Excellent food source of high protein food for upland game birds. Highly valued for wildlife habitat improvement, disturbed sites, mine reclamation and range mixes.

Indian Ricegrass (Achnatherum hymenoides, Orzyopsis hymenoides) is the state grass of Utah. It is one of the more widely adapted native grasses of the intermountain west rangelands. Paloma Indian Ricegrass is drought tolerant and found on most range sites. It grows at elevations between 3,000 and 10,000 feet and is dapted to a wide variety of soils. It most frequently occurs in sandy, 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. It does not do well on wet or poorly drained soils. This species is an excellent choice for well drained, sandy soils and is frequently found in dunes and on sandy desert plains.

Indian Ricegrass (Orzyopsis hymenoides) is a key species on Utah foothills and semi-desert range. It is high in protein and 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 others. The seeds are high in protein.

Paloma Indian Ricegrass is a very valued and desired species for wildlife habitat improvement, disturbed sites, mine reclamation and range mixes.

Indian Ricegrass is also know by the scientific synonyms Stipa hymenodies and Orzyopsis hymenoides. It was used by various Indian tribes to make flour.

Synonyms: Oryzopsis hymenoides, Stipa hymenoides, Achnatherum hymenoides

***click the “Quick Plant Facts” tab above for more information.

Other Varieties: Nezpar, Rimrock

Paloma Indian Ricegrass: Very drought-tolerant, adapted to the south west.  Good seedling vigor, good forage, and long lived. ‘Paloma’ is often used to stabilize soils and re-vegetate rangelands in areas of low precipitation, and in areas where vegetation has been reduced or destroyed by surface mining, construction activities, brush control, overgrazing, or fires. Widely distributed in the western United States. It occurs at elevations of 2,000 to 10,000 feet, but it is most abundant from low semi-arid rangeland through the higher elevation pinyon-juniper zones. It is found on a variety of soils ranging from shallow-to-deep, and having various textures. Plant height ranges from 12 to 24 inches. ‘Paloma’ seeds are not completely round but are less elongated than other varieties. The original source of this variety was found west of Pueblo, CO. Released in 1974 NM PMC and AES.

(Orzyopsis hymenoides)

Paloma Indian Ricegrass NRCS Release Brochure

PDF version of NRCS Release Brochure

Citation: USDA-Natural Resources
Conservation Service, Los Lunas Plant Materials Center, Los Lunas, New Mexico 87031. Published August 1977; edited June 2011 ds.

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(Orzyopsis hymenoides)

Indian Ricegrass NRCS Plant Guide and Fact Sheet

PDF version of NRCS Plant Guide and Fact Sheet

Prepared By & Species Coordinator: Daniel G. Ogle, Plant Materials Specialist USDA, NRCS, Boise, Idaho

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Helpful Links

Additional information about this product can be found on the academic websites linked below.


Many plants have more than one common and scientific name. We've listed a few of them below.

  • Paloma Indian Ricegrass
  • Oryzopsis hymenoides
  • Stipa hymenodies
  • Orzyopsis hymenoides

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Quick Plant Facts
Common Name:

Indian Ricegrass

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