Red Desert Rice {Achnatherum hymenoides}


red desert rice achnatherum hymenoides

Description: Also known as Indian Ricegrass, it is native to many states west of the Mississippi, including California. It is a perennial bunchgrass that ranges in color from sage green to tan depending on whether or not the plant is dormant. Each plant grows between one and three feet tall and produces its own cluster of long, thin lanceolate leaves.  It produces small yellow flowers in the spring.

Habitat: A. Hymenoides grows in every state west of the Mississippi excluding Minnesota and Arkansas, as well as several western Canadian provinces. As the plant requires little water to grow, it is often found growing in dry grasslands and deserts.

Traditional Uses: A. Hymenoides produces edible seeds. These seeds can be ground into flour. Some Indigenous people, such as the Navajo, Hopi, Paiute and Montana reportedly mixed the flour with water and boiled it into a mush.

Other: Red Desert Rice is also a good source of forage for birds and small mammals.

Bibliography:,,, wilderness survival instructor, Cherokee medicine man, & ethnobotany teacher Richard Lonewolf


   Wild Willpower looks forward to filming Richard Lonewolf AND other experts in the near future to have them teach everyone from this website for free.  We’re currently fundraising $ 450,000 to acquire our list of needed resources so we can make this website operate as described here.  We are in immediate need of a vehicle to finish documenting his new book & to build this database as well!  Even a small amount helps a great deal!


Database Entry: Distance Everheart 7-31-13, updated 12-2-2015 Ender Kirin

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