E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Achnatherum hymenoides (Roem. & Schult.) Barkworth
sand ricegrass
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Ryan Batten  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #52759)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Achnatherum hymenoides
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Species Information

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Perennial, tufted grass from fibrous roots; stems 25-70 cm tall.
Sheaths open; blades in-rolled, 0.1-1 mm wide and usually wavy when dry; ligules on the lower leaves 1.5-7.5 mm long, tapering to sharp points, the upper ligules to 2 mm long.
Inflorescence an open, spreading panicle, 9-20 cm long, the unequal branches and flower stalks spreading wide; spikelets single at the end of each flower stalk; glumes 5-9 mm long, rounded at the base and tapering above the middle to points, with short, stiff hairs throughout; lemmas 3-4 mm long, densely hairy, the hairs 2.5-6 mm long, awned, the stout awns 3-6 mm long, the first segments rough or short-hairy, deciduous at maturity; paleas almost as long as the lemmas; calluses 0.4-1 mm long, sharp.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Late Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Spring to Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Dry sandy slopes and grasslands in the steppe and montane (rarely) zones; infrequent in SC and SE BC, rare in NW BC (Telegraph Creek); E to SW MB and S to AR, TX, NM, AZ, MX and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Achnatherum hymenoides

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 325 594 1030
Slope Gradient (%) 0 34 70
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
58 187 344
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 2 6
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BG(31), BWBS(1), ICH(2), IDF(6), PP(3), SBS(7)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Eriocoma cuspidata Nutt.
Oryzopsis hymenoides (Roem. & Schult.) Ricker ex Piper
Stipa hymenoides Roem. & Schult.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References