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Useful Temperate Plants

Eriocoma hymenoides

(Roem. & Schult.) Rydb.

Poaceae


The correct current name (2016) for this species is somewhat confusing. In this database, we first called it Achnatherum hymenoides (Roem. & Schult.) Barkworth, then some authorities changed it to Oryzopsis hymenoides (Roem. & Schult.) Ricker ex Piper, and now the Kew 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families' is recognizing Eriocoma hymenoides. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with the Kew database, and both of the previous names are still being used by various authorities. We have decided to follow Kew, though cannot be sure that the name will not revert to one of the earlier names[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

+ Synonyms

Achnatherum hymenoides (Roem. & Schult.) Barkworth

Eriocoma cuspidata Nutt.

Eriocoma membranacea (Vasey) Beal

Fendleria rhynchelytroides Steud.

Milium cuspidatum (Nutt.) Spreng.

Oryzopsis cuspidata (Nutt.) Benth. ex Vasey

Oryzopsis hymenoides (Roem. & Schult.) Ricker ex Piper

Oryzopsis membranacea Vasey

Stipa hymenoides Roem. & Schult.

Stipa membranacea Pursh

Urachne lanata Trin.

Common Name: Indian Millet

Eriocoma hymenoides
Plant growing in native habitat
Photograph by: Ryan Batten; CalPhotos
Creative Commons License
Eriocoma hymenoides Eriocoma hymenoides Eriocoma hymenoides Eriocoma hymenoides

General Information

Eriocoma hymenoides is a perennial, clump-forming grass, producing a tight cluster of erect culms 30 - 70cm long.[
1050
Title
Fire Effects Information System
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.feis-crs.org/feis/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line information site with comprehensive information on over 1,100 species of plant. Mainly developed to supply information on the effects of fire on plants and animals, it also contains a wealth of other information on the plants
].
Although the seeds are small, they provided an important food for the native north Americans, and the plant has been the subject of research to see if it can be improved to become a viable perennial seed crop in sub-arid areas. The plant also has potential for protecting and improving the fragile soils of these areas.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

43
Title
Gray's Manual of Botany.Eighth Edition
Publication
 
Author
Fernald. M. L.
Publisher
American Book Co.; New York
Year
1950
ISBN
0442222505
Description
A bit dated but a good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
,
60
Title
Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest.
Publication
 
Author
Hitchcock. C. L.
Publisher
University of Washington Press
Year
1955
ISBN
-
Description
A standard flora for Western N. America with lots of information on habitat etc. Five large volumes, it is not for the casual reader.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

Western N. America - British Columbia to Manitoba, south to Texas, California and Mexico.

Habitat

Sandy prairies and rocky slopes[
43
Title
Gray's Manual of Botany.Eighth Edition
Publication
 
Author
Fernald. M. L.
Publisher
American Book Co.; New York
Year
1950
ISBN
0442222505
Description
A bit dated but a good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
]. Generally found in dry, well-drained soils, in association with a range of plants[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
]. Dry foothills, rocky valley or upper slopes, plains, and ridges at elevations from 1,000 - 2900 metres[
1050
Title
Fire Effects Information System
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.feis-crs.org/feis/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line information site with comprehensive information on over 1,100 species of plant. Mainly developed to supply information on the effects of fire on plants and animals, it also contains a wealth of other information on the plants
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitPerennial
Height0.40 m
PollinatorsWind
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details


Succeeds in any moderately fertile moisture retentive soil in full sun[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. The plant is moderately tolerant of both alkali soils and salt, and is adapted to soils of low fertility. It is particularly well adapted to sand and attains its greatest abundance on loose sandy soils where it forms almost pure stand. It can succeed on a range of soils from coarse sand to heavy clay and is also found on shallow shale soils. The plant has deep, fibrous, extensive roots and is one of the most drought tolerant of the native range grasses of N. America[
1050
Title
Fire Effects Information System
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.feis-crs.org/feis/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line information site with comprehensive information on over 1,100 species of plant. Mainly developed to supply information on the effects of fire on plants and animals, it also contains a wealth of other information on the plants
].
Currently (1992) being tested for its potential as a perennial cereal for sandy soils in dry regions[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
].
This plants roots are often surrounded by a rhizosheath that harbors nitrogen-fixing organisms[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
]. These organisms probably contribute to the species' success as a colonizer[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
].

Edible Uses

Seed - raw, cooked or ground into a meal and used in making bread etc, gruel and as a thickener in soups[
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
,
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
85
Title
Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains.
Publication
 
Author
Harrington. H. D.
Publisher
University of New Mexico Press
Year
1967
ISBN
0-8623-0343-9
Description
A superb book. Very readable, it gives the results of the authors experiments with native edible plants.
,
106
Title
The Dictionary of Useful Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Coon. N.
Publisher
Rodale Press
Year
1975
ISBN
0-87857-090-x
Description
Interesting reading but short on detail.
,
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. The seed is rather small but when fully ripe it falls readily from the plant and is fairly easy to harvest[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. Another report says that the seed is rather large[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
], but this has not been our experience[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. The seeds were parched over the flames of a fire in order to remove the hairs[
213
Title
Earth Medicine, Earth Food.
Publication
 
Author
Weiner. M. A.
Publisher
Ballantine Books
Year
1980
ISBN
0-449-90589-6
Description
A nice book to read though it is difficult to look up individual plants since the book is divided into separate sections dealing with the different medicinal uses plus a section on edible plants. Common names are used instead of botanical.
]. A pleasant taste and very nutritious[
85
Title
Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains.
Publication
 
Author
Harrington. H. D.
Publisher
University of New Mexico Press
Year
1967
ISBN
0-8623-0343-9
Description
A superb book. Very readable, it gives the results of the authors experiments with native edible plants.
,
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
], it contains about 6% sugars and 20% starch[
213
Title
Earth Medicine, Earth Food.
Publication
 
Author
Weiner. M. A.
Publisher
Ballantine Books
Year
1980
ISBN
0-449-90589-6
Description
A nice book to read though it is difficult to look up individual plants since the book is divided into separate sections dealing with the different medicinal uses plus a section on edible plants. Common names are used instead of botanical.
]. Before corn was introduced to the area, this seed was at one time a staple food for some native North American tribes[
213
Title
Earth Medicine, Earth Food.
Publication
 
Author
Weiner. M. A.
Publisher
Ballantine Books
Year
1980
ISBN
0-449-90589-6
Description
A nice book to read though it is difficult to look up individual plants since the book is divided into separate sections dealing with the different medicinal uses plus a section on edible plants. Common names are used instead of botanical.
].

Medicinal

None known

Agroforestry Uses:

The plant is well-suited for surface erosion control and desert revegetation, although it is not highly effective in controlling sand movement. Certain native ecotypes exhibit desirable characteristics such as drought and salinity tolerance. However, the plant can be difficult to establish. It can be useful in the reclamation of many arid and semiarid areas in the western United States - typical sites include those in which vegetation has been removed due to surface mining, construction activity, brush control, heavy grazing, or fire. It can be used for revegetating degraded rangelands in areas of low precipitation and has naturally revegetated overgrazed ranges in parts of Utah. Several cultivars have been developed for use in restoration work on the prairies[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
,
1050
Title
Fire Effects Information System
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.feis-crs.org/feis/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line information site with comprehensive information on over 1,100 species of plant. Mainly developed to supply information on the effects of fire on plants and animals, it also contains a wealth of other information on the plants
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed - sow spring in situ[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
We have had better results from sowing the seed in a greenhouse. Only just cover the seed and it should germinate freely within 2 weeks. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in early summer[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
Seed retains viability for at least 14 years when stored in a cool, dry conditions. Approximately 38% of the seed germinated after 20 years of storage[
1050
Title
Fire Effects Information System
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.feis-crs.org/feis/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line information site with comprehensive information on over 1,100 species of plant. Mainly developed to supply information on the effects of fire on plants and animals, it also contains a wealth of other information on the plants
].
Division in spring. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2018-12-16. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Eriocoma+hymenoides>

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