Achnatherum hymenoides has a distribution that ranges from British Columbia to northern Mexico, spanning most of the western part of the North American continent (the USDA PLANTS database also suggests an occurrence in Yukon).
This species is commonly known as Indian ricegrass, suggesting edibility. The Plants for a Future database account for Achnatherum hymenoides compiles information on this from a number of sources:
Seed – raw, cooked or ground into a meal and used in making bread etc, gruel and as a thickener in soups. The seed is rather small but when fully ripe it falls readily from the plant and is fairly easy to harvest. Another report says that the seed is rather large, but this has not been our experience. The seeds were parched over the flames of a fire in order to remove the hairs. A pleasant taste and very nutritious, it contains about 6% sugars and 20% starch. Before corn was introduced to the area, this seed was at one time a staple food for some native North American Indian tribes
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