Mountain ricegrass

Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. Updated February 2018.

Scientific name: Piptatherum pungens (Torr. ex Spreng.) Dorn; also Oryzopsis pungens (Torr. ex Spreng.) Hitchc.; also Piptatheropsis pungens (Torr.) Romasch., P.M. Peterson & R.J. Soreng

Common name(s): mountain ricegrass, sharp piptatherum, short-horned ricegrass, short-awned mountain ricegrass, slender mountain ricegrass, northern ricegrass

Link(s): USDA PLANTS Profile, NPIN Profile, Go Botany

Images: (to see enlargements [PC]: click on image, then right click and choose “view image”)


– perennial

-leaf blade is 0.5–1.8 mm in width

-spikelet is 3.5–4.5 mm long


– may be confused with P. canadense, which also occurs in wild blueberry fields, or Oryzopsis asperifolia; see left sidebar on Go Botany webpage

– endangered in CT, threatened in VT, of concern in RI


-deciduous/ mixed evergreen deciduous forests

-disturbed sites





Go Botany. “Piptatherum Pungens (Torr. Ex Spreng.) Dorn.” Piptatherum Pungens (Short-Awned Mountain-Rice Grass): Go Botany, 2021,


Eric T. Doucette, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor of Biology, MA College of Liberal Arts, North Adams, MA (updated Feb 2018)