Scientific Name: Leersia oryzoides

Common Name: rice cutgrass

Other Common Names: sicklegrass

Synonyms: Phalaris oryzoides, Homalocenchrus oryzoides

Leaves: Leaf blades are 7 to 30 cm long, 6 to 15 (20) mm wide, and yellow-green in color. They have a coarse or rough upper surface and are lined with tiny teeth along the margins.

Identifying Characteristics: Rice cutgrass is a native cool season grass that grows and flowers comparatively late in summer. The seed ripens in late August to early October, more typical of a warm season species. This short- to medium-lived perennial spreads by scaly, underground rhizomes and often forms dense colonies. The stalks (stems) are upright to sprawling, velvety at the nodes (joints), and 90 to 125 (150) cm tall.

Flower Seed Head: The flowerhead (panicle) is open, often drooping, and 10 to 20 cm long. Some panicles remain enclosed within the lower leaf sheaths and release seeds upon decay of the stem. The seed hull is covered with minute bristles that readily cling to clothing or fur for dispersal.

Where Found: Rice cutgrass is widespread across southern Canada and most of the United States. It is also found in the warmer parts of Europe.

  • Life cycle: perennial

  • Plant type: Grass

  • Auricle: not present

  • Plant family: Poaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: rolled in bud

  • Hair surface: no hairs; hairs from base to tip

  • Ligule: membrane

  • Length: 1-2 mm; less than 1 mm

  • Seed head: panicle

  • Width: 6 to 15 mm; less than 5 mm

  • Grass stem: round