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Illinois Native Plant Guide - Rice Cut Grass - Pgs 100-101

Illinois Native Plant Guide

Rice Cut Grass
Leersia oryzoides

Preferred Water Depth and Inundation Tolerance

Prefers moist to saturated soil. Young plants do not tolerate submergence for longer than 2 - 3 days (Max: 8”/Min: saturated soil). Mature plants tolerate seasonal to permanent flooding. This species also has an observed tolerance to water level fluctuations.

Wildlife Value

Seeds and roots are eaten by waterfowl, rails, herons, and muskrats. Songbirds also eat seeds. Plants provide cover for many reptiles, amphibians, insects, and fish.


Used in upper shoreline zones, for streambank stabilization, and in vegetated swales. Provides good sediment stabilization.

Availability, Establishment, and Maintenance

  • Seeds, rhizomes, rootstocks, and container grown plants are readily available from several commercial vendors.
  • Once source reports that fall seeding is preferred. Seed dormancy can be broken by overwintering or by cold water stratification.
  • Other sources report excellent greenhouse germination following cold, dry storage.
  • Temperature and light do not seem to affect seed germination.
  • A low rate of establishment has been observed in restorations from seed.
  • Rhizomes should be planted 2-5 inches deep on 1-3 foot centers in the spring.
  • Seeds, rootstocks, and rhizomes should be planted in saturated soil and not inundated during establishment. Plants should attain a height of 4-6 inches before water level is gradually increased.
  • Rate of spread is moderate to sometimes aggressive once plants are established.

Rice Cut Grass
Leersia oryzoides

Mature HeightRice Cut Grass
3-5 feet, erect or sprawling

Plant Type
Perennial emergent grass

Indicator Status


Nutrient Load Tolerance
Moderate to high

Salt Tolerance

Siltation Tolerance

Flowering Color and Time
Greenish white
June to October

Light Preference
Partial to full sun

Seeding Rate
.1 - .25 lbs/acre

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