Indian Rice Grass was used by the Native Americans as a pantry staple. Women harvested the grain in the fall, and it was used as a rice type grain, as porridge, and to make flat bread. The seed is harvested, and the outer husk is removed. The hairs that surround the seed are then parched off. The black seed is the portion that is edible. In Spanish, the seed is called Arroz Indio. Other common names include Sand Grass and Indian Millet. The Santa Clarita area was considered the breadbasket region for the Native Americans. Many tribes would gather in Castaic to exchange goods. The Chumash would bring dried fish. The Tataviam would bring acorns and grains, and the Kitanemuk would bring dried deer and rabbit meat to share.
This plant likes sandy soil, well-drained soil, but it can also be found in some moister climates as well.