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Setaria pumila

Setaria pumila (Poir.) Roem. & Schult.

 

Yellow Foxtail, Yellow Bristlegrass, Pigeon Grass, Cattail Grass

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassLiliopsidaMonocots (plants with a single seed leaf); includes the lily family
SubclassCommelinidaeDayflowers and spiderworts, and several others
OrderCyperalesFlowering plants including grasses
FamilyPoaceaeGrasses (but not sedges or rushes)
GenusSetariaFrom Latin saeta, “a bristle or hair,” for the bristly spikelets
Speciespumila“Dwarf”

About plant names...

A native of Europe and Asia, yellow foxtail is now naturalized and widespread in North America.

Identification: Yellow foxtail grows in clumps to heights of 3' (1 m). Grass blades are flat or sometimes “keeled,” folded so they look like the cross-section of a boat, and 4-12" (10-30 cm) by ⅛-½" (5-12 mm) wide. Just above the point where the grass blade attaches to the stem, there are a lot of small hairs, called the ligule, on the inside of the blade. (In other related grasses, the ligule looks quite different.) The flowerhead is ¾-6" (2-15 cm) long and about ⅜" (1 cm) in diameter, and erect rather than nodding. The flowerhead is made up of spikelets, small seed pods, with bristles that appear yellow at maturity. It blooms from June through December.

 

Setaria pumila (Yellow Foxtail, Yellow Bristlegrass, Pigeon Grass, Cattail Grass)

9/25/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 3½ × 5" (9.2 × 13 cm) ID is uncertain

Setaria pumila (Yellow Foxtail, Yellow Bristlegrass, Pigeon Grass, Cattail Grass)

10/15/2008 · Back Yard, Pepperell, MA
≈ 7 × 8" (18 × 19 cm) ID is uncertain

Here are the foxtails:

 
Setaria faberi
You are here
Setaria pumila

Setaria viridis
Common Name

Giant Foxtail

Yellow Foxtail

Green Foxtail
Plant Plants are 24-60" (60-152 cm) tall, the largest foxtails, with multiple stems. The grass blades alternate, reaching up to 15" (38 cm) long and ¾" (1.9 cm) wide. Plants grow in clumps to heights of 3' (1 m). Plants grow in clumps with erect stems up to 3' (1 m) high.
Flowers Flowerheads are up to 7" (17 cm) long. Bristly and drooping under its own weight, they are green to light brown or purplish over time.

Setaria pumila (Yellow Foxtail, Yellow Bristlegrass, Pigeon Grass, Cattail Grass) 


¾-6" (2-15 cm) long × ⅜" (1 cm) in diameter, erect. The flowerhead is made up of spikelets with bristles that appear yellow at maturity. It blooms from June through December.

Setaria pumila (Yellow Foxtail, Yellow Bristlegrass, Pigeon Grass, Cattail Grass) 


Green panicle up to 6" (15 cm) in length and ¼-⅝" (8.5-16 mm) around, usually erect, sometimes slightly nodding.

Setaria pumila (Yellow Foxtail, Yellow Bristlegrass, Pigeon Grass, Cattail Grass) 


Leaves Not very stiff, often drooping. Upper leaf surfaces usually have scattered fine, stiff, bristled hairs, but they may also be smooth. Leaf blade edges have tiny teeth that make them feel rough. At the base of each grass blade, just above where it connects to the stem, there is a ringlike tuft of white hairs up to ⅛" (3 mm) long. Grass blades are flat or sometimes “keeled,” 4-12" (10-30 cm) by ⅛-½" (5-12 mm). Just above the point where the grass blade attaches to the stem, there are a lot of small hairs (ligule), on the inside of the blade. Leaf blades are medium dull green, rough but hairless (except sometimes near the edges), and up to 16" (40 cm) × ⅞" (2.5 cm).
Range/ Zones

Habitats Meadows, fields, landfills, mined land, construction sites, vacant lots, yard boundaries, gardens, railroads, roadsides, and waste land. Roadsides, ditch banks, fields, pastures, cropland, orchards, vineyards, gardens, turf, disturbed sites. Margins of woods, upland prairies, streambanks, pond margins, pastures, fields, lawns, cultivated areas, disturbed sites, roadsides, railroads.
Type Wild Wild Wild
Occurrence Common, sometimes invasive. Fairly common Common

 

Online References:

Setaria pumila University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program

Setaria pumila on the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program

Setaria pumila on Kansas Wildflowers and Grasses

Setaria pumila on CalPhotos

Setaria pumila on Invasive.org, Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health

References:

Uva, Richard H.; Neal, Joseph C.; DiTomaso, Joseph M., Weeds of the Northeast, Comstock Publishing Associates, 1997, p. 82 (good comparison between giant, yellow, and green foxtail)

Setaria pumila (Yellow Foxtail, Yellow Bristlegrass, Pigeon Grass, Cattail Grass)

8/25/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, East Pepperell, MA
≈ 4 × 4½" (10 × 12 cm) ID is uncertain

Setaria pumila (Yellow Foxtail, Yellow Bristlegrass, Pigeon Grass, Cattail Grass)

9/25/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 3 × 4½" (7.9 × 11 cm) ID is uncertain

Setaria pumila description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Aug 2013.

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Setaria pumila (Yellow Foxtail, Yellow Bristlegrass, Pigeon Grass, Cattail Grass)

9/18/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 4½ × 3" (11 × 7.9 cm) ID is uncertain

Setaria pumila (Yellow Foxtail, Yellow Bristlegrass, Pigeon Grass, Cattail Grass)

8/25/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, East Pepperell, MA
≈ 7 × 8" (18 × 21 cm) ID is uncertain

Range:

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