Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Fox-tail Bristle Grass
Setaria italica (L.) Beauv.
- Family: Grass (Gramineae)
- Flowering: June-October
- Field Marks: This species differs from all other species of Setaria by its large, lobed,
spike-like panicles with yellow, red, or blackish grains.
- Habitat: Disturbed areas.
- Habit: Coarse annual herb with fibrous roots.
- Stems: Upright, usually unbranched, often rather stout, smooth, up to 5 feet tall.
- Leaves: Elongated, flat, usually smooth, up to 1 1/2 inches wide.
- Flowers: Borne in spikelets arranged in a spike-like, bristly panicle, the panicle often lobed,
upright or arching, up to 1 foot long, up to 1 3/4 inches thick; stem just beneath the panicle
often rough to the touch; spikelets 1-flowered, up to 1/8 inch long, subtended by 1-3 green,
brown, or purplish bristles; bristles up to 1/2 inch long, with upward pointing hairs.
- Glumes: Pointed, smooth, up to 1/8 inch long.
- Lemmas: Ovate, pointed at the tip, smooth, up to 1/8 inch long.
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 3.
- Pistils: Ovary superior, smooth.
- Fruits: Grains ovoid, smooth or wrinkled, yellow, red, or blackish.
- Notes: Gleason and Cronquist refer to this family as Poaceae.
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