Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Bur Bristle Grass
Setaria verticillata (L.) Beauv.
- Family: Grass (Gramineae)
- Flowering: July-October
- Field Marks: The distinguishing feature of this Setaria is that the top of the stalk bearing
the spike-like panicle is rough to the touch with downward pointing hairs. The green spike is
- Habitat: Disturbed areas.
- Habit: Annual herb with fibrous roots.
- Stems: Ascending to upright, branched, up to 2 feet tall, smooth.
- Leaves: Elongated, flat, blue-green, more or less short-hairy, rough to the touch,
1/4-3/4 inch wide.
- Flowers: Borne in spikelets in a spike-like, bristly panicle, the panicle often lobed, upright,
up to 6 inches long, up to 1/2 inch thick; stem just below the panicle rough to the touch with
downward pointing hairs; spikelets 1-flowered, 1/12-1/10 inch long, subtended by 1 purple or
tawny bristle; bristle up to 1/3 inch long, with downward pointing hairs.
- Glumes: Broadly lanceolate, pointed or rounded at the tip, 1-nerved, smooth, 1/32 inch
long, about 1/3 the length of the lemma.
- Lemmas: Ovate, pointed at the tip, wrinkled, up to 1/10 inch long.
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 3.
- Pistils: Ovary superior, smooth.
- Fruits: Grains ovoid, greenish.
- Notes: This grass has been introduced from Europe and Asia. Gleason and Cronquist call
this family Poaceae.
Previous Species -- Fox-tail Bristle Grass (Setaria italica)
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