Setaria faberi, Giant Foxtail

Gardens & Landscapes, Invasive Species December 16, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

Invasive Species: Setaria faberi, Giant Foxtail

Giant foxtail is an invasive annual grass that can reach 2 to 5 ft. (0.61 to 1.5 m) in height. Leaves are up to 16 in. (41 cm) long, 0.6 to 1 in. (15 to 25 mm) wide with small hairs covering the top of the leaves. Flowering occurs in late summer to early fall, when a green (eventually straw-colored), bristly inflorescence develops. The inflorescence resembles a foxtail, hence the common name. The fruit are small flattened ovoids with hard coats. They usually germinate in late spring to early summer. Giant foxtail is native to Asia and was accidentally introduced in the United States in the 1920s as a contaminant of other grain. Plants invade disturbed sites such as roadsides, landfills, fence rows, and right of ways.

What are invasive species and why should we be concerned about them? 


Taxonomy: Scientific and Common Names for This Species

Cyperales > Poaceae > Setaria faberi Herrm.

Synonym(s): Japanese bristlegrass, Chinese foxtail, Chinese millet, giant bristlegrass, nodding foxtail

Setaria faberi - USDA PLANTS Profile

Distribution Maps

Giant foxtail - The reported distribution of this invasive species across the United States (Source: Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States)

Up-to-the-minute distribution maps and why they are important

Reporting This Invasive Species

What is the best way and place to report the occurrence of an invasive species? 

 How to report an invasive species sighting to EDDMapS - Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System

EDDMapS - Report an Invasive Species to EDDMapS.

Cooperative Extension Offices - Find your local Cooperative Extension office on this map provided by USDA.

How to Identify

This invasive species can be identified by looking for the following characteristics described in the paragraphs that follow.

Grass

Giant foxtail is an invasive annual grass that can reach 2 to 5 ft. (0.61 to 1.5 m) in height.

giant foxtail giant foxtail
John D. Byrd, Mississippi State University, bugwood.org John D. Byrd, Mississippi State University,    bugwood.org

Foliage

Leaves are up to 16 in. (41 cm) long, 0.6 to 1 in. (15 to 25 mm) wide with small hairs covering the top of the leaves.

giant foxtail giant foxtail
Dan Tenaglia, Missouriplants.com,  bugwood.org

John D. Byrd, Mississippi State University,
bugwood.org

Flower

Flowering occurs in late summer to early fall, when a green (eventually straw-colored), bristly inflorescence develops. The inflorescence resembles a foxtail, hence the common name.

giant foxtail giant foxtail
Dan Tenaglia, Missouriplants.com,  bugwood.org Joseph M. DiTomaso, University of California-Davis,  bugwood.org

Fruit

The fruit are small flattened ovoids with hard coats.

giant foxtail giant foxtail
Bruce Ackley, Ohio State University,  bugwood.org Bruce Ackley, Ohio State University,  bugwood.org

Native Species That Can Resemble Giant Foxtail

Digitaria sanguinalis, large crabgrass - Images at Invasive.org

large crabgrass large crabgrass
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, bugwood.org

Joseph M. DiTomaso, University of California - Davis, bugwood.org

- Images at Invasive.org

   
bugwood.org bugwood.org

Additional Images for Giant Foxtail

Giant foxtail - Images at Invasive.org

Additional Information, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Control and management recommendations vary according to individual circumstances. Location, habitat, weather, and a variety of other conditions are factors that help determine the best treatment choice. To find the safest and most effective treatment for your situation, consult your state's land-grant institution. If you will use chemicals as part of the control process, always refer to the product label.

United States Land-Grant University System - Find your land-grant university's college of agriculture, Cooperative Extension office, or other related partner on this map provided by USDA.

Weed of the Week - USDA Forest Service

Taxon Report 7535 - Calflora

Grasses - Missouriplants.com

Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide - Virginia Cooperative Extension

Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium - University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point


 

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.