yellow foxtail

(Setaria pumila ssp. pumila)

Conservation Status
yellow foxtail
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNA - Not applicable


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland


FAC - Facultative

  Northcentral & Northeast

FAC - Facultative


Yellow foxtail is one of the first plants to appear in disturbed sites.

The leaf sheath has a fringe of hairs on the margins. The inflorescense spike is usually straight, though longer spikes may be slightly arched. There are 4 to 12 bristles beneath each spikelet. The bristles are yellow when young, turning yellowish-brown or orangish-brown (tawny) at maturity. They are never purple or purplish.




12 to 32


Similar Species


Green foxtail (Setaria viridis var. viridis) inflorescence spike is straight or nodding. There are 1 to 3 bristles per spikelet. The bristles are green or purple when young, turning purple or tawny at maturity.


Moderately dry to moist. Forest margins, roadsides, cultivated fields, waste places, disturbed sites, and lawns. Full sun.




June to October


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 4, 5, 7, 22, 28, 29, 30.




Native to Europe, Asia, northern Africa, and Canary Islands. Introduced and widely naturalized in North America.




Very common and widespread

  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Liliopsida (monocots)  


Poales (grasses, sedges, cattails, and allies)  


Poaceae (grasses)  
  No Rank PACMAD clade  
  Subfamily Panicoideae (bristlegrasses, bluestems, paspalums, and allies)  
  Tribe Paniceae (bristlegrasses, rosette grasses, barnyard grasses, and allies)  
  Subtribe Cenchrinae  


Setaria (foxtails and bristlegrasses)  
  Species Setaria pumila (yellow foxtail)  

Most taxonomic authorities recognize two subspecies of yellow foxtail, cattail grass (Setaria pumila ssp. pallidefusca) and yellow foxtail (Setaria pumila ssp. pumila). Yellow foxtail is naturalized in Minnesota. Cattail grass is rare in North America. In Minnesota, it has been reported at only one location in Anoka County. ITIS and the Catalogue of New World Grasses do not recognize any subspecies.




Chaetochloa glauca var. purpurea

Chaetochloa lutescens

Panicum glaucum var. flavescens

Panicum glaucum var. laevigatum

Panicum imberbe var. pumilum

Panicum lutescens

Panicum pumilum

Setaria glauca var. pumila

Setaria lutescens


Common Names


pale pigeon grass


pigeon grass

yellow bristle grass

yellow bristlegrass

yellow foxtail











Visitor Photos

Share your photo of this plant.

  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at
Attach one or more photos and, if you like, a caption.






    yellow foxtail   yellow foxtail  


    yellow foxtail      


    yellow foxtail   yellow foxtail  
    yellow foxtail   yellow foxtail  
    yellow foxtail      


    yellow foxtail   yellow foxtail  






Visitor Videos

Share your video of this plant.

  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at
Attach a video, a YouTube link, or a cloud storage link.


Other Videos
  Weed of the Week #839 - Yellow Foxtail (Air Date 5/4/14)
AgPhD's channel

Published on May 7, 2014

It's our Weed of the Week, Yellow Foxtail.

  Yellow foxtail
Ohio State University Weed Science

Published on Aug 20, 2014

This video is about Yellow foxtail

  Yellow foxtail , キンエノコロ
Koji Kimura

Published on Aug 19, 2013

Yellow foxtail , キンエノコロ




Visitor Sightings

Report a sighting of this plant.

  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at
Be sure to include a location.



Afton State Park

Badoura Jack Pine Woodland SNA

Belgium Prairie

Blaine Preserve SNA

Blaine Wetland Sanctuary

Blanket Flower Prairie SNA

Blazing Star Prairie Addition Preserve, South Unit

Buffalo River State Park

Charles A. Lindbergh State Park

Chippewa Prairie

Clifton E. French Regional Park

Compass Prairie SNA

Cottonwood River Prairie SNA

Crosby Farm Regional Park

Crow-Hassan Park Reserve

Des Moines River SNA

Dodge Nature Center

Elm Creek Park Reserve

Flandrau State Park

Frontenac State Park

Glacial Lakes Preserve

Glacial Lakes State Park

Glendalough State Park

Glynn Prairie SNA

Grey Cloud Dunes SNA

John Peter Hoffman Spring Brook Valley WMA

Kasota Prairie SNA

Kilen Woods State Park

Lake Bronson State Park

Lake Carlos State Park

Leif Mountain

McKnight Prairie

Minnesota Valley NWR, Chaska Unit

Minnesota Valley NWR, Wilkie Unit

Mound Spring Prairie SNA, North Unit

Myre-Big Island State Park

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Hoffman Unit

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Pavia Unit

Old Mill State Park

Ordway Prairie

Oronoco Prairie SNA

Otter Tail Prairie SNA

Pin Oak Prairie SNA

Pine Bend Bluffs SNA

Prairie Bush Clover SNA

Prairie Coteau SNA

Prairie Creek WMA, Koester Prairie Unit

Red Rock Prairie

Rice Lake Savanna SNA

Richard M. & Mathilde Rice Elliot SNA

River Terrace Prairie SNA

Rock Ridge Prairie SNA

Santee Prairie SNA

Savage Fen SNA

Schaefer Prairie

Seminary Fen SNA

Sheepberry Fen

Sibley State Park

Split Rock Creek State Park

Strandness Prairie

Town Hall Prairie

Twin Valley Prairie Addition

Twin Valley Prairie SNA

Tympanuchus Prairie

Uncas Dunes SNA

Verlyn Marth Memorial Prairie SNA

Vermillion River WMA

Whitewater State Park

Wild Indigo SNA

Wild River State Park

Wood-Rill SNA

Zimmerman Prairie







Last Updated:

© All rights reserved.

About Us

Privacy Policy

Contact Us