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(Taeniatherum caput-medusae)


(1A, very limited presence in Montana)

(Taeniatherum caput-medusae)

Quick ID

  • Grass
  • Long awns point outward and upward
  • As the plant dries, the awns twist
  • Often produces a lot of litter to form a thick litter layer
  • Seedheads do not fall apart like those of foxtail barley and squirreltail
Medusahead location map

Map Courtesy of Montana Natural Heritage Program, Medusahead – Low Suitability: 9% of Montana, Moderate: <1%, Optimal: <1%. Larger image.

Medusahead weed
Medusahead Grass

Video Information

Weed Images

Medusahead plant
Medusahead flower
Medusahead stem
Medusahead Invading

Weed Specifications

Weed Info
Type Information
Toxicity Non-toxic, but not palatable due to high silica content and stiff glumes and awns
Best Management Practices

Proper grazing management, minimize disturbance, thatch removal, good sanitation practices to avoid seed dispersal

*See additional documents below
Habitat Disturbed areas, degraded land, rangeland, thrives on high clay content soils, areas with cool wet winters and hot dry summers
Root Fibrous
Leaves Bright green and upright
Lifespan Winter annual, germinates and emerges in fall and begins growing again in the spring, initiating growth early in the growth season and reducing moisture and nutrients for native perennial grasses
Similar Looking Plants Bottlebrush squirreltail, foxtail barley
Important Information Serious threat to rangeland, particularly in high clay content soils; stiff glumes and awns pose a risk to fleece and flesh; litter impedes growth and germination of other species, ties up nutrients, and increases fire danger

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