• Medusahead Plant 215x150

Category B Weed

Grass family (Poaceae)

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Medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae)


    • 0.5-2 ft. tall; slender; round in cross-section


      • 4-12 in. long, less than 0.12 in. wide; sometimes covered with short hairs; collar region usually has long hairs, auricles and a membranous ligule


        • Seedhead is a spike, 0.5-2 in. long; awns are stiff, straight or twisted, barbed and up to 3 in. long; spikes often remain intact on dry plants through winter


          • Fibrous


            • Grows best on clay soils; primarily infests rangeland; known to occur in Churchill, Douglas, Elko, Humboldt, Pershing, Storey and Washoe counties

            • Annual; reproduces by seed; matures 2-4 weeks later than other annual grasses

            • Unpalatable to grazing animals due to high levels of silica in the foliage and long, stiff awns


              • Tillage, mowing or grazing prior to seed set can reduce stands

              • Burning has had mixed results; most effective with a hot, slow fire prior to medusahead seed maturity but after other species have dried-down; burning can also be used to reduce the thatch layer, which canincrease the performance of soil-applied herbicides

              • Apply imazapic or sulfometuron before emergence or to small, actively growing plants; glyphosate to actively growing plants