Pacific Pests, Pathogens and Weeds - Online edition

Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides

Bristly foxtail grass (508)

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  • Widespread. Naturalisation in Australia in doubt; common in Oceania.
  • Invasive annual, forming clumps over wide areas on disturbed, damp, shady ground, along roadsides, in forest clearings and crops. Weed of orchards, vegetables, root crops, plantations – banana, sugarcane, tea.
  • Erect stems, up to 2m. Leaves, dark-green, spear-shaped, wrinkled, broad (up to 30mm). Ligule – line of short hairs. Branched flower heads, up to 25cm, spikelets with two egg-shaped flowers, each with long bristle, up to 10mm.
  • Spread: vegetatively, stems rooting from lower nodes; seeds spread on machinery, animal fur, clothes. Long distance as seed contaminant of other species.
  • Biosecurity: risk is seed as a contaminant of other pasture grasses and legumes. Check imported machinery/vehicles.
  • Biocontrol: none.
  • Cultural control: hand-weed; slashing (but stem pieces regrow). Clean soil and seed from machinery/vehicles; check clothing. Ensure hay is free from bristle foxtail grass.
  • Chemical control: in Australia, butroxydim; glufosinate-ammonium; haloxyfop-P; oxyfluorfen; S-metolachlor; quizalofop-P-ethyl; pendimethaline. In Fiji, glyphosate.
Common Name

Bristly foxtail grass; it is also known as corn grass, East Indies foxtail grass, Mary grass.

Scientific Name

Setaria barbata. Previously, it was known as Chaetochloa barbata and Panicum barbatum. It is a member of the Poaceae.

AUTHORS Grahame Jackson & Makereta Ranadi
Information from weeds of Fiji. Department of Agriculture Bulletin No.35: 73-74; and Parham JW (1955) The grasses of Fiji. Suva. Government Press; and WIKITROP - Weed identification and knowledge in the tropical and Mediterranean areas (; and AUSGrass2. Grasses of Australia. (; and (including Photos 3&4 - copyright to Setaria barbata - Sungei Tengah Rd, Singapore. pizzamurderer(CC)) Setaria barbata (Lam.) Kunth. Plants of the world online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. (; and from Setaria barbata Kunth., Poaceae. Pacific island ecosystems at risk (PIER). ( Photo 1 Vengolis FloraKozhikode. Wikimedia Commons.( Photo 5 Marco Schmidt. Setaria barbata, F.Cl. de Pahou, Benin. Wikimedia Commons. (

Produced with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under project HORT/2016/185: Responding to emerging pest and disease threats to horticulture in the Pacific islands, implemented by the University of Queensland, in association with the Pacific Community and Koronivia Research Station, Ministry of Agriculture, Fiji.

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