Green foxtail

Setaria viridis (L.) Beauv

Life cycle

Erect summer annual.


Leaves are hairless, rough, rolled in the bud and up to 12 inches long. Leaf sheaths are hairless except for short hairs along the margin. 



green foxtail ligule
Green foxtail collar region.


Erect, mostly 3-foot-tall stems are branched and clump-forming at the base. Stems are usually round but are occasionally flattened in cross-section. 

Flowers and fruit

The seedhead is a dense, cylinder-shaped, foxtail-like panicle with green to purple bristles. Usually erect to slightly nodding seedheads are capable of producing prolific amounts of oval to egg-shaped, yellowish brown seeds. 

green foxtail seedhead
Green foxtail seedhead.



Similar weeds

Giant foxtail (S. faberi Herrm.) Differs by having a larger, up to 7-foot-tall stature, leaves with numerous short hairs on the upper surface, and longer, highly nodding panicles.

giant foxtail leaf surface giant foxtail ligule giant foxtail seedhead
Giant foxtail upper leaf surface (left), collar region (middle), and seedhead (right).

Yellow foxtail [S. glauca (L.) Beauv.] Differs by having long, wispy hairs on the upper leaf surface near the stem, a panicle with yellowish-brown bristles, and a yellow to light brown seedhead at maturity.

yellow foxtail plant yellow foxtail seedhead yellow foxtail ligule
Yellow foxtail seedling (left), seedhead (middle), and collar region (right).

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