medusahead

Cyperales > Poaceae > Taeniatherum caput-medusae (L.) Nevski
Synonym(s): medusahead rye

Medusahead is an annual grass native to the Mediterranean region. Plants are 8-24 in. (20-60 cm) tall and have few leaves. Leaves are less than 1/8 in. (0.3 cm) wide. Flowering occurs in late spring, when flower heads develop at the apex of the stems. The seed heads are what distinguish this plant from other annual grasses. Awns twist as they dry, hence the common name "medusahead". The longer of the two awns in each spikelet is barbed. These barbs catch on fur or clothing and spread seed. Medusahead was first collected in Oregon, in 1887. Plants invade dry, open lands with frequent disturbance.


Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources


Selected Images from Invasive.org

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Plant(s);
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
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Feature(s); Medusahead on left, cheatgrass on right
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
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Flower(s);
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Fruit(s);
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
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Fruit(s);
Steve Hurst, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, Bugwood.org
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Fruit(s);
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
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Prescribed Fire;
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
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Control; burning
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
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Diagram or Graphic; Hitchcock, A.S. (rev. A. Chase). 1950. Manual of the grasses of the United States. USDA Misc. Publ. No. 200. Washington, DC.
USDA PLANTS Database, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, Bugwood.org
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Invasive Reference(s):

Check Invasive.org for most current lists.
  • California - Noxious Weed Law
  • California - Invasive Plant Inventory
  • Colorado - Noxious Weed Law
  • Nevada - Noxious Weed Law
  • Oregon - Noxious Weed Law
  • Utah - Noxious Weed Law
  • Invasive Plants: Western North America
  • Invasive Plants: Guide to Identification and the Impacts and Control of Common North American Species


External Links


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USDA Forest Service Bugwood University of Georgia