medusahead USDA PLANTS Symbol: TACA8
U.S. Nativity: Exotic
Habit: Grass or Grasslike
Taeniatherum caput-medusae (L.) Nevski

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Taxonomic Rank: Liliopsida: Cyperales: Poaceae
Synonym(s): medusahead rye
Native Range: Africa, temp. & trop Asia, Europe (GRIN);

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

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Control; burning
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
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Fruit(s);
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Infestation;
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Plant(s);
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Fruit(s);
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Infestation;
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Prescribed Fire;
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Feature(s); Medusahead on left, cheatgrass on right
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
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Flower(s);
Chris Evans, Illinois Wildlife Action Plan, 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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Fruit(s);
Steve Hurst, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

EDDMapS Distribution:
This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts and records obtained from USDA Plants Database. For more information, visit www.eddmaps.org
 


State(s) Where Reported invasive.
Based on state level agency and organization lists of invasive plants from WeedUS database.

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Invasive Listing Sources:
California Invasive Plant Council
Faith Campbell, 1998
John Randall, The Nature Conservancy, Survey of TNC Preserves, 1995.
Native Plant Society of Oregon, 2008
Pacific Northwest Exotic Pest Plant Council, 1998