IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

Comprehensive Description

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Even though they share the common name, 'Foxtail,' the cool-season Alopecurus spp. are quite distinct from the weedy warm-season Setaria spp. Sometimes the latter are referred to as 'Bristlegrasses' because their spike-like panicles can feel bristly and rough depending on the direction in which they are rubbed. In contrast, the spike-like panicles of Alopecurus spp. feel soft, regardless of which direction they are rubbed. Another species, Phleum pratense (Timothy), is a larger grass with spike-like panicles that are more stout; its panicles also feel more rough when they are rubbed. Short-awned Foxtail (Alopecurus aequalis) can be distinguished from other Alopecurus spp. by the its short awns, which are exserted no more than about 1 mm. from the tips of its spikelets. Other species of this genus that occur in Illinois have awns that are exserted 2.0 mm. are more from the tips of their spikelets. In addition, the spike-like panicles of these other species tend to be more stout (5.5 mm. or more in diameter).


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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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