Identifying Grass Seedlings

Foxtail, yellow (Setaria glauca)

Summer annual grasses


Yellow foxtail is a decumbent annual grass that may root at its nodes. Auricles are absent, the ligule is a tuft of hair, and sheaths are distinctly flat with a reddish color. The blades are 5–10 mm wide, a pale, blue-green color and hairless except at their bases, which have long, sparse hairs.

Mature smooth yellow foxtailMature yellow foxtail.

Collar region SeedheadCollar region: hairy ligule and hairs at base of leaves.
Right, yellow foxtail seedhead.


Yellow foxtail commonly occurs in cultivated fields, pasture, waste ground, landscapes and any open area with nutrient-rich soil.


Yellow foxtail is found throughout Missouri and across the United States.

Similar species

Giant foxtail also has a hairy ligule, but it is covered with hairs on the upper leaf surface. Green foxtail has a hairy ligule, but it lacks hairs along the upper leaf surface. Green foxtail has round stems.