Scientific Name: Setaria italica

Common Name: foxtail millet

Other Common Names: foxtail bristlegrass

Synonyms: Chaetochloa italica, Panicum italica

Habit: Foxtail millet is an erect summer annual that can reach up to 5 feet tall.

Leaves: Leaves can be glabrous and may be rough and up to 12 inches long. Leaves are approximately 2-8 inches wide. The ligule is a fringe of hairs that is less than a tenth of an inch.

Identifying Characteristics: Foxtail millet can be identified by its hairy ligule and hollow stem that has pubescence on the nodes.

Flower Seed Head: The seedhead is a bristly panicle, similar to most of the foxtail species. The seedhead is nodding and ranges from 1 to 8 inches long. This species flowers from July to September.

Seed Fruit: The fruit is a caryopsis, a simple dry grain, that is oval in shape. The color can vary from tan, red, brown to black.

Where Found: Commonly a weed of fields, pastures, turf, and other non crop sites, such as railroads and roadsides.

  • Life cycle: summer annual

  • Plant type: Grass

  • Auricle: not present

  • Plant family: Poaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: rolled in bud

  • Hair surface: no hairs

  • Ligule: hairy

  • Length: 1-2 mm; 2-3 mm; less than 1 mm

  • Root structure: fibrous

  • Seed head: bristly

  • Width: 6 to 15 mm; more than 15 mm

  • Grass stem: round