Introduced from the Mediterranean in packing materials, and now widely distributed throughout North America.
A noxious weed along roadsides, pastures, and in many crop settings, but also a primary forage plant for livestock in some mountain environments. It is a winter annual that reproduces from seeds, with seeds germinating in the winter or late fall.
Mature plants grow to almost 3 feet tall in thick, aggressive clumps. Stems are erect and have prominent nodes that are sometimes reddish to purple in color. Leaves are broad and flat, and covered with short, soft hairs. A papery ligule is prominent at the base of the leaf where it attaches to the stem.
Flower heads are large and widely opened, drooping with the weight of the seeds as they mature, and causing all the seeds to form along one side of the stem. Each spikelet may be almost an inch long and closed, with a long, straight awn at its end. Spikelets become purplish as they mature.
Characteristicts Important to Control:
An aggressive annual weed with heavy seed production and early germination.