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Southwestern Bristlegrass

Setaria scheelei

Other common name(s):

Scheele's Bristlegrass, Scheele's Foxtail Grass, Foxtail Grass

Family:

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Plant Ecoregion Distribution Map

Chihuahuan Deserts, Cross Timbers, East Central Texas Plains, Edwards Plateau, Gulf Coast Prairies and Marshes, Southern Texas Plains, Texas Blackland Prairies
Low Mountains and Bajadas
Limestone Cut Plain
Bastrop Lost Pines, San Antonio Prairie, Southern Post Oak Savanna
Balcones Canyonlands, Edwards Plateau Woodland, Llano Uplift, Semiarid Edwards Plateau
Coastal Sand Plain, Floodplains and Low Terraces4, Laguna Madre Barrier Island and Coastal Marshes, Lower Rio Grande Alluvial Floodplain, Lower Rio Grande Valley, Mid-Coast Barrier Islands and Coastal Marshes, Northern Humid Gulf Coastal Prairies, Southern Subhumid Gulf Coastal Prairies
Northern Nueces Alluvial Plains, Rio Grande Floodplain and Terraces, Semiarid Edwards Bajada, Texas-Tamaulipan Thornscrub
Floodplains and Low Terraces1, Northern Blackland Prairie, Southern Blackland Prairie

Plant Characteristics

Growth Form

Grass & Sedge

Height

2
to
3
ft.

Spread

0.5
to
1
ft.

Leaf Retention

Deciduous

Lifespan

Perennial

Habitat and Care Requirements

Soil Type(s)

Sand, Loam, Well Drained

Light Requirement

Part Shade, Shade

Water Requirement

Low, Medium

Native Habitat

Grassland

Bloom and Attraction

Bloom Color

White, Green

Bloom Season

Spring, Summer, Fall

Seasonal Interest

Seeds, Forage, Larval Host

Wildlife Benefit

Browsers, Birds, Small Mammals

Maintenance

One of the “big four” grasses of the American tallgrass prairie. Nice ornamental bunch grass. Likes disturbed soils in shaded to partly shaded areas. Requires less supplemental water in richer soils. Cut back if dies back during drought and during winter dormancy. Propagation: Clump division, Seed.

Comments

Warm season bunchgrass with somewhat flattened stems and sheaths. Dense system of roots may reach down to 8′ in depth. Leaves and stems are purplish to blue green in color. Seeds eaten by songbirds, waterfowl, marsh birds, and small mammals. In the wild it occurs in sandy loam soils and usually in the shade of trees or shrubs. Larval Host: most branded skippers and most of the satyrs.
Previous Scientific Name(s): Synonym(s): Panicum scheelei

References

1) Griffith, Bryce, Omernick & Rodgers (2007). Ecoregions of Texas. 2) https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=SESC2. 3) https://portal.torcherbaria.org/portal/taxa/index.php?taxon=Setaria+scheelei&formsubmit=Search+Terms. 4) http://bonap.net/TDC/Image/Map?taxonType=Species&taxonId=19020&locationType=County&mapType=Normal, 5) https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=41238#null, 6) Hatch, Umphres, Ardoin, 2015, Field Guide to Common Texas Grasses, pg 256,.