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Japanese bristlegrass (Setaria faberi Herrm.)

Also known as giant foxtail.

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An annual grass, native to East Asia and introduced in North America.

Range - Expand

Introduced or Not Present

This tentative map is based on our own research. It may have limited data on Canada and/or Mexico, and there is some subjectivity in our assignment of plants as introduced vs. expanded. Read more in this blog post.


Prefers full sun, but adaptable to a wide range of moisture conditions and soil types. Tolerant of drought. Can compete somewhat against other plants, but requires exposed soil to germinate.

In North America, mostly found in anthropogenic habitats, especially as a weed in agriculture, and along roadsides and railroad tracks, and other areas where other vegetation is removed before the start of the warmer part of the growing season, but not in areas that are mowed regularly.

Life Cycle

This species is an annual with a fairly short growing season. Seeds germinate in late spring to early summer, in response to warm temperatures. This species usually requires exposed conditions to germinate; it benefits from soil disturbance and cultivation.

Plants do not always support their own weight, and may fall over and sprawl if not supported by other vegetation.

Starts blooming mid-summer and continues into autumn, but plant growth slows as temperatures and sunlight decrease. Flowers are wind-pollinated.

Setaria faberi (Giant Foxtail) | Illinois Wildflowers (About This Site)

Setaria faberi (Japanese bristlegrass) | USDA PLANTS Database (About This Site)

Setaria faberi | Go Botany (About This Site)

Giant Foxtail | iNaturalist (About This Site)

Setaria faberi (giant foxtail) | CABI Invasive Species Compendium (About This Site)

Setaria faberi | Biota of North America Project (BONAP) (About This Site)