Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Green Bristlegrass - Setaria viridis   (L.) Beauvois
Members of Setaria with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Order Cyperales » Family Poaceae
Author(L.) Beauvois
DistributionMostly Mountains, Piedmont, Sandhills, and inner Coastal Plain; rare in the outer Coastal Plain.

Native of Eurasia; in N.A. throughout the U.S. and southern Canada.
AbundanceFairly common to frequent throughout, except rare in the outer Coastal Plain.
HabitatRoadsides, fields, fallow fields, clearings, disturbed areas.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting July-October.
IdentificationThere are only 1-3 bristles at the base of each spikelet. Unlike Foxtail Millet (S. italica), the upper lemma is transversely ribbed (vs. smooth). Unlike Japanese Bristlegrass (S. faberi), the leaves are scabrous on the upper surface (vs. soft hairy) and the inflorescence may be curved but does not nod.
Taxonomic CommentsThe inflorescences of bristlegrasses look like bottlebrushes, due to the numerous bristles that stick out sideways or that angle upward. Two of our 3 native species are annuals; S. parviflora is perennial. When using keys, make sure to have mature fruiting plants and a dissecting scope to see such features as the surface texture on lemmas, number of bristles per spikelet, etc.
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State RankSE
Global RankGNR
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