Meadow foxtail

Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. Updated February 2018.

Scientific name: Alopecurus pratensis L.

Common name(s): meadow foxtail, field meadow foxtail, common foxtail

Links: USDA PLANTS Profile, Go Botany

Images: (to see enlargements [PC]: click on image, then right click and choose “view image”)


– perennial, rhizomatous

-1-4 feet in height

-leaf blade is1.9–8 mm in width

  • basal and alternate
  • lance-linear

-hairless sheaths


-Spikelets, flower clusters are

  • 4 to 6 mm long
  • flattened
  • narrowly oblong-elliptic
  • has a single floret
  • light to medium green at flowering time

-At the base of a spikelet is a pair of bracts (glumes)

– in ME or MA, may be confused with A. myosuroides in moist areas; see left sidebar on Go Botany webpage


-disturbed sites



Natural History:

-native to Eurasia and North Africa

-introduced as a pasture grass



Go Botany. “Alopecurus Pratensis L.” Alopecurus Pratensis (Field Meadow-Foxtail): Go Botany, National Science Foundation , 2021,

“Alopecurus Pratensis (Meadow Foxtail).” Minnesota Wildflowers, Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, 2021,



Eric T. Doucette, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor of Biology, MA College of Liberal Arts, North Adams, MA (updated Feb 2018)