Yellow foxtail

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

Scientific name: Setaria pumila (Poir.) Roemer & J.A. Schultes

Common name(s): yellow foxtail, yellow bristlegrass, pigeon grass

Links: USDA PLANTS Profile, Go Botany

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


– annual


-leaf blade 4–10 mm in width


-spikelet 3–3.5 mm in length


-disturbed sites



Natural History:

-native to Eurasia

-prehistorically cultivated in southern India for its starchy grains

  • eaten cooked or ground into flour and baked into roti

-It was gathered from the wild for food  across tropical Africa and Asia.



Go Botany. “Setaria Pumila (Poir.) Roemer & J.A. Schultes.” Setaria Pumila (Yellow Foxtail): Go Botany, 2021,