Yellow Bristle-grass - Setaria pumila


    Yellow Bristle-grass is an upright annual growing 25 to 45 cm high, sometimes taller. The seedhead is a cylindrical spike, 2.5 to 10 cm long. It consists of many densely packed spikelets, with each spikelet bearing a single seed. At the base of each spikelet are five to ten bristles, 5 to 8 mm long. Initially the bristles are green, but soon change to a golden brown. It is the colour of these bristles that give the grass its name. Most other Setaria species have fewer bristles in their seed heads.

    Identification difficulty
    Recording advice

    The County Recorder has asked for a specimen of this plant to be retained for verification


    This grass is a casual colonist of waste ground and the margins of agricultural fields.

    When to see it

    It is a late season grass best seen from late July to October.

    Life History

    Yellow Bristle-grass is an annual plant. It may have been introduced in Britain as a contaminant of agricultural seed.

    UK Status

    Scattered records mainly from the southern half of Britain. This grass is thought to be increasing and extending its range.

    VC55 Status

    Rare in Leicestershire and Rutland. It was not found in the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire. The Sapcote record of 13th September 2010 was the first VC 55 record since 1971, but the species is believed to be increasing its range.

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

    Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
    Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

    UK Map