Setaria palmifolia (POACEAE) Palm Grass

Weeds to Whack

A native of India with palm-like foliage. Stems and leaves are covered in hairs that stick to your skin and cause urticaria (itchiness). It tolerates fairly low nutrients, acid conditions and some shade. The inflorescence is a greenish cylindrical spike that stands above the leaves on a slender, arching stalk that reaches several feet above the foliage. Prefers moist soils (creek edges) where it will take over but also can be found growing in dry shade. Established plants are relatively drought tolerant. The genus Setaria (usually called bristle grasses) includes about a hundred species, many of which are pernicious weeds in agricultural fields.
Photo: Robert Whyte