Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Alopecurus pratensis
field meadow-foxtail
A. pratensis often spreads by stolons to form loose clumps. Note the narrowly columnar inflorescences at the top of each culm.
Inflorescences of A. pratensis showing two different stages of the male flowers. The inflorescence on the left shows white filaments supporting purple anthers just before the anthers split open to release their pollen. The inflorescence on the right shows the anthers turn brown and wither after releasing their pollen.

Distribution: Occurring on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; Alaska to California, east across most of North America to the Atlantic Coast.

Habitat: Swampy areas in meadows, in irrigated fields, and along roadsides.

Flowers: June-July

Origin: Introduced from Europe

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Wind


Stout, herbaceous perennial 30-90 cm. tall; often grows in clumps due to stolons that develop when the lower nodes of the culms (aerial stems) take root in the soil.


3-10 cm. long, and 3-10 mm. wide; rough to the touch when rubbed (scabrous).


In terminal, narrowly columnar panicles 3-10 cm. long that taper slightly at both ends. Spikelets with one floret. Glumes and lemmas both about 5 mm. long; lemma with bent awn that attaches just above lemma base.



Identification Notes:

Attachment of bent awn to base of lemma distinguishes A. pratensis from A. aequalis, another introduced species of this genus that grows in wet ares.

Accepted Name:
Alopecurus pratensis L.
Publication: Sp. Pl. 1: 60. 1753. 1753.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
(none provided)
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Alopecurus pratensis in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Alopecurus pratensis checklist entry.

OregonFlora: Alopecurus pratensis information.

E-Flora BC: Alopecurus pratensis atlas page.

CalPhotos: Alopecurus pratensis photos.

USDA Plants: Alopecurus pratensis information.

20 photographs:
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