(Taeniatherum caput-medusae)

COMMON NAME, Medusahead Rye

Mature plants

Medusahead comp

Mature plants


Seed Head



Medusahead was brought to the United States from Eurasia. It is extremely competitive, completely displacing other desirable grass species. It spreads by seed, commonly carried by wind, animals, clothing, and vehicles. 


Medusahead is an annual growing from 6 inches to 2 feet high. Leaf blades are about 1/8 inch wide. Awns of the seed head are long and become twisted as the seed matures. It is sometimes confused with foxtail barley or squirrel tail, but is different in that the seed head doesn’t break apart completely as the seeds mature. Flowering and seed production take place in late spring and early summer. 


 A combination of burning, herbicide, and reseeding offers the best control. For the best results, this should be done in fall through early winter.