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Pacific Northwest Research Station
Blue Mountains National Resources Institute

Forestry and Range Sciences Laboratory
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BMNRI Home > Publications > Weeds > Medusahead Rye

Publications: Noxious Weeds

Explosion in Slow Motion: A talk by Jerry Asher about noxious weeds in the Blue Mountains

Click on a weed to learn about how to find it and kill it!

Common Crupina
Diffuse Knapweed
Russian Knapweed
Spotted Knapweed
Purple Loosestrife
Perennial Pepperweed
Tansy Ragwort
Medusahead Rye
Rush Skeletonweed
Yellow Starthistle
Canada Thistle
Musk Thistle
Scotch Thistle
Dalmatian Toadflax
Mediterranean Sage
St. Johnswort
Leafy Spurge
Dyers Woad

Wanted: DEAD!

Medusahead Rye


  • Leaves: Leaf blades rolled, 1/16th-inch wide, usually bearing stiff hairs (sometimes without). Leaves stalked, upper reduced and sessile.
  • Ligules: Very short
  • Auricles: Present but inconspicuous
  • Spikelets: In a densely crowded bristly spike, two per node
  • Bristles: 1 to 4 inches long borne on the lemas, the glumes tapering to a slender awn

Medusahead is an annual grass that can grow 6 to 24 inches tall. Stockmen report animals will not eat it at any stage in development. It can completely cover rangelands, rendering them unusable to livestock.


  • Chemical: Herbicides applied in spring will reduce medusahead. Consult you local weed board for information.
  • Mechanical: A low, hot burn right before the seeds drop will reduce medusahead. Disking and plowing can also reduce seeding.

Report all sightings to your local Weed Board

US Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station, Blue Mountains National Resources Institute
Last Modified: Monday, 16 December 2013 at 14:18:43 CST

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