• 8-16 in. tall
Barbed goatgrass
Barbed goatgrass stem


  • Gray green, 1-4 in. long, ridged and sharp; sparsely covered with long white hairs; ligules are 
    membranous and auricles are clasping
Barbed goatgrass
Barbed goatgrass


  • Seedheads are 1-2.5 in. long, reddish or purplish then dry to straw color; each spike has 4 sessile spikelets with 1-2 florets each; 3 long, stiff awns come from each glume; awns and glumes are all minutely barbed 
Barbed goatgrass
Barbed goatgrass seed


  • Fibrous; spikelet that led to germination often still attached to base of plant
Barbed goatgrass
Barbed goatgrass root


  • Infests rangelands, grasslands, pastures and croplands; known to occur in Washoe county
  • Winter annual; seeds viable for 2+ years; high silica content produces persistent thatch layer
  • Livestock avoid mature plants due to awns; seedheads stick to clothing and fur
  • Can crossbreed with wheat, producing sterile seed and unsaleable wheat


  • Hand pulling or hoeing is effective on small infestations; mowing is ineffective as plants will regrow; deep tilling can place seeds below sprouting depth, but repeated tilling can bring buried seeds to the surface; burning of infested fields may be effective, but will not control seedbank
  • Glyphosate effective on actively growing plants before flowering; chlorsulfuron, imazapic, sulfometuron are effective preemergence and early post emergence
Blecker, L., Creech, E., Dick, J., Gephart, S., Hefner, M., Kratsch, H., Moe, A., Schultz, B. 2020, Nevada Noxious Weed Field Guide – Barbed goatgrass, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, Field Guide

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Also of Interest:

Photo of many green jointed goatgrass plants that look like a field
Nevada Noxious Weed Field Guide – Jointed goatgrass
Jointed goatgrass is a noxious weed that has been identified by the state of Nevada to be harmful to agriculture, the general public, or the environment. Learn more about this weed.
Blecker, L., Creech, E., Dick, J., Gephart, S., Hefner, M., Kratsch, H., Moe, A., Schultz, B. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, Field Guide

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Master Gardeners of Douglas County

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Master Gardeners of Nevada

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