Join or Renew

Native Plant Society of Texas

Southwestern Bristlegrass

Setaria scheelei

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Scheele's Bristlegrass, Scheele's Foxtail Grass, Foxtail Grass

Plant Ecoregion Distribution Map

Native Habitat: Grassland
Central Great Plains, Chihuahuan Deserts, Cross Timbers, East Central Texas Plains, Edwards Plateau, Gulf Coast Prairies and Marshes, High Plains, Southern Texas Plains, Southwestern Tablelands, Texas Blackland Prairies, Western Gulf Coastal Plain


Cut back if dies back during drought and during winter dormancy.


Warm season bunchgrass with somewhat flattened stems and sheaths. Dense system of roots may reach down to 8′ in depth. Leaves and stems are purplish to blue green in color. One of the “big four” grasses of the American tallgrass prairie. Seeds eaten by songbirds, waterfowl, marsh birds, and small mammals. In the wild it occurs in sandy loam soils and usually in the shade of trees or shrubs. Larval Host: most branded skippers and most of the satyrs.

Growth Form

Grass & Sedge


2 to
3 ft


0.5 to
1 ft

Soil Type(s)

Sand, Loam, Well Drained

Light Requirement

Part Shade, Shade

Water Requirement

Low, Medium

Leaf Retention




Bloom Color

White, Green

Bloom Season

Spring, Summer, Fall

Seasonal Interest

Seeds, Forage, Larval Host

Wildlife Benefit

Browsers, Birds, Small Mammals

Visit us at

Previous Scientific Name(s): Synonym(s): Panicum scheelei


1) Griffith, Bryce, Omernick & Rodgers (2007). Ecoregions of Texas. 2) 3) 4), 5), 6) Hatch, Umphres, Ardoin, 2015, Field Guide to Common Texas Grasses, pg 256,.