Herbs & Plants

Setaria viridis

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Botanical Name : Setaria viridis
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Setaria
Species: S. viridis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales

Common Name:Green foxtail and Green bristlegrass

Habitat :
Setaria viridis is native to Eurasia, but it is known on most continents as an introduced species and is closely related to Setaria faberi, a noxious weed. It is a hardy grass which grows in many types of urban, cultivated, and disturbed habitat, including vacant lots, sidewalks, railroads, lawns, and at the margins of fields. It is the wild antecedent of the crop foxtail millet.

This is an annual grass with decumbent or erect stems growing up to a meter long, and known to reach two meters or more at times. The leaf blades are up to 40 centimeters long and 2.5 wide and glabrous. The inflorescence is a dense, compact, spikelike panicle up to 20 centimeters long, growing erect or sometimes nodding at the tip only. Spikelets are 1.8 – 2.2 mm long. Each is subtended by up to three stiff bristles. Its fertile lemmas are finely cross-wrinkled.


Seedling: Leaves are rolled in the bud, leaf sheaths and blades without hairs, but the leaf sheaths often have slightly hairy margins.  The ligule is a row of hairs approximately 1/2 mm long, therefore this is rarely seen by the casual observer.

Leaves: Leaf blades may reach 12 inches in length and 5-15 mm in width, and are most often without hairs or only very sparsely hairy.  The leaf sheath is closed and is without hairs, except along the margin near the mouth.  The ligule is short and fringed with hairs to 2 mm long.

Stems: Erect, without hairs, bent at the nodes, may be branched at the base, reaching 3 feet in height.

Flowers: The seedhead is a cylindrical bristly panicle, reaching 6 inches in length and 1/3-2/3 inch in width.  Spikelets are approximately 3 mm long, green, and each spikelet has 1-3 bristles that are 5-10 mm long.

Roots: Fibrous.
Cultivation: Succeeds in any well-drained soil in full sun.

Seed – sow early spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually quick and good. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on fast. Plant them out in late spring, after the last expected frosts. Whilst this is fine for small quantities, it would be an extremely labour intensive method if larger amounts were to be grown. The seed can be sown in situ in the middle of spring though it is then later in coming into flower and may not ripen its seed in a cool summer.

Edible Uses: Seed. Small. It is used in the same ways as rice or millet, either boiled, roasted or ground into a flour. The seed (roasted?) is said to be a coffee substitute.

Medicinal Uses:

The seed is diuretic, emollient, febrifuge, refrigerant and tonic. The plant is crushed and mixed with water then used as an external application in the treatment of bruises..

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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