Foxtail grass (Setaria species)
The weedy Foxtail grass is readily recognized by the narrow, cylindrical head of grain that grows on top of the stem. Often the ripe grain head is so heavy the grass itself is pulled down. Its grains are small, less than 6 millimeters (1/4 inch) long. Foxtail grass has a shallow root system but can reach heights of 5 feet tall.
Where to Find: Look for foxtail grasses in open, sunny areas, along roads, and at the margins of fields. Some species occur in wet, marshy areas. Species of Setaria are found throughout the United States, Europe, western Asia, and tropical Africa. In some parts of the world, foxtail grasses are grown as a food crop.
Edible Parts: The grains are edible raw but are very hard and sometimes bitter. Harvest the Foxtail grain heads (the long, hairy part at the top of the plant) and then harvest the grains from the head. The grains are about the size of small rice grains. Boiling removes some of the bitterness and makes them easier to eat.
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