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Jointed goatgrass

Jointed goatgrass (Aegilops cylindrica) is an invasive plant that competes with crops for water and nutrients, thus reducing the quality and yield of wheat and other crops. It is difficult to control in wheat because jointed goatgrass and wheat are genetically related. Both species have similar growth habits and are known to cross-pollinate with each other.

Report a jointed goatgrass sighting

How to spot it

To the untrained eye, jointed goatgrass resembles common grasses that grow in Canada. It is an annual grass, 40–60 cm tall, resembling wheat. Unlike wheat, however, jointed goatgrass has narrow cylindrical spikes and evenly spaced hairs extending from its leaf blades. The spikes are composed of a series of spikelets, each containing an average of two seeds. Uppermost spikelets usually have longer awns than the lower spikelets.

How it spreads

Jointed goatgrass seeds spread primarily as contaminants in wheat seed. They can also spread on footwear worn through infested areas or by farm machinery, vehicles and when mixed in with grain, seed or straw.

Where it's found

In Canada, jointed goatgrass has been found in various locations in southern Ontario and British Columbia to date. Detections have been eradicated or are currently undergoing treatment. It is native to western Asia and southeastern Europe. It was introduced into the United States in contaminated seed in the 1880s, and has since become one of the most difficult weeds to control in the western states. Jointed goatgrass grows in cultivated fields, pastures and disturbed areas along fences, ditches and roadsides.


Jointed goatgrass is regulated as a pest in Canada under the Plant Protection Act. It is also listed as a prohibited noxious weed in the Weed Seeds Order, 2016 under the Seeds Act. Importation and domestic movement of regulated plants and their propagative parts is prohibited.

Various provinces including Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario also regulate the plant as an invasive species or noxious weed.

What you can do

If you think you've spotted jointed goatgrass, report it to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. They will follow up and determine if further action is needed.

If you are in the agriculture sector:

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