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Weed Seed: Bothriochloa ischaemum (Yellow Bluestem)

Invasive Plant - Yellow Bluestem (Bothriochloa ischaemum)



Common name

Yellow bluestem


Prohibited Noxious, Class 1 in the Canadian Weed Seeds Order, 2016 under the Seeds Act. All imported and domestic seed must be free of Prohibited Noxious weed seeds.


Canadian: Absent from Canada (Brouillet et al. 2016Footnote 1).

Worldwide: Native to Asia and southern Europe and introduced in the Caribbean, Mexico, parts of South America, and the United States (CFIA 2014Footnote 2).

Duration of life cycle


Seed or fruit type


Identification features



Surface texture


Other features

Habitat and crop association

Borders of fields, pastures, rangelands, dry stony places, roadsides and waste ground. Often abundant along roads, it tends to spread outwards from roadsides and into new areas (CFIA 2012Footnote 3).

General information

Yellow bluestem was introduced into the United States in the early 1900s as a forage crop and soil stabilizer, and plantings are continuing in marginal rangeland and roadsides (CABI 2016Footnote 4).

Dense stands formed by yellow bluestem tend to eliminate native species, alter the soil microbes and impact wildlife biodiversity and habitat availability (CABI 2016Footnote 4).

Similar species

Australian bluestem (Bothriochloa bladhii)

Silver beardgrass (Bothriochloa laguroides)


Yellow bluestem (Bothriochloa ischaemum) spikelets
Yellow bluestem (Bothriochloa ischaemum) spikelet, inner side
Yellow bluestem (Bothriochloa ischaemum) spikelet, outer side
Yellow bluestem (Bothriochloa ischaemum) spikelet, showing teeth along sides of bract

Similar species

Similar species: Australian bluestem (Bothriochloa bladhii) spikelets
Similar species: Australian bluestem (Bothriochloa bladhii) spikelet
Similar species: Silver beardgrass (Bothriochloa laguroides) spikelets
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