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Report an Invasive Species

Jointed Goatgrass

Jointed Goatgrass

Jointed Goatgrass

(Aegilops cylindrica)

Priority: -  Prevent

Tags: Agricultural

Identification and Reproduction

Identification:  

  • Jointed goatgrass is an annual grass that is between 40-60 cm tall.  
  • It resembles common wheat.  
  • Leaves are alternate with thin hairs along the margins.  

  • This plant has narrow cylindrical spikes which is composed of spikelets attached to the stem, with evenly spaced hairs. 
  • Spikelets are green and will mature to a golden-yellow.  

  

Reproduction:  

  • Solely reproduces by seed, which can stay viable for upto 5 years.  
  • There is a high risk of jointed goatgrass travelling through Canada via vehicles, machinery and hay bales.  
  • Seeds an easily float in water and be transported as well. 

Habitat & Ecology

  • This grass prefers disturbed areas and are known as pioneer species, quickly invading new sites.  
  • It has been observed on wastelands, edges of roads and railways, grasslands, wheatfields and other pasture areas.  
  • Jointed goatgrass is commonly found in winter wheat fields. It has also been shown to hybridize with winter wheat species. 
  • Currently this grass has only been seen on two sites in Ontario. 

Impacts

Social:  

  • This plant lowers crop yields and even crop quality by contaminating harvests.  
  • This can cause yield losses of 25-50%.
  • Can go unnoticed since it resembles common wheat species.  
  • Tolerates drought conditions better than winter wheat and other native annual grasses.  

Management

Prevention is a high priority for this plant. 

  • Use clean, high-quality seed mixtures that are certified. 
  • Ensure that equipment, vehicles and tools are clean and free of debris.  
  • Since jointed goatgrass hybridizes with winter wheat and difficult to differentiate between them, currently there are no effective herbicides in place.  
  • Contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) if you think you have seen this plant. 

Resources

For more information on control measures check out the United States Department of Agriculture's Field Guide for Managing Jointed Goatgrass in the Southwest. Note this is a US resource, Canadian guidelines and regulations differ. Be sure to carefully read product lablels prior to application. 

Download the BC Invasive Species Alert! for Jointed Goatgrass here

Header photo (Stefan.lefnaer).