- Author: Robert J Keiffer
Most of you are probably well aware of the fact that most of what we see on California's "golden hills" are actually exotic, introduced Mediterranean grasses ... brought to California in centuries past. One of these common understory grass species found in oak woodlands is the Bristly Dogtail Grass, or Hedgehog Dogtail (Cynosurus echinatus). This native to southern Europe is well known in the Americas and Australia as an introduced and sometimes noxious weed.
It is quite common here at the UC Hopland Research & Extension Center in southeast Mendocino County where it is found along shady trails and under the canopy of deciduous oaks. The awns and flowers all point in one direction on the inflorescence thus giving it a "dogtail" appearance. The awns are clumped closely together into a tuft which gives the inflorescence its bristly look.