An Illustrated Guide to ARIZONA WEEDS
The University of Arizona Press
SQUIRRELTAIL-Sitanion hystrix (Nutt.) J. G. Smith
DESCRIPTION-Squirreltail is a tufted perennial, 1/2 to 1 2/3 feet high, reproducing only by seeds. The leaves are soft hairy to nearly hairless, and 1/12 to 1/5 inch broad. The flowering part is a dense stiff spike, bushy from the many long slender bristles. It is 3/4 to 3 (or 4) inches long, and breaks apart easily at each place where the spikelets are attached to the stem. The flowering bracts of the spikelets all end in long, barb-margined spreading bristles, 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches long. Since there are many spikelets, and each produces a variable number (about 7 or more) of these long widely spreading bristles, the flower spike is conspicuously bushy at maturity.
DISTRIBUTION-Squirreltail is a native weed. It is abundant throughout the state, and in many types of habitats. A troublesome weed of roadsides, yards, and waste places, also on barren places of dry hillsides, rocky slopes, mountain meadows, open forests, to above timberline; 2,400 to 11,500 feet elevation; flowering March to September. It is fair forage when young, but the mature awns work into the flesh and wool of the animals, causing inflammation.
Copyright (c) 1972 The Arizona Board of Regents