Meadow foxtail Facts

Meadow foxtail Facts
Meadow foxtail is herbaceous plant that belongs to the family of grasses. It originates from temperate parts of Europe and Asia, but it can be found all over the northern hemisphere today. Meadow foxtail grows in the meadows, near the agricultural fields, in the orchards, near the roads and on the edges of the forest. It prefers fertile, moist soil and areas that provide partial shade. Meadow foxtail tolerates both high and low temperatures, seasonal flooding and moderate amount of acidity and alkalinity. It easily occupies new areas and prevents growth of other plant species (it is classified as weed in some areas). People cultivate meadow foxtail primarily as animal fodder.
Interesting Meadow foxtail Facts:
Meadow foxtail is fast-growing plant. It produces bunch of erect stems that can reach 12 to 30 inches in height.
Meadow foxtail has short, smooth rhizome that stores nutrients and produces new shoots at the beginning of the growth season.
Meadow foxtail produces few, dark green leaves that can reach 3 to 5 inches in length. Leaves are flat, lax and narrow. Upper surface of leaves is covered with prominent ribs.
Flowering stalks of meadow foxtail can reach 3 feet in height. They end with light green, soft, cylindrical spikes. Mature spikes can be recognized by numerous orange or purple-colored drooping anthers.
Meadow foxtail blooms early in the spring, from April to June. Spikes contain spikelets with both types of reproductive organs (hermaphrodite flowers) that are designed for the pollination by wind.
Meadow foxtail produces large quantities of dark grey or greenish grey, light, fluffy seed. One acre of meadow foxtail produces 200 to 400 pounds of seed.
People harvest meadow foxtail with specially designed machines called combines. They run through the fields of meadow foxtail every couple of days when seed start to shatter from the tips of the spikes.
Harvest of meadow foxtail starts at the middle of June and repeats couple of times during the summer due to rapid re-growth of the plant after cutting.
Meadow foxtail propagates via seed.
Name "foxtail" refers to the brush-like shape of the flower heads (spikes) that resemble the fox's tail.
Meadow foxtail is widely cultivated as pasture or hay crop in the Europe, Asia and northern parts of North America.
Meadow foxtail is often cultivated with white clover and big trefoil to create nutritionally balanced meal for the grazing cattle and sheep and to enrich the soil with nitrogen (white clover and big trefoil live in symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria).
Hay made of meadow foxtail is often used in diet of racehorses.
Male mosquitoes like to drink nectar from the spikes of meadow foxtail.
Meadow foxtail is perennial plant which means that it can survive more than two years in the wild.


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