Alopecurus geniculatus L.
water meadow-foxtail (water foxtail)
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Ryan Batten     (Photo ID #52772)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Alopecurus geniculatus
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

Perennial, tufted grass from fibrous roots; stems erect to decumbent, rooting at the nodes, (20) 30-50 cm long/tall.
Sheaths open; blades flat, rough on the upper surfaces, less rough short-hairy to nearly smooth beneath, 2-6 mm wide; ligules slightly toothed or jagged across the narrow tips, the tips more or less pointed but usually blunt, (2) 3-5 mm long.
Inflorescence a pale green to purplish-tinged, cylindrical panicle, mostly 2-7 cm long; spikelets 3.2 mm long or less (excluding the awns); glumes 2 (2.5-3.5) mm long, more or less silky hairy over the back on the keels and nerves, fringed with long, fine hairs on the keels, tips rounded and translucent; lemmas with margins fused to below their midlength, subequal to the glumes, nearly blunt, awned, the awns inserted barely 0.5 mm above the base, abruptly bent and twisted, rather stout, about equal to or slightly longer than the glumes, 4-5 (6) mm long; anthers 1.2-2.2 mm long.
Although thought to be introduced, A. geniculatus occurs in natural habitats, especially in the Queen Charlotte Islands. Includes plants misidentified as A. saccatus Vasey, which is a distinct, annual species of CA and OR.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Yellow
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA


Ecological Framework for Alopecurus geniculatus

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres)
965 800 1130
Slope Gradient (%)
0 0 0

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
7 7 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

IDF(2), SBPS(1)

Habitat and Range

Wet to mesic shores, meadows, ditches and roadsides from the lowland to montane zones; common in SW BC and north to the Queen Charlotte Islands, rare in SE BC (Nelson); introduced from Eurasia.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Alopecurus pallescens
Alopecurus saccatus Vasey