Matgrass (wirebent, moor matgrass) Poaceae (=Gramineae), the grass family

MatgrassBACKGROUND: Matgrass is native to eastern Europe. It reproduces mostly through transport of tufts in mud clinging to the hooves of grazing animals. It is a course-textured grass that is not palatable to most livestock, and it eliminates other vegetation within each dense tuft. Matgrass is generally found in seasonally saturated mountain meadows.

DESCRIPTION: Matgrass is a slow-growing perennial bunchgrass, with tufts reaching 3 feet across or more. Leaves are grasslike, up to 1/4-inch wide but appearing narrower because blades are tightly folded along the midrib. The blade spreads at nearly a right angle along the stem. The ligule is short and membranous; auricles are lacking. Stems grow up to 8 inches tall and are tipped by inconspicuous slender spikes that emerge in midsummer and bear all spikelets on one side of the stem. Spikelets are tiny and straw colored and tipped by short, straight awns. Tufts are tightly rooted and hard to remove.

MatgrassDISTRIBUTION: Matgrass is found in a few places in the northeast U.S. and sparingly in Idaho.

CONTROL: Matgrass has no biological control agents. Herbicides can kill individual tufts, which are easily hidden in vegetation. Broadcast applications of nonselective herbicides are needed for eradication.

Matgrass Distribution Map - Grey Area


© 1999 University of Idaho: Text and photographs for these pages from Idaho’s Noxious Weeds, by Robert H. Callihan and Timothy W. Miller (revised by Don W. Morishita and Larry W. Lass).

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