Synonyms: Taeniatherum caput-medusae
Common names: medusahead
Elymus caput-medusae (medusahead) is a winter annual (family Poaceae) that typically invades disturbed sites, grasslands, openings in chaparral and oak woodlands. Taeniatherum caput-medusae out-competes native grasses and forbs and is found throughout northwestern California. After they set seed, medusahead plants persist as a dense litter layer that prevents germination and survival of native species, ties up nutrients, and contributes to fire danger in the summer.Cal-IPC Rating: High
Plant Assessment Form - Information gathered by Cal-IPC on the impacts, rate of spread, and distribution of invasive plants in California. Does not include management information.
Cal-IPC Newsletter Articles
- Weed worker legend Joe DiTomaso retires. Brusati, Elizabeth. Vol 25, Issue 2
- One Tam unites around Marin’s mountain. Kesel, Rachel. Vol 24, Issue 3
- Native soil bacteria as biocontrol. Bean, Travis; Gornish, Elise. Vol 24, Issue 2
- Weeds and climate resilience in Sierra meadows. Brusati, Elizabeth; Johnson, Doug. Vol 24, Issue 1
- Wildland Weed News. Cal-IPC. Vol 22, Issue 3
- Prescribed grazing for invasive plant control on rangelands. Davy, Josh; Tate, Kenneth; Roche, Leslie. Vol 21, Issue 3
- Impacts of native vs. exotic grassland vegetation. Eviner, Valerie; Heraty, Joanne; Baty, Jill; Malmstrom, Carolyn; Rice, Kevin. Vol 21, Issue 3
- Partnering with college helps track medusahead. Alford, Jim; Benedetti, Daniel; Jennings, Nathan. Vol 20, Issue 3
- Jepson Manual 2nd ed. invasive plant name changes. Brusati, Elizabeth. Vol 20, Issue 2
- Exploring alternative methods for vegetation control and maintenance along roadsides. Young, Steve L.. Vol 10, Issue 4
Cal-IPC Symposium Presentations
- Alford, J., D. Benedetti, et al. (2011). Using public domain remotely sensed data to predict Taeniatherum caput-medusae (medusahead) infestations, a case study from the central California foothills. Cal-IPC 2011 Symposium. Tahoe City, CA, California Invasive Plant Council.
- Dudney, J. (2011). Mapping, monitoring and removing medusahead. Cal-IPC 2011 Symposium. Tahoe City, CA, California Invasive Plant Council.
- Carey, C. and S. C. Hart (2011). Alteration of nitrogen cycling processes by exotic annuals in a California grassland. Cal-IPC 2011 Symposium. Tahoe City, CA, California Invasive Plant Council.
- Turner, I. (2010). Mapping flammable invasive weeds in the South Shore area of Lake Tahoe. Cal-IPC 2010 Symposium. Ventura, CA, California Invasive Plant Council.
- Eviner, V., K. J. Rice, et al. (2009). Controlling the invasion of noxious rangeland weeds into an exotic-dominated grassland: Is there a role for native grass reseeding? . Cal-IPC Symposium. Visalia, CA Cal-IPC.
- Coppoletta, M. (2006). Testing the effects of flaming as a method of medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae) control on the Plumas National Forest. Cal-IPC Symposium. Rohnert Park, CA.
- DiTomaso, J. M. (2005). Efficacy and safety of new herbicides on the horizon. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2005. Chico, CA.
- Clines, J., J. DiTomaso, et al. (2004). Grasses working group. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2004. Ventura, CA.
- DiTomaso, J. (2003). Fire: Prescribed burning as a management tool. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2003. Kings Beach, CA.
- DiTomaso, J. M., G. B. Kyser, et al. (2001). Integrated management of yellow starthistle and medusahead using prescribed burning and clopyralid. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium 2001. San Diego, CA.
- Pushnik, J., J. W. Hunt, et al. (2005). Experimental herbaceous restoration and noxious weed mitigation at the California Department of Fish and Game_217s Butler Slough Ecological Reserve, Eastern Tehama County. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2005. Chico, CA.
- Pyke, D. A. (2000). The use of fire to control exotic plants. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium 2000. Concord, CA.
- Thomsen, C. D. (2000). Bear Creek watershed restoration program. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium 2000. Concord, CA.
- Thomsen, C. D., W. A. Williams, et al. (1996). Yellow starthistle management with grazing, mowing, and competitive plantings. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium '96. San Diego, CA.
Other Elymus caput-medusae Information
- CalPhotos - Images of plants taken mostly in California.
- CalFlora - Distribution information based on submitted observations and herbarium specimens.
- Jepson Online Interchange for California Flora - Information on taxonomy, biology, and distribution from UC Berkeley's Jepson Herbarium.
- CDFA - California official noxious weeds.
- USDA PLANTS Database - Federal database with information on identification and distribution, and links to websites in individual states.
- Bugwood - National database from the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health at the University of Georgia.