Setaria pumila

Yellow bristle grass

Family: Poaceae

Origin: Africa, Eurasia

Yellow Bristle Grass seed head.
Yellow bristle grass is an annual grass that dies at the end of the growing season. Leaves are greeny yellow and often red/ purple at the base.
Photo credit: Stefan Iefnaer

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest
  • Whole region — Sustained control

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Annual grass. Leaves are green/yellow and often red/purple near the base. Flowers are borne in spikelets within cylindrical panicles. Seed heads are present in January – May.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • you must not breed, distribute, release or sell yellow bristle grass within the Auckland region
  • you must not plant yellow bristle grass within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property
  • you must destroy any yellow bristle grass on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.


Pasture, wasteland, roadsides, gardens, cultivated ground, wetlands.


Seeds dispersed by livestock. Human-mediated dispersal through movement of contaminated machinery, hay, balage and silage.

Impact on environment

Major pasture pest that reduces feed production. Has poor nutritional value and may cause mouth ulcers and lesions in cattle. Reduces milk production and increases costs associated with supplementary feed and pasture renovation.


Site management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Other herbicides are available for selective use in pasture and crops.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig or pull out.

Plant parts requiring disposal: Seeds.

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill if practical.


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

Basic Growsafe certified: Foliar spray with 100ml glyphosate green per 10L of water.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.