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You are here: Home / Plants / Species Profiles / Medusahead
Species Profiles


MedusaheadScientific name: Taeniatherum caput-medusae (L.) Nevski

Synonyms: Taeniatherum crinitum (Schreb.) Nevski var. caput-medusae (L.) Wipff; Elymus caput-medusae L.; Taeniatherum asperum (Simonkai) Nevski; Hordeum caput-medusae (L.) Crosson & Durand

Common names: Medusahead, medusa's head, medusahead rye, medusahead grass

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Native To: Mediterranean Region (Archer 2001)

Date of U.S. Introduction: First discovered in the 1880s (Pyke 1999)

Means of Introduction: Unknown; possibly introduced as a seed contaminant or on the fur of imported animals (Pyke 1999)

Impact: Crowds out native species and forage for livestock (Archer 2001)

Current U.S. Distribution:



Selected Internet Resources:

Federal Government

Taeniatherum caput-medusae (L.) Nevski
Integrated Taxonomic Information System.

Taeniatherum caput-medusae Article Citation Search - AGRICOLA Database
USDA. National Agricultural Library.
Research; Special Note: NAL Catalog Search (resources)

Taeniatherum caput-medusae (L.) Nevski - Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN)
USDA. ARS. National Genetic Resources Program.
Taxonomy; Distribution; Legal Aspects

Wanted: Dead - Medusahead Rye
USDA. FS. Blue Mountains Natural Resources Institute.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Impacts; Controls

Taeniatherum caput-medusae - Fire Effects Information System (FEIS)
USDA. FS. Rocky Mountain Research Station. Fire Sciences Laboratory.
Taxonomy; Identification/Description; Photographs; Impacts; Life Cycle; Habitat; Distribution; Dispersion; Controls; Legal Aspects; Special Note: References

PLANTS Database - Medusamead
USDA. NRCS. National Plant Data Center.
Taxonomy; Illustrations; Distribution; Legal Aspects

DOI. BLM. Alturas Field Office.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Habitat; Distribution

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State Government

Medusahead - EncycloWeedia
California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Impacts; Life Cycle; Habitat; Distribution; Dispersion; Controls

Medusahead (PDF | 183 KB)
State of California. Plumas-Sierra Noxious Weeds Management Group.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Habitat; Distribution; Controls

Colorado Department of Agriculture. Noxious Weed Management Program.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Introduction History; Impacts; Distribution; Controls

Medusahead Rye - Noxious Weed List
Oregon Department of Agriculture. Plant Division.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Habitat

State of Utah. Tooele County.
Identification/Description; Photographs

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Medusahead - Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States
University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.
Taxonomy; Identification/Description; Photographs; Introduction History; Distribution

Medusahead: Economic Impact and Control in Nevada (PDF | 1 MB)
University of Nevada - Reno. Cooperative Extension.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Impacts; Life Cycle; Distribution; Controls

Medusahead Wanted Poster--Dead, Not Alive! (PDF | 134 KB)
University of Nevada - Reno. Cooperative Extension.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Impacts; Dispersion

Medusahead rye - The Great Basin and Invasive Weeds
Utah State University.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Illustrations; Introduction History; Impacts; Dispersion; Controls

Washington State University. Whitman County Extension.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Habitat; Dispersion; Controls

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Taeniatherum caput-medusae - Invasive Species Compendium
Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International (CABI).
Taxonomy; Identification/Description; Photographs; Impacts; Life Cycle; Habitat; Distribution; Controls

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Taeniatherum caput-medusae - Invasive Plants of California's Wildlands Book (2000)
California Invasive Plant Council.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Illustrations; Life Cycle; Habitat; Distribution; Dispersion; Controls

Colorado Weed Management Association.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Impacts; Life Cycle; Habitat; Dispersion; Controls; Legal Aspects

Wallowa County Weed Watch: Medusahead Rye (PDF | 187 KB)
Wallowa Resources (Oregon).
Identification/Description; Photographs; Impacts; Controls


Archer, A.J. 2001. Taeniatherum caput-medusae. In: Fire Effects Information System. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory.

Pyke, D.A. 1999. Invasive exotic plants in sagebrush ecosystems of the Intermountain West (PDF | 1.67 MB) In: Proceedings: Sagebrush Steppe Ecosystems Symposium, Boise, Idaho, June 21-23, 1999. p. 43.

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Last Modified: Jul 01, 2014
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