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weed seed identification wheat head oregon

Yellow starthistle was accidentally introduced into California during the Gold Rush era of the mid-1800s (DiTomaso and Healy 2007 Footnote 4 ). The species is a problem in California with millions of hectares infested, and is spreading into Washington, Oregon and Idaho (CABI 2016 Footnote 2 ).

The seeds are locally dispersed by the spiny seed heads caught in animal fur and farm machinery, and contaminated crop seed is a risk for introduction into new areas (Zouhar 2002 Footnote 5 ).

Pastures, rangelands, grasslands, and roadsides in dry areas (CFIA 2014 Footnote 1 ). Occasionally found as a weed of alfalfa and grain crops but mainly a weed of rangelands (CABI 2016 Footnote 2 ).

General information

Prohibited Noxious, Class 1 in the Canadian Weed Seeds Order, 2016 under the Seeds Act. All imported and domestic seed must be free of Prohibited Noxious weed seeds.

Worldwide: Native to northern Africa and eastern Europe across to central Asia. Introduced in other parts of Africa and Europe, as well as North and South America, Australia, and New Zealand (CABI 2016 Footnote 2 ). Found in many U.S. states (USDA -NRCS 2016 Footnote 3 ).

DiTomaso, J. M. and Healy, E. A. 2007. Weeds of California and Other Western States. Vol. 1. 834 pp. University of California, CA .

Led by Lee DeHaan, The Land Institute’s breeding program for intermediate wheatgrass works to develop perennial grain crops that are productive year after year and beneficial for the environment. After several rounds of selection for the best plants based on traits like yield, seed size, and disease resistance, the perennial grain Kernza® was developed. Related to annual wheat, Kernza is a domesticated perennial grain originating from a forage grass called intermediate wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium). Photo courtesy of The Land Institute

The Land Institute pioneers a new paradigm that challenges our current destructive agriculture model: switching annual grain cropping to ecologically intensified perennial polycultures that mimic natural systems. By working with nature, The Land Institute is proving it’s possible to provide staple food sources without destroying our ecological systems and natural resources that we desperately depend on. Through breeding and development of perennial grains, The Land Institute is changing the way we grow and think about our food, pushing the limits of what it means to be sustainable.

Storyteller, brand manager, and content creator dedicated to social and environmental progress. Alyssa was a foundational member of Oregon Tilth’s Communications & Marketing team from 2012-2021. She also shares her love for sustainable food systems and good design theory as the co-founder of Mainstem Malt.