Aegilops cylindrica

Scientific Name Aegilops cylindrica Host
Common Names English: Jointed goatgrass; German: Walzenförmiger Walch, zylindrischer Walch, French: Égilope cylindrique
Description A. cylindrica is a winter annual grass, closely related to wheat (Triticum cylindricum), 20-80 cm (7.87 - 31.49 inch) tall with a tufted appearance.


Characteristic Features

The seed head is 5-8 cm (1.97 - 3.15 inch) long, jointed, cylindrical and balanced. The joints look like sticks.

Young Plant

The first leaf is brownish-green, the youngest leaf rolled, leaf blades of older seedlings have fine evenly-spaced hairs on the margins.


Erect, branched at the base.


The leaves are grass-like, up to 2 -13 cm (0.78 - 5.12 inch) long, 1 - 4 mm (0.039 - 0147 inch) wide, spaced with fine hairs along the leaf edges and down the sheath opening. The sheath-margin has fine evenly-spaced hairs, auricles are short and hairy, the ligule is membranous and truncate, up to 1 mm (0.039 inch) long, pubescent or without hairs, hairs near the blade base. The sheath is open and without hair, the auricles inconspicuous or absent.

Propagation Organs


The seed head is 5-8 cm (1.97 - 3.15 inch) long with 5-10 spikelets (joints) per head. Each spikelet has 2-5 flowers and is 0.75-1.25 cm (0.29 - 0.49 inch) long with 1 to 3 seeds per spikelet. The glumes with lateral keel are prolonged into an awn, the lemmas of the uppermost spikelet have harsh 4-5 cm (1.57 - 2.75 inch) long awns.

Flowering Period

May, June.


The seeds are attached to a rachis segment.


A. cylindrica sheds seeds in June, July, during and prior to wheat harvest, germination occurs in fall. The seeds survive 3-5 years according to rainfall.

Viability of Seeds

Short living (2-6 years).


80 -150 seeds per plant.



Dry, disturbed sites, fields, and roadsides, cultivated fields, grassland.

Additional Crop Information

Mostly in winter wheat fields but also in other cereal grain fields, along fence rows, roadsides and waste areas

Agricultural Importance

A. cylindrica is a noxious or designated weed in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington, originates from Europe (Turkey). It is a major problem in winter wheat due to its similarity to wheat in appearance, seed size, growth pattern, and genetics. Jointed goatgrass greatly reduces wheat yield. Planting seed wheat contaminated with jointed goatgrass seeds has been one of the primary causes of spread of this weedy grass. A. cylindrical cross-breeds with wheat forming weed/crop hybrids. The F1 generation has a minimal germination rate. Nevertheless the possibility of hybridization might offer a potential route for e.g. herbicide tolerance traits to move from the crop over to the weed jointed goatgrass.


Useful non-chemical contribution to Integrated Weed Management

Burning winter wheat fields after harvest can reduce germination of joints at the surface by 90% or more but appears unacceptable from the ecological viewpoint. However, Jointed goatgrass germination may increase the year after burning due to increased fertility and light penetration. Therefore, a second year management strategy must be incorporated, and the population should be monitored for several years. Rotation to spring sown crops for 3 years can limit Jointed goatgrass seed production, significantly depleting the soil seed bank. Mowing can be an effective method of reducing seed production. Mowing should occur after flowering, but before goatgrass seeds reach the soft boot stage. Combines should be cleaned after harvesting contaminated wheat fields to avoid passive seed movement by harvest equipment.

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