Heteropogon contortus (L.) P. Beauv. ex Roem. & Schult.



This bunchgrass grows in erect tufts and may form large bunches. The round reproductive shoot emerges from a flattened base. Sheaths are flat and overlapping. Florets are 2 to 4 inches or 5 to 10 cm long, brown, fuzzy, and twisted. Spikelets overlap, and each fertile one has a single reddish-brown awn that can be 4 inches long, with two bends. The long-awned seeds have a sharp point, and the awns form a tangled mass as they mature. At maturity, the foliage turns reddish brown, with yellow straw stems, and tastes like molasses.  Tanglehead is a perennial, warm-season, native grass ranging from 12 to 42 inches or 30 to 107 cm tall.  Good grazing for livestock. Poor forage for wildlife. Tanglehead can be harvested for hay bales but may spread seeds to feeding sites.  


Grows on rocky hills, ridges, and along railroad right-of-ways. In Texas, it can be found in sandy prairies, within coastal regions, in the Trans-Pecos mountainous areas, and is known to persist in well-managed pasturelands. Tanglehead is adapted to survive in areas that receive low amounts of precipitation and sites with low soil fertility.