Plants perennial; cespitose. Culms 60-120 cm; nodes pilose,
with appressed hairs. Sheaths glabrous or hispid; ligules 1-2 mm,
hispid; blades 15-30 cm long, 6-15 mm wide, flat or folded, scabrous, often
pubescent. Panicles 15-25 cm, open, tapering from the base; rachises
pubescent to villous; lower branches to 3 cm; bristles usually solitary,
10-35 mm, divergent. Spikelets 2.2-2.5 mm, elliptical. Lower glumes
about 1/2 as long as the spikelets, 3-veined; upper glumes from 3/4 as
long as to equaling the upper florets, 5-veined; lower lemmas equaling
the upper lemmas, 5-veined; lower paleas about 1/2 as long as the upper
paleas, lanceolate; upper lemmas finely cross-wrinkled, shortly apiculate;
upper paleas ovate-lanceolate. 2n = 54.
Setaria scheelei grows in alluvial soils of canyons and river bottoms of
New Mexico and Texas. Within the Flora region, it is particularly abundant
in the limestone canyons of the Edwards Plateau of central Texas. Its range extends
into central Mexico.