Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) Beauv
barnyard grass, cockspur, barnyard millet
Europe and India
This is a tall (up to 1 m), erect, clumped annual (living only 1 season, summer/autumn) grass with stems often growing from the lower nodes (elbows).
Leaves are deep green, flat and with no ligule (appendage at base of leaf). Leaf blade is long, 20mm wide, hairless or slightly hairy on the margins near the base, tapered to a point with prominent midrib.
Inflorescence (flower head) has up to 15 spikelets in a lance-shaped arrangement. Spiklets are usually straight. When in flower spiklets appear green and tinged with purple. Flowers/seed are not in obvious rows. Fruit (grain) is pale brown when ripe.
This grass is found in disturbed areas, often around water courses.
It is easily removed by cutting the roots out with a knife. Spraying with glyphosate is also effective.
Other plants easily confused with this plant
There are 17 species of Echinochloa in Australia, of these 8 are weeds. At least 12 are found in NSW.
Echinochloa colona is a widespread native has a narrow, hanging inflorescence (flowerhead) with spikelets in regular rows and grain is whitish. All of the native species seem to have narrower leaves. If in doubt check with an expert.
Sources & References
"Weeds - an illustrated botanical guide to weeds of Australia" by B. A. Auld and R. W. Medd
"Plantnet FloraOnline" (2005) http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/
Prepared by Justin KY Chu, July 2005
Checked by IEWF, May 2006