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Barnyardgrass (Echinochloa crus-galli)

Barnyardgrass Common Names: Cockspur, Japanese millet, Watergrass, Large barnyard grass

Description: Considered one of the world's worst weeds, it reduces crop yields and causes forage crops to fail by removing up to 80% of the available soil nitrogen.

Habit: Annual, tufted, with fibrous roots. Can grow up to 5 feet tall and are highly variable in appearance.

Leaves: Flat, glabrous, elongate, 30-50 cm long and 1-2 cm wide. Scabrous, slgihtly thickened at margin; ligules absent; sheaths smooth, lower ones often reddish; panicle 8-30 cm long, gree nor purple, exerted, somewhat nodding, densely branched. The branches are 5 cm long, erect or ascending sessile.

Stems: Erect to decumbent, 0.8-1.5 meters tall, rather thick, branching at the base.

Flowers: Range from 2.5-10 inches long and consist of branches densely clustered with knotlike flowers. The flower head is erect or droops and is sometimes purplish. Blooms from June through October.

Fruit and seeds: Caryopses are 1.3-2.2 mm long, 1-1.8 mm wide, ovoid or oblong and brownish in color.

Habitat: Native to Europe. Found in fields, roadsides, gardens and disturbed ground; often in moist meadows, on exposed shores and river banks, etc.

Reproduction: By seed.

Similar species: Jungle rice (Echinochloa colona).

Monitoring and rapid response: Hand-pulling has been shown to be useful in control. Effectively controlled using the general use herbicide. Rotation of herbicide use is key to prevention and treatment.

Credits: The information provided in this factsheet was gathered from the Food and Agriculture Organizations of the United Nations and the University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources IPM Program and Wikipedia.

Individual species images that appear with a number in a black box are courtesy of the network ( photo author credits may not be included due to the small display size of the images and subsequent difficulty of reading the provided text. All other images appear courtesy of Google (

Common Name:


Scientific Name:

Echinochloa crus-galli







USDA Symbol: