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Johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense)

Johnsongrass Description: Introduced to the United States in the early 1800s as a forage crop.

Habit: Warm season perennial grass with dense rhizomes.

Leaves: Smooth, lanceolate with a white mid vein, alternately arranged and 2 feet long.

Stems: Pink to rusty red near the base.

Flowers: Large, loosely branched, purplish, hairy panicles. Spikelets occur in pairs or threes and each has a conspicuous awn.

Fruit and seeds: Seeds are reddish-brown and nearly 1-8 inch long.

Habitat: Native to the Mediterranean region. Found in crop fields, pastures, abandoned fields, rights-of-way, forest edges, ditches and wetlands. Thrives in open, disturbed, rich bottom ground.

Reproduction: Vegetatively from rhizomes or by prolific seeds.

Similar species: Fall panicgrass (Panicum dichotomiflorum).

Monitoring and rapid response: For small infestations, clumps and individual plants may be hand pulled during June. All plant parts should be removed. For large infestations cut by mowing or tilling. Can be effectively controlled using any of several readily available general use herbicides such as glyphosate.

Credits: The information provided in this factsheet was gathered from the U.S Forest Service Weed of the Week.

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:

Sorghum halepense







USDA Symbol: