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Weed Identification




Scientific Name

Echinochloa crus-galli

Other Common Names:

water grass
barnyard grass
Japanese millet

Synonyms (former Scientific Names):

Echinochloa crus-galli ssp. Spiralis
Panicum crus-galli


Barnyardgrass is a tufted erect summer annual grass that grows up to 5 feet tall. Germinates from seeds starting in late winter or early spring throughout the summer and prefer moist and wet areas.


Leaves range from 4 to 20 inches in length and may be 5-30 mm wide with a prominent white mid-vein. No hair is present on the leaves surface but are rough to touch on both surfaces. Leaves are rolled in the shoot and no ligule or auricles are present. Leave are keeled toward the basal portions of the leaf. Sheathes are flattened and smooth. A few short hairs may occur at the leaves base. Leaf tips are sharp pointed and edges are rough.

Identifying Characteristics

One of the few grassy weeds in which no ligule is present. It is a clump forming grass that has a fibrous root system.

Flower Seed Head

Seedhead a terminal, nodding panicle ranging from 4 to 16 inches in length with numerous appressed or spreading branches. The lower larger ones rebranch. Panicles are comprised of individual spikelets that may develop a 5 to 10 mm long terminal bristle. Panicles are fringelike and bear long bristles. Seedheads are green to purple in color.

Seed Fruit

Seed is shiny, oval and tan to brown in color.

Where Found

Barnyardgrass, Echinochloa crus-galli, is a native of Asia and is considered the world's worst weed in rice. It also can be found in other agronomic crops throughout the U.S. into Canada and northern Mexico.

Leaf Hair on Upper Surface

no hairs

Leaf Arrangement

rolled in bud

Mature Leaf Width

more than 15 mm





Life Cycle

summer annual


not present



Ligule Length


Plant Type