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Weed Identification

smut grass



Scientific Name

Sporobolus indicus


Smut grass is a perennial warm-season grass that grows in bunches.


Leaves are hairless except for a few tiny hairs around the collar, and grow up to 3 to 12 inches long and 1/8 to 1/5 inch wide. The ligule is a fringe of minute hairs, 0.1 mm ,and no auricles are present. The leaf sheath is smooth and open.

Identifying Characteristics

The mature plants are dark green, and grow in bunches up to 3 to 4 ft. In late summer and fall, seeds are typically infected with a black fungus called "Smut", hence the name smutgrass.

Flower Seed Head

The seedhead is narrow and elongated and spike-like with panicle branches directed upward, around 1 inch long and 0.6 inches across, and dark green in color. The flower blooms from July through October.

Seed Fruit

Seed are brown and 1/24 inch long. They are sometimes sticky when the are moistened.

Where Found

Smut grass is an invasive grass that Inhabits pastures, roadsides, turf, crop fields, and disturbed open places. It is native to tropical areas of the Americas. It is a troublesome weed in Hawaii, California and in the Mid-South states in United States.

Leaf Hair on Upper Surface

no hairs

Leaf Arrangement

rolled in bud

Mature Leaf Width

6 to 15 mm




branched spike

Life Cycle



not present



Ligule Length

less than 1 mm

Plant Type