Identifying Grass Seedlings

Barnyardgrass (Echinochloa crus-galli)

Summer annual grasses


Barnyardgrass is a coarse, clump-forming grass with many slightly swollen nodes. It grows stiffly erect or sometimes prostrate with the tips ascending (decumbent), and sometimes branches at its base. The sheath is somewhat flat and smooth. The leaf blades are 3–12 mm wide and smooth, with a prominent white midvein. Auricles and ligules are absent. Some plants may have a few sparse hairs emerging from the collar, while others do not.

Mature barnyardgrassMature barnyardgrass.

Collar region SeedheadCollar region with sparse hair.
Right, seedhead.


Barnyardgrass grows best in moist areas such as low areas of cultivated fields. It is present in many settings, including open fields, waste ground, roadsides and lawns, cultivated fields and gardens and along banks of streams and ponds.


All Missouri counties and much of North America.

Similar species

Several other summer annual grasses, such as shattercane and fall panicum are often confused with this species. However, each possesses a ligule, unlike barnyardgrass.