Identifying Grass Seedlings

Broadleaf signalgrass (Brachiaria platyphylla)

Summer annual grasses


Broadleaf signalgrass is a decumbent, spreading grass that will root at its nodes. The leaf sheath and margins are lined with hairs. The ligule is a short ring of hair. The leaf blade is widest at the base and gradually tapers to the apex. Leaf margins near the base often have a crinkled, wavy appearance. Both the upper and lower leaf surfaces are smooth.

Broadleaf signalgrass seedling Broadleaf signalgrass seedling.

Lacks ligule and auricles Collar region: margins lined with hairs.
Right, crinkled leaf margin.


It is most commonly found in disturbed, open and sandy sites such as crop fields, ditches and roadsides.


Broadleaf signalgrass is found across the southeastern United States. In Missouri, it is limited primarily to the southeastern and southwestern portions of the state.

Similar species

Smooth crabgrass also roots at the nodes but has a large, membranous ligule. Woolly cupgrass has a wide leaf blade at the base that tapers to the apex but is covered with hairs on both upper and lower surfaces.