Identifying Grass Seedlings

Goosegrass (Eleusine indica)

Summer annual grasses


Goosegrass is a prostrate-growing grass that usually has radiating stems from a central growing point. Its sheaths are distinctly flat and white, leading some to call this grass “silver crabgrass.” The blades are usually folded, 3–8 mm wide when flat and may contain a few sparse hairs near their base. Auricles are absent, and the ligule is a short membrane. It typically emerges several weeks later than crabgrass species.

Mature goosegrassMature goosegrass: flat stems radiate from a central point.

Collar region SeedheadCollar region: short, membranous ligule.
Right, seedhead.


Goosegrass tolerates harsh conditions, including drought and hard, compacted soils and close mowing, especially around walkways and driveways. It is also found in other landscaped areas and cultivated crops.


Goosegrass occurs throughout Missouri, west to Utah and along the Pacific Coast.

Similar species

The crabgrasses have similar growth habits and invasive tendencies. However, the leaves and stems of crabgrass are not flat. Also, the ligule of crabgrass is much longer than that of goosegrass. Orchardgrass has flat leaves and stems, but it has a perennial life cycle and a much larger ligule.