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Barnyard Grass

Barnyardgrass at the stage of tillering.
Barnyardgrass at the stage of leaf development.
Barnyardgrass at the stage of leaf development.
Barnyardgrass at the beginning of flowering.

Scientific Name

Echinochloa colonum



Annual, widespread, tuft-forming, seed-propagated grass weed of warmer regions with fibrous, rather shallow roots, up to 60 mm (2.36 inch).


A. fatua is widely distributed in North America and Australia (A. fatua and A. sterilis), in Europe mostly A. fatua, in Africa mostly A. sterilis. It is widespread in summer wheat production and due to a very high growth rate it greatly reduces yield. Because its comparable to wheat, it is very competitive; only 5 plants/ha (2 plants/a.) are tolerated on wheat seed propagation fields. Infested wheat seeds are difficult tot clean.

Characteristic Features

Very short, reduced glume and dense form of the panicle.


Culms stout, erect to decumbent, often branching from the base, rather tall (30-60 cm) (11.81 - 23.62 inch).


Leaf blades glabrous, elongate, 3-6 mm (0.118 - 0.24 inch) wide, 10-15 cm (3.93 - 5.9 inch) long, light green with a white midrib. The first leaves are grayish dull-green, often with several widely spaced purple bands on the leaf blade surface. Youngest leaf is rolled. Ligule absent. No auricles. Sheath glabrous.

Propagatio Organs


Loose, open panicle with 2-3-flowered pedicelled spikelets. Lemmas end in 2 small teeth, 2-3 awns arising from the back, mostly dark-colored, bent and 3-4 cm (1.18 - 1.57 inch) long. Each of the 2-3 florets has an oval abscission scar at its base, causing them to fall separately.

Flowering Period



The grains are 6-8 mm (0.24 - 0.31 inch) long, rust-colored.


The main flush occurs in (early) spring. The seeds have little tolerance to frost, the dormancy is broken during the summer at high temperatures. They emergence from up to 10 cm (3.93 inch) soil depth.

Viability Of Seeds

Short living in soil (2-3 years).


Up to 100 seeds per plant. The seed production declines with increasing crop competition.

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