Regularity: Regularly occurring
Regularity: Regularly occurring
India, South East Asia and Africa
State - Kerala, District/s: Alappuzha, Palakkad, Idukki, Malappuram, Kannur, Wayanad, Ernakulam"
continental United States. It is also found in southern Canada from
British Columbia east to Novia Scotia [19,27,39,57,63].
Regional Distribution in the Western United States
This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):
3 Southern Pacific Border
5 Columbia Plateau
6 Upper Basin and Range
8 Northern Rocky Mountains
10 Wyoming Basin
12 Colorado Plateau
13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont
14 Great Plains
16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands
Occurrence in North America
IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN
MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC
ND OH OK OR PA SC SD TN TX UT
VT VA WA WV WI WY DC AB BC MB
NB NS ON PQ SK MEXICO
Distribution in Egypt
Nile region, oases, Mediterranean region and western desert.
Warm temperate and subtropical regions of the world, sometimes extending into the tropics.
Barnyard grass is an introduced, nonrhizomatous, warm-season annual.
Stems may be solitary or in small tufts, erect or reclining at the base,
up to 6.6 feet tall (2 m) [16,28,39,52,80]. Leaves are flat, 4 to 12
inches (10-30 cm) long and 0.2 to 0.6 (5-15 mm) inch wide [18,19,27,46].
The panicle is 2 to 8.4 inches (5-21 cm) long, upright or nodding
[19,46,68]. Barnyard grass has a fibrous root system [39,49].
wet meadows, floodplains and along lakeshores and streambanks
[18,20,33,38,39]. It is locally common in floodplains, riverbottoms,
and seasonally wet habitats [1,63,80], but also occurs in drier habitats
. Barnyard grass is most often found on disturbed, generally
nonsaline soils [25,53,63], but grows on a variety of soil types
[38,53]. Echinochloa crus-galli var. crus-galli is generally absent
from sites that have greater than 12 inches (30 cm) of standing water
for more than 4 weeks at a time [42,63]. It occurs in shallow water or
after drawdown . Barnyard grass tolerates poor drainage and
flooding, but not severe drought [7,31,44,60].
In California, the two varieties of barnyard grass differ in habitat
preference and colonizing ability. Echinochloa crus-galli var.
crus-galli is a cosmopolitan weed of wet, disturbed ground and occurs in
shallow water around the periphery of rice fields. Echinochloa
crus-galli var. oryzicola is a crop mimic that is found primarily in
permanently flooded cultivated rice fields .
Elevations of barnyard grass are as follows:
Arizona 150-7,000 45-2,100 
California less than 4,950 less than 1,500 
Colorado 4,500-7,500 1,350-2,250 
Kansas 3,370-4,675 1,021-1,417 
Montana 2,800-3,300 840-1,000 
South Dakota 1,940-2,025 587- 614 
Texas 7,400 2,320 
Utah 2,705-7,045 820-2,135 
Wyoming 3,700-5,100 1,110-1,530 
Key Plant Community Associations
In the Sacramento Valley of California, barnyard grass occurs in wetland
communities with swamp grass (Crypsis schoenoides) and bearded
sprangletop (Leptochloa fascicularis) .
Barnyard grass is found in the southern High Plains region of northern
Texas and southern New Mexico. In this region, it is codominant with
red sprangletop (L. filiformis) in wet meadow and prairie communities
and is also found in shinnery communities [4,5].
Barnyard grass occurs in temporarily flooded palustrine wetlands of the
northern prairie and plains communities [26,83].
In eastern Colorado and western Kansas, barnyard grass occurs in the
plains cottonwood (Populus deltoides) riparian zone. Common associates
include saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima), sandbar willow (Salix exigua),
and Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) [38,60]. Barnyard grass is
also a member of saltcedar and willow-cottonwood communities in Arizona
Barnyard grass is the dominant species in some wetlands of North Dakota.
Common associates include water plantain (Alisma triviale), American
slough grass (Beckmannia syzigachne), needle spikerush (Eleocharis
acicularis), hedge hyssop (Gratiola neglecta), and pale smartweed
(Polygonum lapathifolium) [16,63].
In South Dakota, barnyard grass occurs in mixed-grass prairie dominated
by blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis), buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides),
western wheatgrass (Pascopyrum smithii), and needlegrass (Stipa spp.).
Other associates include needleleaf sedge (Carex eleocharis), Sandberg
bluegrass (Poa secunda), sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula), and
little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) [37,71]. In tallgrass
prairies of northeast Kansas, barnyard grass occurs in communities
dominated by big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii var. gerardii), little
bluestem, and Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans) .
At Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania, barnyard grass
occurs in a variety of forest cover types as an understory species.
Species associated with barnyard grass not previously mentioned include
white ash (Fraxinus americana), mockernut hickory (Carya tomentosa),
shagbark hickory (C. ovata), black walnut (Juglans nigra), eastern
redbud (Cercis canadensis), flowering dogwood (Cornus florida),
sassafrass (Sassafrass albidum), and red pine (Pinus resinosa) .
This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):
FRES15 Oak - hickory
FRES17 Elm - ash - cottonwood
FRES18 Maple - beech - birch
FRES28 Western hardwoods
FRES38 Plains grasslands
FRES41 Wet grasslands
FRES42 Annual grasslands
Habitat: Cover Types
This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):
20 White pine - northern red oak - red maple
22 White pine - hemlock
23 Eastern hemlock
28 Black cherry - maple
39 Black ash - American elm - red maple
52 White oak - black oak - northern red oak
53 White oak
55 Northern red oak
58 Yellow-poplar - eastern hemlock
59 Yellow-poplar - white oak - northern red oak
67 Mohrs (shin) oak
110 Black oak
235 Cottonwood - willow
Habitat: Plant Associations
This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):
K048 California steppe
Weed of irrigation ditches and rice-fields.
More info for the terms: restoration, succession
Barnyard grass is a pioneer species that readily invades disturbed sites
[63,68]. It is found most often in open, unshaded areas [25,44], and is
intolerant of dense shade . Barnyard grass invades South Dakota
rangelands and rapidly colonizes overflow and subirrigated range sites
that have been denuded or disturbed in Nebraska [37,68]. In Idaho,
barnyard grass is an increaser species on periodically flooded sites
along streams . At a restoration prairie site in Ohio, barnyard
grass established at the edge of an ephemeral pond that is subject to
periodic flooding and drying . In an old-field succession deciduous
forest in southwestern Ohio, barnyard grass was found growing in a
2-year-old stand, but was not present in stands 10, 50, 90, or 200 years
Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)
fire. Fires that thin or remove canopy vegetation produce conditions
that may be conducive to colonization by barnyard grass.
prolific seed producer [28,44,68]. A healthy plant can produce from
750,000 to one million seeds . Barnyard grass seed is water
dispersed . Seed viability in soil is variable [10,44]. In
Stoneville, Mississippi, in 1972, a 50-year study on longevity of buried
seed of barnyard grass was initiated. Seed viability was 1 percent
after burial for 2.5 years; less than 6 percent of seed survived 6
months or longer . However, according to Dawson , barnyard grass
seed may be viable in the soil for up to 13 years. In another study by
Mitich , seed viability of barnyard grass was 100 percent after 6 to
8 years of dry storage in irrigated sandy loam soil, and all seed was
nonviable after 15 years. Watanabe  found that barnyard grass seed
germination rate was 27 percent after burial for 6 months and 3 percent
after burial for 6.5 years. Barnyard grass seed germinates over a wide
temperature range, 55 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (13-40 deg C), with
optimum germination occurring from 68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit (20-30
deg C) [53,62].
The buoyancy and hence dispersal by water of barnyard grass seeds is
probably influenced by their weight. A survey of seed weight 
demonstrated that seeds of E. crus-galli var. oryzicola were on the
average 2 to 3 times heavier than those of E. crus-galli var.
crus-galli. The lighter seeds of E. crus-galli var. crus-galli
exhibited greater buoyancy, with approximately 50 percent of seeds
remaining afloat after 4 to 5 days in water. In contrast, 95 percent of
E. crus-galli var. oryzicola seeds had sunk after 5 days. Decay of
dormancy in E. crus-galli var. oryzicola is more rapid than in E.
crus-galli var. crus-galli following dry storage and burial in soil.
Immediate Effect of Fire
Life History and Behavior
Barnyard grass flowering dates for several states are as follows:
Arizona July-Sept 
California July-Oct 
Colorado Aug-Sept 
Florida all year 
Illinois Aug-Oct 
Montana June-Oct 
Nebraska Aug-Sept 
North Carolina July-Oct 
North Dakota July 15 
South Carolina July-Oct 
West Virginia Aug-Oct 
Wyoming Aug-Oct 
Great Plains June-Sept 
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Echinochloa crus-galli
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Echinochloa crus-galli
Public Records: 13
Specimens with Barcodes: 32
Species With Barcodes: 1
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable
Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Generally, seed yields from barnyard grass stands are reduced in 2 to 3
years because of competition with other weeds . In Missouri,
natural seeding of barnyard grass was stimulated by periodic draining
and flooding of a wetland site; a July 1 to September 15 drawdown
produced an excellent stand of barnyard grass which was utilized by
waterfowl . In California, draining barnyard grass fields in the
spring and discing them can benefit stands. At the Mendota Waterfowl
Management Area, California, this practice has been used to perpetuate
stands of barnyard grass for up to 6 years.
Barnyard grass may harbor a virus-like disease of cereals .
Toxicity tests of effluents in water and sediment were conducted using
the two varieties of barnyard grass. Effluents from a sewage treatment
plant, tannery, textile mill, pulp and paper mill, and coking plant
inhibited germination, chlorophyll synthesis, and growth of
barnyard grass [77,78].
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Barnyard grass cover values are as follows :
UT WY ND
upland game birds poor fair good
waterfowl poor fair good
small nongame birds fair fair good
small mammals fair fair ----
Minnesota, toxic levels of nitrate have been reported in barnyard grass
. Nutritional values of sun-cured barnyard grass in the milk stage
are as follows :
Dry matter % 84.2 100.0
Ash % 7.7 9.1
Crude fiber % 31.0 36.8
Ether extract % 1.8 2.1
N-free extract % 34.0 40.4
Protein (N x 6.25)
Sheep dig. coef.* % 57.0 57.0
Cattle dig. prot.* % 5.9 7.0
Goats dig. prot. % 6.2 7.4
Horses dig. prot. % 6.2 7.4
Rabbits dig. prot. % 6.4 7.6
Sheep dig. prot. % 5.6 6.6
Cattle DE* Mcal/kg 1.95 2.31
Sheep DE Mcal/kg 1.98 2.35
Cattle ME* Mcal/kg 1.60 1.90
Sheep ME Mcal/kg 1.62 1.93
*dig. coef.=protein digestible coefficient
dig. prot.=digestible protein
Importance to Livestock and Wildlife
Barnyard grass is readily grazed by livestock in Arizona and West
Virginia, and can be cultivated for hay [27,67].
Seeds of barnyard grass are eaten by songbirds, waterfowl, and greater
prairie chickens [6,9,59,63,75]. Barnyard grass is an important source
of food and cover for waterfowl in the Sacramento Valley . In the
playa lakes of Texas and New Mexico, meadows dominated by barnyard grass
are important habitat for waterfowl and pheasant .
Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites
along the Gila river in Arizona that were supplied by year-round flows
of wastewater. If wastewater areas are managed on a permanent
year-round basis, habitat rehabilitation and avian colonization may
Barnyard grass can be utilized for quick, temporary erosion control on
coal mine sites in the eastern United States .
Echinochloa crus-galli is a type of wild grass originating from tropical Asia that was formerly classified as a type of panicum grass. It is commonly known as cockspur (or cockspur grass), barnyard millet, Japanese millet, water grass, common barnyard grass, or simply "barnyard grass" (which may refer to any species of Echinochloa or the genus as a whole however). This plant can grow to 60" (1.5 m) in height and has long, flat leaves which are often purplish at the base. Most stems are upright, but some will spread out over the ground. Stems are flattened at the base. The seed heads are a distinctive feature, often purplish, with large millet-like seeds in crowded spikelets.
Considered one of the world's worst weeds, it reduces crop yields and causes forage crops to fail by removing up to 80% of the available soil nitrogen. The high levels of nitrates it accumulates can poison livestock. It acts as a host for several mosaic virus diseases. Heavy infestations can interfere with mechanical harvesting.
Individual plants can produce up to 40,000 seeds per year. Water, birds, insects, machinery, and animal feet disperse it, but contaminated seed is probably the most common dispersal method.
Leaves flat, glabrous, elongate, 30–50 cm long, 1–2 cm broad, scabrous, slightly thickened at margin; ligules absent; sheaths smooth, lower ones often reddish; panicle 8–30 cm long, green or purple, exerted, somewhat nodding, densely branched, the branches to 5 cm long, erect or ascending sessile;
Spikelets 3–4 mm long, densely arranged on branches, ovoid, awnless, but move often long-awned, pale green to dull purple, short-bristly along veins; racemes spreading, ascending or appressed, the lower somewhat distant, as much as 10 cm long, sometimes branched; glumes and lower lemma minutely hairy on surface with longer more rigid hairs on veins; first glume about two-fifths as long as spikelet, deltoid, the second as long as the spikelet, short-awned; sterile lemma membranous, with a straight scabrous awn, 2–4 cm long or awnless; fertile lemma ovate-elliptic, acute, pale yellow, lustrous, smooth, 3-3.5 mm long. Fl.
Aug.-Oct.; seed maturing Sept.-Oct., up to 40,000/plant. Var. crusgalli has long, somewhat spreading papillose cilia at the summits of the internodes and bases of the branches in the inflorescence and short, very thick papillose cilia along the lateral nerves of the 2nd glume, sterile lemma, and somewhat spreading spikes", and sterile lemmas with awns 0–10 mm long.
Barnyard grass commonly occurs throughout tropical Asia and Africa in fields and along roadsides, ditches, along railway lines, and in disturbed areas such as gravel pits and dumps. It also invades riverbanks and the shores of lakes and ponds. It occurs in all agricultural regions. This species is considered an invasive species in North America where it occurs throughout the continental United States. It is also found in southern Canada from British Columbia east to Newfoundland. It was first spotted in the Great Lakes region in 1843.
Ranging from Boreal Moist to Wet through Tropical Very Dry to Moist forest life zones. Adapted to nearly all types of wet places, this grass is often a common weed in paddy fields, roadsides, cultivated areas, and fallow fields. It grows on variety of wet sites such as ditches, low areas in fertile croplands and wet wastes, often growing in water. Succeeds in cool regions, but better adapted to areas where average annual temperature is 14-16°C. Not restricted by soil pH.
A warm-season grass used as cattle fodder and is sometimes cultivated for this purpose. It is also suited for silage, but not for hay. It is fed green to animals and provides fodder throughout the year; hay made from this plant can be kept up to 6 years. This grass is also used for reclamation of saline and alkaline areas, especially in Egypt.
The grain of some varieties is eaten by humans in times of scarcity and sometimes used for adulterating fennel. The roots are boiled to cure indigestion in the Philippines. The young shoots are eaten as a vegetable. The plant extract is used in diseases of the spleen. Young shoots are eaten as a vegetable in Java. Reported to be preventative and tonic, barnyard grass is a folk remedy in India for carbuncles, haemorrhages, sores, spleen trouble, cancer and wounds.
Japanese barnyard millet (Echinochloa esculenta), a domesticated form of E. crus-galli, is cultivated on a small scale in Japan, Korea and China.
Diseases and pests
Punjabi dialect forms
The following Punjabi dialect forms are recorded in Punjab for this grass:
- bharti, s.f., Echinochloa crus-galli
- barag, s.m., millet, also used for Panicum miliaceum.
- baraga', s.m., baragu, s.n., 1. Panicum frumentaceum, Indian millet; 2. A kind of hill grass from which writing pens are made.
- varige, varagu, varaku, s.m., Panicum frumentaceum; a grass Panicum.
- சாமை cāmai (சாமி), s.m., A kind of grain, millet. < From Old Indo-Aryan šyāmā s.m., 1. Poor-man's millet, sown in Āvaṇi and maturing in six weeks to four months, Panicum crusgalli. Compare: சிறுசாமை ciṟu-cāmai, n. < id. + சாமை, a kind of little millet, Panicum; சாமைவகை. (சங். அக.); புற்சாமை puṟ-cāmai, n. < id. + a species of little millet, Panicum; சாமைவகை.; பனிச்சாமை paṉi-c-cāmai, n. < பனி + a kind of little millet, Panicum; சாமைவகை. (யாழ். அக.)
- வரகு varaku, s.n. 1. Common millet, Paspalum scrobiculatum; ஒருவகைத் தானியம். புறவுக் கரு வன்ன புன்புல வரகின். 2. Poor man's millet, Echinochloa crusgalli; சாமைவகை. Paspalum scrobiculatum Linn. = P. frumentaceum Rottb. P. crusgalli is not identified in Hooker.
- varaga, Inscr. varuvu, n., Panicum miliaceum.
- Czech: Ježatka kurí noha
- Danish: Almindelig Hanespore, Hanespore.
- Estonian: Tähk-kukehirss.
- Finnish: Rikkakananhirssi.
- French: Echinochloa pied-de-coq, Panic pied de coq.
- Italian: Giavone comune, Giavone, Panicastrella.
- Khmer: Smao bek kbol
- Japanese:ひえ hie
- Norwegian: Hønsehirse.
- Portuguese: Capim-arroz
- Serbian: Veliki muhar
- Aragon: cola de caballo, mutxitxa
- Vietnamese: Cò lông vüt, somg chang.
- Korean: 피(pi) or 피쌀(pissal)
|Wikispecies has information related to: Echinochloa crus-galli|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Echinochloa crus-galli.|
- "The Plant List".
- http://www.natureserve.org/explorer/servlet/NatureServe?searchName=Echinochloa+crusgalli Map showing distribution
- "List of invasive species in the Great Lakes Great Lakes United / Union Saint-Grands Lacs". Retrieved 2009-02-07.
Certain specimens among those cited are unusual in that the lower lemma is indurated. Such specimens are found occasionally among populations of Echinochloa crusgalli (notably in India and Pakistan), and have been separated as Echinochloa glabrescens.
This is said to be a good fodder grass, once sown for its grain in Lahore district and occasionally still eaten in times of want. It is common in marshy places and rice fields below 3000 m.
Names and Taxonomy
common barnyard grass
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