Brachiaria platyphylla

Scientific Name Brachiaria platyphylla (Munro ex Wright) Nash
Synonyms Urochloa platyphylla (Munro ex Wright) R. Webster
Common Names English: Broadleaf signalgrass; Spanish: Braquiaria
Description A spreading summer annual grass, commonly found growing along the ground but with tips ascending, roots fibrous and capable of rooting at the lower stem nodes, produces stolones.

Descriptions

Characteristic Features

Relatively broad and short leaves, lack of hairs on the leaf blades, rooting stem nodes, and flattened spikelets.

Young Plant

Leaf sheaths of the seedling are often maroon-tinged and hairy throughout. Leaf blades are without hairs, except for those that occur on the margins. Leaf blades may also be maroon-tinged, with a fringed membranous ligule.

Stems

Prostrate, branching and bent at the nodes, to approximately 1 m (39.37 inch) tall. These plants often root at the lower stem nodes, and therefore are most commonly seen growing along the ground with some tips ascending.

Leaves

Leaf blades are overall short and wide in appearance, approximately 3-15 cm (1.18 - 5.90 inch) long and 6-15 mm (0.24 - 0.59 inch) wide. Leaf blades are widest near the base and taper to the apex. Leaves are rolled in the bud and without hairs on either leaf surface except on margins and in the collar region.
The ligule is a narrow membrane fringed with hairs, 0.5 to 1 mm (0.02 - 0.039 inch) long. Leaf sheaths are hairy.

Propagation Organs

Flowers

Inflorescence composed of racemes, approximately 30 cm (11.81 inch) long and 10 cm (3.93 inch) wide. Each seedhead has 2 to 6 'branches', approximately 2.5 to 9 cm (0.98 - 3.54 inch) long. Spikelets on the seedhead are somewhat flattened in appearance.

Flowering Period

July - September.

Fruit

Caryopsis.

Seeds

Germination from April - July.

Viability of Seeds

Short living seeds, less than 4 years.

Propagation

Reproduces by seeds and rarely by stolones.

Occurrence

Habitat

Wet ditches, boggy thickets, swampy woods, moist disturbed areas.

Soil

Acidic soil conditions.

Agricultural Importance

Broadleaf signalgrass can reduce yield significantly. It is rapidly spreading and can be a serious problem weed in corn and other infested crops. It is very competitive and a prolific seed producer. If not controlled in continuous no-till agricultural systems, a tremendous seed reserve can be built on top of the soil and residue, making pre-emergence control difficult.

Control

Useful non-chemical contribution to Integrated Weed Management

Deep tillage and dense crop stands effectively suppress this weed species.

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