Echinochloa crus-galli

Scientific Name Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) P. Beauv
Common Names English: Barnyard grass; German: Hühnerhirse; French: Panic pied-de-coq; Spanish: Zacate de agua, pinto
Description Annual, tufted grass with fibrous, rather shallow roots.


Characteristic Features

There is much introgression between Echinochloa species.

Young Plant

Plant branching from the base, rather tall, 80 -150 cm (31.49 - 59.05 inch), first leaves are dull or grayish green, with the stem purplish tinged, the youngest leaf is rolled.


Stout, erect to decumbent.


Leaf blades are glabrous, hairless, elongate, 5-20 mm (0.19 - 0.78 inch) wide, 8-60 cm (3.15 - 23.62 inch) long, with a white midrib.
Ligule is absent.
No auricles.
Youngest leaf is rolled.

Propagatio Organs


Panicle erect or nodding, green or purple-tinged, 5-20 cm (1.96 - 7.87 inch) long.
9 - 12 racemes, 2 - 4 (-10) cm (0.78 - 1.57 - 3.93 inch) long, spreading, asc ending, sometimes branched.
Spikelets crowded, about 3 - 4 mm (0.12 - 0.16 inch) long excluding the awns.
First glume 1/3 as long as the spikelet; second glume and sterile lemma with short bristly hairs.
Awnless or on the nerves with awns, mostly 5 - 10 mm (0.19 - 0.39 inch) long.

Flowering Period



Fruit is small; compressed dorsiventrally. Hilum short, 2.5-3.5 mm (0.098 - 0.14 inch) long, whitely glumes.


Germination occurs at the end of spring (warmth germinator).

Viability Of Seeds

3 - 7 years.


By seeds. Seeds can germinate at various times of the year with a 42 - 64 days life cycle and 3 - 4 months dormancy. 200 - 1,000 seeds/plant .



E. crus-galli is a cosmopolitan weed of the warm and temperate zones and occurs in waste places, rotation crops and aquatic biotops.


Primarily on moister, humus-rich and nutrient-rich, loamy sands and loams.

Additional Crop Information

Also in root crops and perennial crops (orchards, vineyards).

Agricultural Importance

E. crus-galli is an important noxious weed grass with a long germination period from May till August (germination minimum temperature 10-20 o C) (50-68oF). Barnyard grass emerges in several waves and has a high competitive ability due to its high growth rate and intensive tillering. The corn yield can be reduced by 80 - 90 %.
Barnyard often is resistant to herbicides.


Integrated Crop Management

Crop rotation, repeated hoeing and hand weeding can reduce barnyard. A water depth of 10 - 20 cm (3.93 - 7.87 inch) in rice is recommended.

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