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.

Propagation 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 dorsoventrally. 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 biotopes.


Primarily on humid, 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 grows highly competitive due to its high growth rate and intensive tillering. It is common in upland crops like all row crops and cereals in many agricultural areas of the world. In rice E. crus-galli over time became the most dominant weed due to its similarity with rice that made it escape hand weeding frequently. Only the use of the selective herbicides offers reliable control. However, meanwhile several biotypes of barnyardgrass have developed resistance to various herbicides and modes of action.


Useful non-chemical contribution to Integrated Weed Management

Crop rotation, repeated hoeing and hand weeding can reduce barnyardgrass infestations. For management of barnyardgrass in rice a water depth of 10 - 20 cm (3.93 - 7.87 inch) is recommended.

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