Eleusine indica

Scientific Name Eleusine indica (L.) Gaertn.
Synonyms Chloris repens Steud., Cynodon indicus Rasp., Cynosurus indicus L., Eleusine africana K. O'Byrne
Common Names English: Indian goosegrass, bullgrass, crowsfootgrass; German: Indische Fingerhirse, Indische Eleusine; French: Eleusine d'Indes; Spanish: Pata de gallina
Description Tufted summer annual grass, with C4 physiology and extremely rapid growth in full sunlight. Growth is much reduced (and more erect) under shade. Eleusine indica produces a prostate, matlike rosette.


Characteristic Features

Flattened stem, bright green leaves, size and many-flowered character of spikelets, lack of awns.

Young Plant

First leaf 3-5 times longer than wide, opens parallel to the ground.
Leaf sheaths are flattened, smooth, and even on seedlings often distinctly white to silver at the base.


Culms geniculately ascending, or decumbent; slender; 15-85 cm (5.9 - 33.46 inch) long. Depending on density of vegetation, but not usually rooting at the nodes. Culm-internodes elliptical in section.


Flat to V-shaped, up to 8 mm (0.31 inch) wide, 15 cm (5.9 inch) long coming to a longer, acute, boat-shaped tip. The leaves are glabrous and usually fairly bright, fresh green in color.
The ligule is a very short membranous rim up to 1 mm (0.039 inch) long, sparsely fringed with short hairs.
Auricles absent.
Sheaths and stem bases are distinctly flattened.

Propagation Organs


The inflorescence consists of 3-8 racemes, each 5-10 cm (1.97 - 3.93 inch) long, about 5 mm (0.19 inch) wide, arranged more-or-less digitately, though one raceme may be inserted about 1 cm (0.39 inch) below the others.
The narrow rachis, about 1 mm (0.039 inch) wide, has two dense rows of almost glabrous spikelets, each 2.5-3 mm (0.098 - 0.118 inch) long, 3-5 flowered, the lower and upper glumes about 1.5 mm (0.059 inch) and 3 mm (0.118 inch) long, respectively, and the lemmas very similar in both texture and size to the upper glume. All have a slightly scabrid keel and are acute but not awned.

Flowering Period



Achene, seedheads consist of 2-8 spikes in clusters at the top of stems.


Reddish-brown to black seeds are oblong, about 1-2 mm (0.039 - 0.078 inch) long, conspicuously ridged. Germination in summer with temperatures about 18 °C (64.4 °F).

Viability of Seeds

Viable seeds persist in the upper soil for only 2-5 years.


By seeds.



Cultivated and other disturbed situations, typical weed of disturbed urban areas.


Wide range of soil types, though generally favored by high fertility. E. indica tolerates compacted soils and drought.

Agricultural Importance

E. indica occurs in any annual crop in the tropics and sub-tropics and in many perennial crops and pastures. It tolerates close mowing and is most conspicuous in annual row-crops, in which it is able to become rapidly established before there is adequate shading from the crop. Seeds survive passage through cattle and horses and may therefore be contaminants of farmyard manure.


Useful non-chemical contribution to Integrated Weed Management

Since this weed is very sensitive to competition, it is important to establish a dense crop stand.

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