Weed Identification

Australia > > Mossman River Grass

Mossman River Grass

Cenchrus echinatus

Family: Poaceae.

Form: Grass

Origin: Native of North and South America.

Flowers/Seedhead: Seedhead: Inflorescence a cylindrical spike of up to 50 burrs. Flowers most of year in tropical areas.

Description: Clump-forming annual grass to 80 cm high. Leaves with or without hairs, to 12 mm wide, ligule a fringe of hairs.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by burrs 410 mm long with backwardly directed barbs and with ring of smaller bristles around base of burr.

Dispersal: Spread by seed in burrs. Burrs are spread attached to animals, clothing and bags, and burrs float and are moved by water.

Confused With: Other Cenchrus species, see taxonomic texts for detailed distinguishing features.

Mature burrs often turn reddish
Moreton Island, Qld, March

Notes: Germinates in spring and summer in temperate zones. Often grows on sandy soils especially along coast; provides good grazing when young, but is a major weed if allowed to mature. Burrs reduce the value of wool and make shearing hazardous. Spines of burrs also penetrate hides lowering their value. This grass is a weed of many tropical and subtropical crops where the plant competes for moisture, nutrients and light. Burrs are also a problem in recreation areas.


    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 9597. Flora of NSW. G. Harden (ed), Vol. 4, 1993, pages 500502.

Spiny Burrs
Berrimah, NT, March

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G10

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.


Australia > > Mossman River Grass


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