Weed Identification

Australia > > Spiny Burrgrass

Spiny Burrgrass

Cenchrus longispinus

Alternative Name(s): Bohena Beauty, Gentle Annie, Innocent Weed.

Family: Poaceae.

Form: Grass

Origin: Native of North America.

Flowers/Seedhead: A cylindrical spike. Flowers summer and autumn.

Description: Erect or spreading tufted annual grass to 60 (rarely to 90) cm high. Stems may root at lower nodes, hairless. Leaves 37 mm wide, ligule a fringed membrane.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by top of the spikelets protruding above the top of the burr (but still shorter than the spines); burrs 58 mm long usually with more than 40 spines that are almost circular in cross-section in the upper half and with base of larger spines rarely wider than 1 mm, without 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.

Grass with cylindrical spikes of burrs

Notes: Common in arid areas on light soils. Burrs reduce the value of wool and make shearing hazardous. Spines of burrs also penetrate hides lowering hide value. Burrs are also a problem with drying of fruit on drying racks.


    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 97100. Flora of NSW. G. Harden (ed), Vol. 4, 1993, pages 500502. Flora of Victoria. N. Walsh and T. Entwisle (eds), Vol. 2, 1994, pages 614615.

Top: Burrs of Cenchrus longispinus
Bottom: Cenchrus incertus

Burr showing slender & broad-based spines
photo P.Abell

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G15

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


Australia > > Spiny Burrgrass


National Weeds Strategy
Telephone: (03) 6344 9657
Fax: (03) 6343 1877
Email: jthorp@weeds.org.au

Privacy Statement

Legal Notice

Site Design - Computer Support Tasmania
Australian Weeds Committee