longspine sandbur
Cenchrus longispinus (Hack.) Fern


Cenchrus longispinus is an annual grass with conspicuous burs along the seedhead. Sheaths may reach 20 in. (51 cm) in height. C. longispinus stems are somewhat flattened and hairless and has a fibrous root system. C. longispinus is native to North America, Mexico and South America.
C. longispinus leaves may reach 8 in. (20.3 cm) in length and 0.24 in. (6 mm) in width. The upper surface is rough and there are no hairs on the lower surface. The ligule is a fringe of hairs and is about 0.04 in. (1 mm) long.
The inflorescence of C. longispinus is a terminal, spikelike panicle of fascicles or burs. The fascicles have sharp bristles that surround and can conceal 1-4 spikelets. The spikelets are sessile, with 2 florets.
Fruits are contained in the spiny burs held along the terminal panicle. Each bur is somewhat hairy and is approximately 0.2-0.3 in. (5-7 mm) wide.
Ecological Threat
Cenchrus species are typically found in sandy sites, abandoned fields, and recently disturbed areas. They invade recently disturbed areas and can tolerate a wide range of soil types and moisture conditions, allowing it to compete successfully with other species.

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EDDMapS Distribution

EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. For more information, visit www.eddmaps.org

State Regulated List

State Regulated List - This map identifies those states that list this species on their regulated list. For more information, visit Invasive.org

Taxonomic Rank

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Subclass: Commelinidae
Order: Cyperales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Cenchrus
Subject: Cenchrus longispinus (Hack.) Fern

Synonyms and Other Names

Other Common Names:
mat sandbur, burgrass, field sandbur, innocent-weed, longspine sandbur, sandbur


Plants - Grass or Grasslike