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Common Name: Field Sandbur

Other Names: Longspine Sandbur, Mat Sandbur, Grassbur, Burgrass

Species Name: Cenchrus spinifex (Hack.) Fern

Plant Type: Grasses & Grass-like

Family Name: Poaceae





Plant Facts  
Origin Native
Duration Annual (rarely, a short-lived perennial)
Season Warm
Distribution in the U.S. Central and southern Great Plains, not abundant in the north
Distribution in Oklahoma Throughout the state, more prominent further west



ID Characteristics

  • Field Identification Characteristics
    • Immature plants, often purplish, have flattened stems usually spreading horizontally
    • The spikes or heads are 1-3 inches long with 10-30 burs containing in each cluster
    • Inflorescence may be partially enclosed in the upper leaf
  • Leaf and Stem Characteristics
    • Sheath: Loose, smooth, flattened, slightly hairy on the margins
    • Blade: Flat, sometimes folded, tapering to a point, may be rough to the touch
    • Ligule: Membranous, fringed with hairs
    • Culm: Flattened, may be upright or growing flat on the ground
  • Floral Characteristics
    • Inflorescence: Spike of 6-20 spiny, hairy burs; terminal, spikes sometimes partially enclosed in upper leaf
    • Spikelet: Spikelets surrounded by bur; bur is round or oval, densely hairy, covered with 45-65 upward pointing spines
    • Florets: 2, 1 sterile and 1 fertile; sterile floret is smaller than the fertile floret
    • Lemmas: Narrow, pointed, smooth
    • Awns: None; numerous spines
    • Glumes: Unequal; first glume less than 1/3 length of spikelet, narrow, pointed; second glume longer, wider, pointed



Soil Type It grows particularly well in sandy soils, as its name implies, but also occurs in heavier soils
Habitat Around farmsteads, roads, waste places, cultivated fields, lawns and rangeland in poor conditions
Successional Stage Mid


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