Cockspur - Echinochloa crus-galli

    Alt Name
    Barnyard Grass

    This plant can grow to a metre or more in height and has long, flat leaves which are often purplish at the base. Most stems are upright, but some will spread out over the ground. Stems are flattened at the base. The seed heads are a distinctive feature, often purplish, with large millet-like seeds. The individual spikelets are 3 to 4 mm long and borne along one side of the panicle branches. The plant has long curving awns to 5 cm which give rise to the common name.

    Identification difficulty

    Waste places, rubbish tips, often near habitation.

    When to see it

    Flowers August to October.

    Life History


    UK Status

    An accidentally introduced species that has become widespread if occasional in Britain, being more common in the south.

    VC55 Status

    Infrequent in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 2 of the 617 tetrads.

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    UK Map