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Extension > Garden > Diagnose a problem > Is this plant a weed? > Grass > Longspine Sandbur

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Longspine Sandbur

Cenchrus longispinus (Hack) Fern.

  • Image: broadleaf Plantain
  • Image: broadleaf Plantain
  • Image: broadleaf Plantain

Found in:

  • Lawns and landscape beds


  • Annual grass that grows best during warm temperatures (summer)
  • Coarse-textured, light green, clump-forming plant
  • Stems (tillers) grow along the ground before turning upward in mature plants
  • Stems may root at joints (nodes) where they touch the ground
  • Leaf blades are light green, flattened, sometimes coiled and may be rough to the touch
  • Flower stalks are coarse and wiry with swollen nodes (joints)
  • Spike-like flowers consist of several round, hairy, upward pointing burs
  • Roots are fibrous; no underground stems (rhizomes) produced


  • Increase moisture to favor desired lawn grasses as this plant thrives in warm, dry sites
  • Maintain minimum 2 1/2 -3” mowing height and good turfgrass density
  • Causes mouth blisters in horses

Plants that look similar:

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