Encyclopedia Article

Goosegrass                   Eleusine indica (L.) Gaertn.

Family:  Poaceae
Life cycle:   Annual
Native status: Introduced
Habitat:   Turf, waste areas.  Often found in compacted soils.

General description:  Prostrate growth habit in closely mown turf, in other areas can be upright. Leaves folded in bud resulting in flat stems.  Seedheads consist of 2-6 spikes with two rows of spikelets; individual spikes coarser than those of crabgrass.

Key ID traits:  Membranous ligule; flat stems.  Tillers radiate outward parallel to soil surface.  Leaf sheaths at crown are white to silver in color.

Similar species:  Growth habit and seedheads are similar to crabgrass, but flat stems and larger inflorescences of goosegrass simplify identification.

Miscellaneous:  Also called silver crabgrass due to light color of the crown area.  Goosegrass is a bigger problem in the southern U.S. than Iowa.

Goosegrass tillers radiate from, stems of tillers are flat due to folded leaves.

Like crabgrass, goosegrass inflorescences have finger-like branches, but the individual branches of goosegrass are much thicker.