Cenchrus spinifex Cav.

Lesser Burr-grass

Icon. 5: 38 (1799) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Tufted annual. Culms ascending to erect, to 60 cm high. Leaves mostly glabrous; blade flat to folded, to 15 cm long and 8 mm wide; sheath keeled; ligule 1–1.5 mm long. Inflorescence a spike or spike-like raceme, sometimes interrupted, 3–8 cm long, the axis flattened and flexuose; involucre (burr) 5–9 mm long, lacking a basal series of bristles, retrorsely barbed apically, spines all flat, the longest to 4 mm long; spines numbering 20–35 in total; body of burr shortly hairy. Spikelets 1–3 per burr, 3.5–5.5 mm long; lower glume 1-nerved, acute, 1–3 mm long; upper glume 5-nerved, acute, 3–5 mm long; lower floret male, its lemma equal to or slightly longer than upper glume, palea subequal to lemma; fertile lemma as long as spikelet, 5-nerved, ovate, acuminate, papery; palea subequal to lemma. Flowers Jan. (1 record)

*MuF. Known in Victoria from a single 1986 collection from Barmah Forest near the Murray River. Possibly more widespread and likely to be mistaken for the very similar C. longispinus. Native to North America; naturalised in all mainland states.

Created by: , 2015-07-15
Updated by: Neville Walsh, 2017-08-04
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Lilianae
order Poales
family Poaceae
genus Cenchrus L.
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <http://avh.chah.org.au>. Find Cenchrus spinifex in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Cenchrus spinifex in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Murray Fans present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
Northern Territory
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory