Cenchrus longispinus (Hack.) Fernald

Spiny Burr-grass

Rhodora 45: 388 (1943) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Tufted annual. Culms basally decumbent, to 50 cm high. Leaves mostly glabrous, rarely sparsely hairy; blade flat to inrolled, to 10 cm long and 5 mm wide; sheath keeled, often purplish; ligule c. 1 mm long. Inflorescence a spike, 3–7 cm long, the axis flattened and flexuose; involucre (burr) 7–10 mm long, with a basal series of bristles or much finer spines and several uneven rows of stout, apically retrorsely barbed bristles, the longest 5 mm long or more; bristles numbering 40 or more in total; body of the burr shortly hairy. Spikelets 1–3 per burr, 6–7.5 mm long; lower glume 1-nerved, acute, 1.5–4 mm long; upper glume 5-nerved, acute, 4.5–6 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.–Apr.

*GipP, *Glep, *Gold, *GGr, *LoM, *MuF, *MuM, *MSB, *NIS, *VRiv, *VVP, *Wim. Naturalised in all mainland States, widely worldwide. Probably native to North America and South America. In Victoria, a common and troublesome weed on sandy soils in the far north-west (Mildura, Swan Hill, Ouyen areas), particularly in irrigated farmland, a sporadic weed elsewhere (e.g. noted in railyards at Yarrawonga and Cranbourne).

Source: Walsh, N.G. (1994). Poaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 2, Ferns and Allied Plants, Conifers and Monocotyledons. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2018-11-13
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 longispinus in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Cenchrus longispinus in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Lowan Mallee present naturalised
Murray Mallee present naturalised
Wimmera present naturalised
Glenelg Plain present naturalised
Victorian Volcanic Plain present introduced
Victorian Riverina present naturalised
Murray Scroll Belt present naturalised
Murray Fans present naturalised
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Goldfields present naturalised
Greater Grampians present introduced
Northern Inland Slopes present introduced

State distribution

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