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Barnyard grass was never just a weed. For centuries, the tender blades of the long-stemmed leaves that appear in our lawns throughout the summer were thought to stop bleeding and sores, heal burns and scalds, and mend broken bones. But no one did more with the grass than the 19th-century horticulturalist who introduced it to the world and took credit for its miraculous healing properties.barnyard grass, (Echinochloa crus-galli), also called barnyard millet or cockspur grass, coarse tufted grass of the family Poaceae, a noxious agricultural weed. Although native to tropical Asia, barnyard grass can be found throughout the world, thriving in moist cultivated and waste areas. In many areas outside its native range, however, it is considered to be an invasive species. The plant can severely deplete soil nitrogen levels in agricultural fields, leading to lower crop yields and even crop losses in areas with heavy infestation.
The leaf sheath is usually open and lacks ligules (membranous or hairlike appendages of the leaf sheath). The plants flower in summer to early fall and bear tiny purplish flowers on erect or drooping inflorescences. Each plant can produce an estimated 40,000 seeds.Studies show that a single barnyard grass per square foot can reduce rice yields by about 25%, and 25 barnyard grasses per square meter can cause about 50% yield loss. The mature plant grows higher than rice, so that it competes for sunlight, besides soil nutrients. It is also an alternate host for tungro and rice yellow dwarf viruses.Some of the species within this genus are millets that are grown as cereal or fodder crops. The most notable of these are Japanese millet (E. esculenta) in East Asia, Indian barnyard millet (E. frumentacea) in South Asia, and burgu millet (E. stagnina) in West Africa. Collectively, the members of this genus are called barnyard grasses (though this may also refer to E. crus-galli specifically), and are also known as barnyard millets or billion-dollar grasses.
The fungi Drechslera monoceras and Exserohilum monoceras have been evaluated with some success as potential biocontrol agents of common barnyard grass in rice fields. More research is necessary, however, because they may not be host-specific enough to be of practical use.This weed is a robust, tufted, annual grass. The stems usually branch from the base, are flattened, and spread over the ground. The green leaves are 6-15 mm (1/4-1/2 in.) wide, 5-50 cm (2-20 in.) long, flat or V-shaped, keeled below, and somewhat rough or smooth above. Barnyard grass does not have a ligule or auricles. The spikelets are green to purple, numerous, and located on branches of the flowering stem. Each spikelet has 1 floret and 2 empty glumes. The empty glume is often long-awned. Barnyard grass produces about 7,200 seeds per plant.Barnyard grass prefers warm, moist, soil conditions. It may become a problem in irrigated row crops (e.g., sugar beets and potatoes) because, the seeds float and are easily spread by flooding or heavy irrigation. (Source: www.gov.mb.ca)