Digitaria sanguinalis (L.) Scop.

hairy crabgrass

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Hairy crabgrass is native to Europe and has become a weed of lawns and fields throughout much of the world, including New England. Its success as a weed of lawns is due in part to its adaptability to mowing: it can produce seeds at mowing heights as low as 0.5 inch (1.27 cm).

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats)

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Leaf blade width
3–12 mm
Inflorescence branches
the flowers are attached to branches rather than to the main axis of the inflorescence
Spikelet length
1.7–3.4 mm
Glume relative length
neither glume is quite as long as all of the florets
Awn on glume
the glume has no awn
One or more florets
  • there is more than one floret per spikelet
  • there is one floret per spikelet
Lemma awn length
0 mm
Leaf sheath hair type
there are hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath, and some of the hairs have blisters at their bases
Leaf ligule length
0.5–2.6 mm
Anther length
0.5–0.9 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Anther length
    0.5–0.9 mm
    Anther number
    3
    Awn on glume
    the glume has no awn
    Bristles below spikelets
    no
    Floret lower bract texture
    the lemma is thin and flexible
    Floret number
    1–2
    Floret types within spikelet
    • NA
    • there are at least two distinct forms of florets within one spikelet
    Glume awn length
    0 mm
    Glume keel
    • the glume keels are rough or hairy
    • the glume keels are smooth and hairless
    Glume relative length
    neither glume is quite as long as all of the florets
    Glume shape
    the glume is flat or curved in cross-section
    Glume veins
    • 0
    • 1
    • 3
    • 5
    • 7 or more
    Glumes per spikelet
    2
    Inflorescence arrangement
    the spikelets are uniform
    Inflorescence axis hairs
    the inflorescence axis is rough and feels like sand-paper
    Inflorescence axis orientation
    the inflorescence axis is straight
    Inflorescence branch length
    3–30 cm
    Inflorescence branches
    the flowers are attached to branches rather than to the main axis of the inflorescence
    Inflorescence crowding
    the panicle is somewhat to very spread out, with clearly-evident branches
    Inflorescence type (general)
    the spikelets are borne on stalks or on branches
    Inflorescence type (specific)
    the inflorescence is branched and the branches all grow from the same side of the plant and look like spikes
    Inforescence position
    • the spikelets are mainly carried at the end of the stem
    • the spikelets are mainly found at the nodes, in the axils of leaves, along the stem
    Lemma awn base
    NA
    Lemma awn coiled
    NA
    Lemma awn length
    0 mm
    Lemma awn number
    the lemma has no awn
    Lemma awn orientation
    NA
    Lemma cross-section
    the lemma is flat or rounded if you cut across the midpoint
    Lemma hairs
    the lemma is hairless between the veins
    Lemma keel hairs
    the keel of the lemma is rough, or has fine hairs
    Lemma marginal vein hairs
    the marginal vein of the lemma is hairless
    Lemma surface
    the surface of the lemma is relatively smooth (not counting any longitudinal veins or hairs)
    Lemma tip
    the lemma tip is a simple point, with or without an awn (long narrow extension ending in a point)
    Lemma tip shape
    the lemma tip tapers to a narrow point (it may or may not also have an awn or teeth at the tip)
    Lemma vein number
    • 1
    • 3
    • 5
    • 7 or more
    Lower glume length
    0.2–0.4 mm
    Lower glume relative length
    the lower glume is one third or less as long as the upper glume
    One or more florets
    • there is more than one floret per spikelet
    • there is one floret per spikelet
    Palea length
    2.8–3.2 mm
    Palea relative length
    palea is one half to fully as long as lemma
    Reproductive system
    all the flowers on the plant have both carpels and stamens (synoecious)
    Spikelet axis tip
    there is no extension of the spikelet axis beyond the tip of the spikelet
    Spikelet disintegration
    the spikelet breaks off below the glumes
    Spikelet length
    1.7–3.4 mm
    Spikelet number per node
    0
    Spikelet pedicel
    the spikelets have pedicels
    Spikelet position
    the spikelets emerge from both the upper and lower halves of the inflorescence branches
    Spikelet width
    0.7–1.1 mm
    Spikelets spiny
    the spikelets do not appear spiny
    Tip of glume
    the tip of the glume is not divided (though it may have an awn on it)
    Upper glume length
    0.9–2 mm
    Upper glume relative length
    the upper glume is up to one half as long as the lowest lemma
    Upper glume shape
    the upper glume is widest at or below the middle
  • Fruits or seeds
    Seed length
    2–2.2 mm
  • Growth form
    Horizontal rooting stem
    no
    Lifespan
    the plant lives only a single year or less
    Rhizomes
    no
    Roots
    there are only slender roots on the plant
  • Leaves
    Leaf auricles
    the leaves do not have auricles
    Leaf blade cross-section
    the leaf blade is more or less flat in cross-section, or slightly folded or rolled inwards
    Leaf blade hairs
    • the leaf blade is hairless, but it may have tiny prickles that give it a sand-papery feel
    • the leaf blade is hairy
    Leaf blade length
    2–14 cm
    Leaf blade texture
    the leaf blade is rough and sandpapery
    Leaf blade width
    3–12 mm
    Leaf ligule length
    0.5–2.6 mm
    Leaf ligule type
    the leaf ligule is in the form of a membrane
    Leaf margin glands
    there are no glands along the edges of the leaf blade
    Leaf sheath closed around stem
    the margins of the leaf sheath are overlapping and not fused together except in the basal half (or less)
    Leaf sheath hair type
    there are hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath, and some of the hairs have blisters at their bases
    Leaf sheath hairs
    there are hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    man-made or disturbed habitats
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Hairs at nodes
    the stem nodes have hairs that stand out at a shallow angle, or they curve downwards
    Plant height
    20–112 cm
    Roots at lower stem nodes
    yes
    Stem hairs
    the stem has hairs on it
    Stem orientation
    • the stems trail along the ground or on other plants through most or all of their length
    • the stems trail at the base, but turn upwards at the tips

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but occasionally in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACU)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

No

Sometimes Confused With

Digitaria ischaemum:
lower glume absent or a tiny, membranous rim and upper lemma dark purple-brown (vs. D. sanguinalis, with the lower glume present and 0.2-0.4 mm long and upper lemma yellow to gray or brown).

Synonyms

  • Panicum sanguinale L.

Family

Poaceae

Genus

Digitaria

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

4.  Digitaria sanguinalis (L.) Scop. E

hairy crabgrass. Panicum sanguinale L. • CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Roadsides, yards, railroads, lawns, sandy, disturbed soil.