Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Broomsedge: Andropogon virginicus

broomsedge3-8.jpg (127776 bytes) Weed Description:  A perennial grass that forms clumps in many pastures, hay fields, and abondoned fields, and often goes unnoticed until it matures into a reddish-brown clump of broom-like leaves.  Found in the eastern half of the United States and in California.
Seedling:  Young leaves are folded in the shoot, to the point that plants take on a compressed appearance.   Sheaths are also flat.  Leaves have hairs at the base of the leaf blade and also have a membranous ligule. brromsedge3-19.jpg (136056 bytes)
broomsedge4-6.jpg (89226 bytes) Leaves:  Leaves are folded in the shoot and are without auricles.  A membranous ligule occurs that is approximately 1 to 2 mm long and rounded (sometimes with hairs along the top).  Leaf blades are distinctly keeled and approximately 4 to 6 mm wide and from 4 to 24 inches in length.   Leaves are usually hairy near the leaf base.  Leaves and sheaths turn reddish-brown with maturity and were once used in early times as brooms.
Stems:  Sheaths are distinctly flattened and often have long hairs along the overlapping margins.

Flowers:  A thin panicle that is produced in the upper half of the stems.  The panicle is almost inconspicuous until the hairy spikelets start to emerge and disperse.

broomsedge6-28.jpg (136503 bytes)
broomsedge.jpg (165625 bytes) Roots:  Fibrous root system and short, almost unnoticeable, rhizomes.

Identifying Characteristics:  Plants with distinctly flattened leaves and sheaths that turn reddish-brown with maturity.