Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Goosegrass: Eleusine indica

Weed Description:   Summer annual with stems radiating outwards from a central distinctive white center.  Primarily a weed of turfgrass, landscapes and agronomic crops from Massachusetts to South Dakota and Kansas, South to Florida and Texas, and along the West Coast.
Seedling:  First leaf 3-5 times longer than wide, and opens parallel to the ground.  Leaf sheaths are flattened, smooth, and even on seedlings often are distinctly white to silver at the base.

Roots:  Fibrous.

Leaves:  Leaf blades are 2-14 inches long, 3-8 mm wide, without hairs or only sparsely hairy, and folded along the midvein.  The ligule is 1-2 mm long, fringed, uneven, and membranous.   Sheaths are flattened, whitish at the base, and sparsely hairy in the collar region.

Flowers:  Seedheads composed of 2-13 spikes each 1 1/2 to 6 inches long, 3-7 mm wide, in clusters at the top of stems.   Two rows of flattened spikelets occur along each spike.

Seed:  Each spikelet contains 3-6 light brown to black seeds that are 1-2 mm long.

Identifying Characteristics:  Flattened stems with a distinctive white or silver center.  Plants often appear compressed to the soil, as if they have been repeatedly stepped on.  This weed may be confused with Smooth Crabgrass (Digitaria ischaemum), but the leaves of smooth crabgrass are rolled in the bud, while those of goosegrass are folded in the bud.  Additionally, the distinctive white center of goosegrass distinguishes it from most other grass weeds.