Eastern Gamagrass or Gamagrass:

Tripsacum dactyloides

Weed Description: A perennial from large, thick rhizomes that may reach 6 feet in height.  Eastern Gamagrass has a conspicuous spike seedhead that is 'jointed' and is primarily a weed of pastures, hay fields, abandoned fields, roadsides, and along the edges of woods.  This grass is found from Massachusetts south to Florida.

Roots: Plants have very thick rootstocks, usually much larger than the width of the plant itself.

Leaves:  Leaf blades may reach 2 feet in length and 1 inch in width, and are rough to the touch but mostly without hairs except those that occur at the base of the upper leaf surfaces.  Leaves lack auricles but have a ligule that is a fringe of hairs, approximately 1 to 1 1/2 mm in length.   Ligules may be fused at the base taking on the appearance of a ligule that is both membranous and a fringe of hairs.

Stems:   Sheaths are without hairs and are split at least part way up the stem with overlapping margins.  Stems may reach 6 feet or more in height.

Flowers:  Seedheads (usually 1 to 3) are terminal spikes that are from 4 to 12 inches in length.  Spikes consist of many tightly fused spikelets that eventually take on the appearance of being 'jointed'.

Identifying Characteristics:  The large, thick rootstocks and relatively large leaves of this plant helps to distinguish it from almost any other grass.   Additionally, the rather unique terminal seedhead is a good identifying characteristic of this species.