Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Browntop Millet: Brachiaria ramosa

browntop5-15b.jpg (233591 bytes) Weed Description:  A summer annual with relatively wide leaves and open panicles.  Browntop millet may grow erect or prostrate along the ground with tips ascending.  This grass is primarily a weed of agronomic crops, hay fields, and abandoned fields.

Flowers:  Seedhead an open panicle, 1 1/2 to 7 inches long, 3/4 to 2 1/2 inches wide.  Individual grains are tan in color, ellipsoid, and approximately 2 mm long.

Stems:  Plants go erect or prostrate along the ground with tips ascending.  Stems may reach 3 1/2 feet in height.  Nodes along the stem are minutely to shortly hairy, and sheaths between the nodal sections are without hairs.  Sheath margins may be hairy.

Roots: A fibrous root system.

browntopmillet4-5.jpg (194766 bytes)
browntop5-15.jpg (128788 bytes) Leaves:  Leaf blades may reach 7 inches in length and 15 mm in width and are without hairs on both surfaces.  However, minute hairs may occur on the upper leaf surfaces near the leaf bases, but these are rarely visible to the naked eye.  Leaves are without auricles and have a ligule that is a fringe of hairs approximately 1/2 to 1 1/2 mm long.

Identifying Characteristics:  A summer annual grass with relatively large leaves that have a small ligule that is a fringe of hairs and is otherwise essentially hairless throughout.  Wild-proso millet (Panicum miliaceum) is very similar to browntop millet, however wild-proso millet has sheaths that are densely covered with conspicuous hairs.  Wild-proso millet also appears to be more common in Virginia than browntop millet.