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SPECIES:  Echinochloa crus-galli
Barnyardgrass. Image by Steve Dewey, Utah State University,


SPECIES: Echinochloa crus-galli
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION: Esser, Lora L. 1994. Echinochloa crus-galli. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: []. Revisions: On 2 October 2018, the common name of this species was changed in FEIS from: barnyard grass to: barnyardgrass. Images were also added.
ABBREVIATION: ECHCRU SYNONYMS: NO-ENTRY NRCS PLANT CODE: ECCR COMMON NAMES: barnyardgrass common barnyard grass TAXONOMY: The scientific name of barnyardgrass is Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) Beauv. (Poaceae) [16,19,45,80]. LIFE FORM: Graminoid FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS: No special status OTHER STATUS: NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Echinochloa crus-galli
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: Barnyardgrass is a weed of Eurasian origin that occurs throughout the continental United States. It is also found in southern Canada from British Columbia east to Nova Scotia [19,27,39,57,63].
Distribution of barnyardgrass in the United States. Map courtesy of USDA, NRCS. 2018. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC. [2018, October 2] [72].
   FRES15  Oak - hickory
   FRES17  Elm - ash - cottonwood
   FRES18  Maple - beech - birch
   FRES28  Western hardwoods
   FRES31  Shinnery
   FRES38  Plains grasslands
   FRES39  Prairie
   FRES41  Wet grasslands
   FRES42  Annual grasslands

     AZ  AR  CA  CO  CT  FL  GA  HI  ID  IL
     IN  IA  KS  KY  LA  ME  MD  MA  MI  MN
     MS  MO  MT  NE  NV  NH  NJ  NM  NY  NC
     ND  OH  OK  OR  PA  SC  SD  TN  TX  UT
     VT  VA  WA  WV  WI  WY  DC  AB  BC  MB

    3  Southern Pacific Border
    5  Columbia Plateau
    6  Upper Basin and Range
    8  Northern Rocky Mountains
   10  Wyoming Basin
   12  Colorado Plateau
   13  Rocky Mountain Piedmont
   14  Great Plains
   16  Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands

   K048  California steppe

    20  White pine - northern red oak - red maple
    22  White pine - hemlock
    23  Eastern hemlock
    28  Black cherry - maple
    39  Black ash - American elm - red maple
    52  White oak - black oak - northern red oak
    53  White oak
    55  Northern red oak
    57  Yellow-poplar
    58  Yellow-poplar - eastern hemlock
    59  Yellow-poplar - white oak - northern red oak
    63  Cottonwood
    67  Mohrs (shin) oak
   110  Black oak
   217  Aspen
   235  Cottonwood - willow

In the Sacramento Valley of California, barnyardgrass occurs in wetland
communities with swamp grass (Crypsis schoenoides) and bearded
sprangletop (Leptochloa fascicularis) [47].

Barnyardgrass is found in the southern High Plains region of northern
Texas and southern New Mexico.  In this region, it is codominant with
red sprangletop (L. filiformis) in wet meadow and prairie communities
and is also found in shinnery communities [4,5].

Barnyardgrass occurs in temporarily flooded palustrine wetlands of the
northern prairie and plains communities [26,83].  

In eastern Colorado and western Kansas, barnyardgrass occurs in the
plains cottonwood (Populus deltoides) riparian zone.  Common associates
include saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima), sandbar willow (Salix exigua),
and Russian-olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) [38,60].  Barnyardgrass is
also a member of saltcedar and willow-cottonwood communities in Arizona

Barnyardgrass is the dominant species in some wetlands of North Dakota.
Common associates include water plantain (Alisma triviale), American
slough grass (Beckmannia syzigachne), needle spikerush (Eleocharis
acicularis), hedge hyssop (Gratiola neglecta), and pale smartweed
(Polygonum lapathifolium) [16,63].  

In South Dakota, barnyardgrass occurs in mixed-grass prairie dominated
by blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis), buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides),
western wheatgrass (Pascopyrum smithii), and needlegrass (Stipa spp.).
Other associates include needleleaf sedge (Carex eleocharis), Sandberg
bluegrass (Poa secunda), sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula), and
little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) [37,71].  In tallgrass
prairies of northeast Kansas, barnyardgrass occurs in communities
dominated by big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii var. gerardii), little
bluestem, and Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans) [14].

At Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania, barnyardgrass
occurs in a variety of forest cover types as an understory species.
Species associated with barnyardgrass not previously mentioned include
white ash (Fraxinus americana), mockernut hickory (Carya tomentosa),
shagbark hickory (C. ovata), black walnut (Juglans nigra), eastern
redbud (Cercis canadensis), flowering dogwood (Cornus florida),
sassafrass (Sassafrass albidum), and red pine (Pinus resinosa) [85].


SPECIES: Echinochloa crus-galli
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE: Barnyardgrass is readily grazed by livestock in Arizona and West Virginia, and can be cultivated for hay [27,67]. Seeds of barnyardgrass are eaten by songbirds, waterfowl, and greater prairie chickens [6,9,59,63,75]. Barnyardgrass is an important source of food and cover for waterfowl in the Sacramento Valley [47]. In the playa lakes of Texas and New Mexico, meadows dominated by barnyardgrass are important habitat for waterfowl and pheasant [4]. PALATABILITY: Barnyardgrass produces fair pasture when grazed during early growth stages but becomes harsh and unpalatable at maturity [68]. It is palatable to sheep in Minnesota [40]. NUTRITIONAL VALUE: Barnyardgrass has fair to poor forage value for livestock [68]. In Minnesota, toxic levels of nitrate have been reported in barnyardgrass [40]. Nutritional values of sun-cured barnyardgrass in the milk stage are as follows [87]: _________________________________________United States Dry matter % 84.2 100.0 Ash % 7.7 9.1 Crude fiber % 31.0 36.8 Ether extract % 1.8 2.1 N-free extract % 34.0 40.4 Protein (N x 6.25) Sheep dig. coef.* % 57.0 57.0 Cattle dig. prot.* % 5.9 7.0 Goats dig. prot. % 6.2 7.4 Horses dig. prot. % 6.2 7.4 Rabbits dig. prot. % 6.4 7.6 Sheep dig. prot. % 5.6 6.6 Energy Cattle DE* Mcal/kg 1.95 2.31 Sheep DE Mcal/kg 1.98 2.35 Cattle ME* Mcal/kg 1.60 1.90 Sheep ME Mcal/kg 1.62 1.93 _______________________________________________________ *dig. coef.=protein digestible coefficient dig. prot.=digestible protein DE=digestible energy ME=metabolizable energy COVER VALUE: Barnyardgrass cover values are as follows [86]: UT WY ND upland game birds poor fair good waterfowl poor fair good small nongame birds fair fair good small mammals fair fair ---- VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES: Barnyardgrass has colonized desert riparian and wetland community sites along the Gila river in Arizona that were supplied by year-round flows of wastewater. If wastewater areas are managed on a permanent year-round basis, habitat rehabilitation and avian colonization may occur [55]. Barnyardgrass can be utilized for quick, temporary erosion control on coal mine sites in the eastern United States [75]. OTHER USES AND VALUES: NO-ENTRY OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS: Generally, seed yields from barnyardgrass stands are reduced in 2 to 3 years because of competition with other weeds [43]. In Missouri, natural seeding of barnyardgrass was stimulated by periodic draining and flooding of a wetland site; a July 1 to September 15 drawdown produced an excellent stand of barnyardgrass which was utilized by waterfowl [6]. In California, draining barnyardgrass fields in the spring and disking them can benefit stands. At the Mendota Waterfowl Management Area, California, this practice has been used to perpetuate stands of barnyardgrass for up to 6 years. Barnyardgrass may harbor a virus-like disease of cereals [17]. Toxicity tests of effluents in water and sediment were conducted using the two varieties of barnyardgrass. Effluents from a sewage treatment plant, tannery, textile mill, pulp and paper mill, and coking plant inhibited germination, chlorophyll synthesis, and growth of barnyardgrass [77,78].


SPECIES: Echinochloa crus-galli
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Barnyardgrass is an introduced, nonrhizomatous, warm-season annual. Stems may be solitary or in small tufts, erect or reclining at the base, up to 6.6 feet tall (2 m) [16,28,39,52,80]. Leaves are flat, 4 to 12 inches (10-30 cm) long and 0.2 to 0.6 (5-15 mm) inch wide [18,19,27,46]. The panicle is 2 to 8.4 inches (5-21 cm) long, upright or nodding [19,46,68]. Barnyardgrass has a fibrous root system [39,49]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM: Therophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES: Barnyardgrass reproduces by seed. It is self-pollinating [51] and a prolific seed producer [28,44,68]. A healthy plant can produce from 750,000 to one million seeds [44]. Barnyardgrass seed is water dispersed [1]. Seed viability in soil is variable [10,44]. In Stoneville, Mississippi, in 1972, a 50-year study on longevity of buried seed of barnyardgrass was initiated. Seed viability was 1 percent after burial for 2.5 years; less than 6 percent of seed survived 6 months or longer [10]. However, according to Dawson [8], barnyardgrass seed may be viable in the soil for up to 13 years. In another study by Mitich [44], seed viability of barnyardgrass was 100 percent after 6 to 8 years of dry storage in irrigated sandy loam soil, and all seed was nonviable after 15 years. Watanabe [79] found that barnyardgrass seed germination rate was 27 percent after burial for 6 months and 3 percent after burial for 6.5 years. Barnyardgrass seed germinates over a wide temperature range, 55 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (13-40 deg C), with optimum germination occurring from 68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit (20-30 deg C) [53,62]. The buoyancy and hence dispersal by water of barnyardgrass seeds is probably influenced by their weight. A survey of seed weight [1] demonstrated that seeds of rice barnyardgrass (E. phyllopogon) were on average 2 to 3 times heavier than those of barnyardgrass (E. crus-galli). The lighter seeds of barnyardgrass exhibited greater buoyancy, with approximately 50 percent of seeds remaining afloat after 4 to 5 days in water. In contrast, 95 percent of rice barnyardgrass seeds had sunk after 5 days. Decay of dormancy in rice barnyardgrass is more rapid than in barnyardgrass following dry storage and burial in soil. SITE CHARACTERISTICS: Barnyardgrass is widespread in fields, waste places, ditches, marshes, wet meadows, floodplains and along lakeshores and streambanks [18,20,33,38,39]. It is locally common in floodplains, riverbottoms, and seasonally wet habitats [1,63,80], but also occurs in drier habitats [24]. Barnyardgrass is most often found on disturbed, generally nonsaline soils [25,53,63], but grows on a variety of soil types [38,53]. Echinochloa crus-galli var. crus-galli is generally absent from sites that have greater than 12 inches (30 cm) of standing water for more than 4 weeks at a time [42,63]. It occurs in shallow water or after drawdown [63]. Barnyardgrass tolerates poor drainage and flooding, but not severe drought [7,31,44,60]. In California, barnyardgrass cosmopolitan weed of wet, disturbed ground and occurs in shallow water around the periphery of rice fields [1]. Elevations of barnyardgrass are as follows: feet meters Arizona 150-7,000 45-2,100 [27] California <4,950 <1,500 [20] Colorado 4,500-7,500 1,350-2,250 [19] Kansas 3,370-4,675 1,021-1,417 [38] Montana 2,800-3,300 840-1,000 [86] South Dakota 1,940-2,025 587- 614 [71] Texas 7,400 2,320 [21] Utah 2,705-7,045 820-2,135 [80] Wyoming 3,700-5,100 1,110-1,530 [86] SUCCESSIONAL STATUS: Barnyardgrass is a pioneer species that readily invades disturbed sites [63,68]. It is found most often in open, unshaded areas [25,44], and is intolerant of dense shade [44]. Barnyardgrass invades South Dakota rangelands and rapidly colonizes overflow and subirrigated range sites that have been denuded or disturbed in Nebraska [37,68]. In Idaho, barnyardgrass is an increaser species on periodically flooded sites along streams [58]. At a restoration prairie site in Ohio, barnyard grass established at the edge of an ephemeral pond that is subject to periodic flooding and drying [7]. In an old-field succession deciduous forest in southwestern Ohio, barnyardgrass was found growing in a 2-year-old stand, but was not present in stands 10, 50, 90, or 200 years old [56,74]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT: Barnyardgrass flowering dates for several states are as follows: Arizona July-Sept [27] California July-Oct [46] Colorado Aug-Sept [86] Florida all year [84] Illinois Aug-Oct [45] Montana June-Oct [86] Nebraska Aug-Sept [61] North Carolina July-Oct [52] North Dakota July 15 [65] South Carolina July-Oct [52] West Virginia Aug-Oct [67] Wyoming Aug-Oct [86] Great Plains June-Sept [16]


SPECIES: Echinochloa crus-galli
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS: Barnyardgrass may colonize burned areas from soil-stored seed after fire. Fires that thin or remove canopy vegetation produce conditions that may be conducive to colonization by barnyardgrass. FIRE REGIMES: Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY: NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Echinochloa crus-galli

References: Echinochloa crus-galli

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