Plant Guide > Grasses > Wire Grass

Wire Grass

Wire GrassEleusine indica (L.) Gaertn.

The coarse leaves and stems of Wire-grass form a thick, green carpeting in dooryards and by footpaths in many of the states during the middle and latter part of summer.

This grass is a native of warm countries of the Eastern Hemisphere, and, although gradually becoming common in southern New England, is most abundant in the South, where it usually suffers the reproach of being called aweed, so rarely are plant immigrants honoured unless they pay the toll of usefulness.

Wire-grass is low and leafy, sending up numerous flowering-heads which in appearance call to mind the familiar Crabgrass, though the most casual observer could hardly mistake it for that species, since the spreading spikes of Wire-grass are so much heavier and thicker.

On the "coasts of Coromandel" a stout species of this genus was cultivated for its large, farinaceous seeds which were used as food.

Wire-grass. Goose-grass. Yardgrass. Eleusine indica (L.) Gaertn.

Annual, tufted. Naturalized from Asia or Africa.

Stem 6'-24' tall, flattened, erect or spreading. Sheaths loose. Ligule very short. Leaves 3'-10' long, 1"-3" wide, flat, rather thick.

Spikes 2-8, 1'-3' long, spreading from the summit of the stem. Spikelets 3-6-flowered, 1 1/2"-2" long, in 2 rows on one side of the rachis. Outer scales acute, about equal; flowering scales acute. Stamens 3.

Cultivated grounds and waste places. June to September.

Southern New England to Ohio and Kansas, south to Florida and Texas.