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Publication #SP 37

Coast Sandspur (Field Sandbur),Cenchrus incertus Curtis1

D. W. Hall and V. V. Vandiver, and J. A. Ferrell2

Common Name: Coast Sandspur (Field Sandbur)

Scientific Name: Cenchrus incertus Curtis

Family: Gramineae (Poaceae), Grass Family

Classification

Common Name: Coast Sandspur (Field Sandbur)

Scientific Name: Cenchrus incertus Curtis

Family: Gramineae (Poaceae), Grass Family

Seedling

The blades are flat and like sandpaper on the upper surface (Figure 1). The ligules are up to 1.3 mm long. The lower papery portion of the ligule is only 0.2 mm long and the fringe of hairs is up to 1.1 mm long.

Figure 1. 

Seedling, Coast Sandspur (Field Sandbur), Cenchrus incertus Curtis


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Mature Plant

Coast Sandspur is an annual or short-lived perennial (Figure 2). The stems are erect or bend at the lower nodes with the stem tips ascending. The leaf sheaths are either hairy or bare. The blades have a few scattered long hairs on the upper surface and often have scattered hairs at the base of the otherwise nonhairy lower surface. The seedheads of spiny burs are 2-8.5 cm wide and 4.1-7.0 mm long to the tip of the spikelets. The spines of only one kind are flattened and spread over the body of the bur. The seedheads appear throughout the year.

Figure 2. 

Mature plant, Coast Sandspur (Field Sandbur), Cenchrus incertus Curtis.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

History

The name Cenchrus is from the Greek word for millet, cenchros. The Latin species name incertus means uncertain and probably alludes to the problems botanists have had with this species.

Habitat

This weed occurs throughout Florida in dry, sandy, cultivated and disturbed areas; in warmer parts of the United States from Virginia to California; Mexico; Central America; South America; the West Indies; the Philippine Islands; and South Africa.

Biology

The southeastern United States has two similar weedy sandspurs. These are the Coast Sandspur and the Southern Sandspur (C. echinatus). Only one kind of spine on the bur of the Coast Sandspur separates it from the Southern Sandspur.

Footnotes

1.

This document is SP 37, one of a series of the Agronomy Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date May 1991. Revised February 2006. Reviewed January 2012. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

David W. Hall, former extension botanist, Herbarium, Florida Museum of Natural History; Vernon V. Vandiver, associate professor emeritus, Agronomy Department; Jason A. Ferrell, assistant professor, Agronomy Department; Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.