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Plant Form Upright or spreading short-lived grass.
Size Up to 60 cm tall.
Stem Slightly flattened, hairless.
Leaves Narrow blades 3-20 cm long, mostly hairless. Sheaths can have a reddish or purplish tinge.
Flowers Clustered on a spike 3-7 cm long, sometimes partially enclosed by a sheath.
Fruit and Seeds Burr-like structures which are reddish or purplish green with 40-70 sharp spines. Becoming straw-coloured with age.
Habitat Waste areas, roadsides, pastures.
Distinguishing Features Burrs have more spines than on close lookalike Spiny burrgrass (Cenchrus spinifex), and have stalks unlike Mossman River grass (Cenchrus echinatus). Buffel Grass (Cenchrus ciliaris) has bristles on seed heads rather than spiny burrs.