Large crabgrass

Digitaria sanguinalis (L.) Scop.

Life cycle

Prostrate to ascending summer annual.

large crabgrass seedling
Large crabgrass seedling.


Both leaf surfaces and sheath are densely hairy. Leaves are rolled in the bud and more numerous at the base. Leaves are generally shorter, wider and more tapered than those of most other grasses. 


Jagged, membranous ligule.

large crabgrass ligule
Large crabgrass collar region.


Prostrate to ascending stems may reach 3 feet tall, capable of rooting at the nodes. Mature stems are often compressed in cross-section.

Flowers and fruit

The seedhead is a terminal panicle that consists of a few to several slender, fingerlike branches arranged in a whorl. Each plant is capable of producing thousands of yellowish brown, narrow oval- to lance-shaped seeds.

large crabgrass seedhead
Large crabgrass seedhead. 



Similar weeds

Smooth crabgrass [Digitaria ischaemum (Schreb.) Schreb. ex Muhl.] Differs by having a smaller stature, hairless to sparsely hairy leaves and sheath, a tuft of long hairs at the collar region and stems that do not root at the nodes.

smooth crabgrass plant smooth crabgrass ligule
Smooth crabgrass plant (left). Smooth crabgrass collar region (right). 

Print a PDF of this page: Large crabgrass

Back to identifying Christmas tree weeds.

The MSU IPM Program maintains this site as an access point to pest management information at MSU. The IPM Program is administered within the Department of Entomology, fueled by research from the AgBioResearch, delivered to citizens through MSU Extension, and proud to be a part of Project GREEEN.