Common windgrass

Apera spica-venti L. Poaceae (Grass family)

Life cycle

Erect winter annual.


Leaves are rolled in the bud, smooth and very narrow. Leaf sheaths are hairless and smooth. Margins of ligules are continuous with the sheath.


Seedlings have a short, pointed membranous ligule that becomes somewhat torn, toothed or jagged with maturity.

common windgrass seedlings
Common windgrass seedlings.


Erect, smooth, slender stems can be up to 1.5 feet tall. Produces several tillers.

common windgrass in wheat
Common windgrass in wheat.

Flowers and fruit

The seedhead is a long open panicle. Reddish-purple spikelets are compressed and one-seeded. Seeds are tipped with a prominent straight awn. Seeds are wind dispersed and often mature before crop harvest.



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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.