Field sandbur

Cenchrus incertus M.A. Curtis Poaceae (Grass family)

Life cycle

Prostrate to ascending summer annual.

field sandbur mature plant
Field sandbur mature plant.


Leaves are folded in the bud, sparsely hairy with a rough texture. Heavily compressed leaf sheaths are hairless at maturity with hairy margins.

field sandbur seedling
Field sandbur seedling.


Hairy ring.

field sandbur hairy ligule
Field sandbur hairy ligule.


Prostrate to ascending stems up to 1.5 feet tall are capable of rooting at the nodes. Mature stems are often compressed with swollen nodes.

Flowers and fruit

The seedhead is a slender unbranched spike made up of bur-like seeds. Each spike has five to 15 ovoid burs.



field sandbur seedhead
Field sandbur seedhead.

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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.