Johnson grass is a tall, coarse, perennial grass with stout rhizomes. It grows in dense clumps or nearly solid stands in crop fields, pastures, abandoned fields, rights-of-way, and forest edges and along stream banks.
Johnson grass is native to the Mediterranean and now occurs in warm-temperate regions worldwide. It is common in the southern United States. Heavy infestations in river bottoms can reduce corn or soybean yields in Missouri to a few bushels per acre. More than 300,000 acres are infested in the Missouri Bootheel alone.
The flower clusters (panicles) of Johnson grass are large, loosely branched, purplish, and hairy. The spikelets (the small flowering units) occur in pairs or threes, and each has a conspicuous awn. It blooms June through November.
Johnson grass is a native of the Mediterranean that is invasive in our country. It’s a weed that infests cropland and degrades native ecosystems, and heavy infestations are found in all the major river bottoms of Missouri.
When you consider the negative effects this plant has on natural habitats, and how hard it is to control or eradicate, you almost want to rename it “leafy scourge”! This invasive plant is spreading in our state. Learn how to identify it.
Leafy spurge is an invasive plant that is spreading in our state. Leaves are usually alternate, but those immediately beneath the flowers are whorled. Leaves on the lower half of the stem are scalelike, while those on the upper parts are linear to oblong. All parts of the plant bleed a milky sap that causes skin irritation. Flowers are borne in umbels and appear greenish yellow.
MDC protects and manages Missouri's fish, forest, and wildlife resources. We also facilitate your participation in resource-management activities, and we provide opportunities for you to use, enjoy and learn about nature.