IPM1024 Identifying Grass Seedlings | Page 4 | University of Missouri Extension

Revised October 2010

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Identifying Grass Seedlings

Crabgrass, large (Digitaria sanguinalis)

Summer annual grasses


Large crabgrass has weak stems that result in a decumbent growth habit. It often roots at its lower nodes, which gives it a sprawling appearance. Its stems and leaf surfaces are covered with soft hair. Hairs grow from the stem at a 90-degree angle. The blades are flat and 5–10 mm wide. Auricles are absent, and the ligule is a jagged membrane 0.5–2 mm long.

Mature smooth crabgrassMature large crabgrass: decumbent growth habit.

Collar region SeedheadCollar region: ligule is a jagged membrane.
Right, seedhead.


Large crabgrass is present in practically all agronomic and landscape settings. It can tolerate diverse soil and moisture conditions.


Large crabgrass is found throughout Missouri and the United States.

Similar species

Large crabgrass is one of three crabgrass species that occur in Missouri. Smooth crabgrass is nearly identical but lacks hair on the leaves and stems.

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