Itchgrass, Rottboellia cochinchinensis
Itchgrass is an annual grass that is native to tropical Southeast Asia, and is a federally regulated noxious weed in the US. Itchgrass is commonly 3 to 6 feet tall, but can grow 10 feet high if left unchecked. Itchgrass seeds spread via road construction equipment, farm machinery, birds, and wind, and has been found in AL, AR, FL, GA, IN, LA, MS, NC, TX, and now SC. Several large patches of the weed were found along roadsides in Berkeley County, South Carolina in fall 2013. Clemson-DPI is monitoring the infestation and planning control options for the upcoming growing season.
This annual grassy weed is similar in appearance to Johnsongrass and fall panicum. However, itchgrass can be identified by pale green color, prop roots, cylindrical spike inflorescences and seed, and long, sharp siliceous hairs on the leaf sheaths and much of the plant. Please refer to our flyer on how to identify itchgrass. The sharp hairs can penetrate skin causing irritation, hence the common name. In addition to bothering humans, itchgrass can damage the mouths of livestock that attempt to graze this invasive weed, causing problems in the pasture.
If you suspect you have found itchgrass, contact Clemson-DPI at firstname.lastname@example.org or 864.646.2140. In the meantime, avoid disturbing the area to prevent further spread.