Southern crabgrass

Common Name:

crabgrass, southern

Scientific Name:

Digitaria ciliaris






Growth habit: Prostrate growth habit, rooting at the nodes; Stem: Rounded and rooting at the nodes. Stems/leaf sheath pubescent.; Leaf: Leaf 3 to 6 inches in length, pubescent on lower 1/3. Leaf sheath pubescent.; Collar: Ligule membranous, with jagged edge, not completely encompassing stem. ; Inflorescence: Three to six racemes terminating a stem. Normally branching along the top 2 inches of the inflorescence stem.


Almost indistinguishable from large crabgrass. Large crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis) found more in the transition zone and north. Southern crabgrass found more in the transition zone and south. Southern crabgrass is a laterally (decumbent) growing summer annual grass. Heavy pubescence is the primary characteristic distinguishing it from smooth crabgrass. Southern also roots at the nodes, whereas smooth does not.