Spiny burrgrass - longispinus (Cenchrus longispinus)

Also known as: gentle Annie, innocent weed

Spiny burrgrass - longispinus is an annual grass, similar in appearance to spiny burrgrass C. spinifex).

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How does this weed affect you?

Spiny burrgrass is a weed because of its sharp and clingy burr, ability to spread rapidly and tendency to develop into dense infestations in favourable conditions. It is also difficult and expensive to manage, especially in marginal rainfall areas.

Mature burrs cause a range of problems such as:

  • injury to stock causing swellings and ulcers in the mouth
  • injury to people and dogs
  • clinging to wool and penetrating the skin of stock, reducing the value of both
  • shearing difficulties, which often attracts penalty rates as working with contaminated wool requires leather gloves and/or aprons.
  • inconvenience and discomfort to workers in irrigated crops such as vegetables, vines and citrus, and
  • contamination of dried fruit and hay.

What does it look like?

Spiny burrgrass - longispinus is an erect or spreading grass to 60 cm high. It is similar in general appearance to spiny burrgrass (C. spinifex) but differs in having longer spikelet or burr heads (5.8 - 7.6 mm long), those of spiny burrgrass being 3.4 - 5.8 cm long. The spines are generally longer compared to spiny burrgrass. The burrs are often tinged purple and those of spiny burrgrass are rarely tinted. 

Where is it found?

Spiny burrgrass - longispinus is less widespread that spiny burrgrass (C. spinifex). It occurs on the slopes and plains of NSW. 

Maps and records

  • Recorded presence of Spiny burrgrass - longispinus during property inspections (Map: Biosecurity Information System - Weeds, 2017-2024)
    These records are made by authorised officers during property inspections under the Biosecurity Act 2015. Officers record the presence of priority weeds in their council area and provide this to the NSW Department of Primary Industries. Records reflect the presence of the weed on the date of inspection.

How does it spread?

Plants spread by seed. The barbed spines on the burr can attach to animal fur, wool, clothing, car tyres, and machinery.

More information

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Control

Herbicide options

WARNING - ALWAYS READ THE LABEL
Users of agricultural or veterinary chemical products must always read the label and any permit, before using the product, and strictly comply with the directions on the label and the conditions of any permit. Users are not absolved from compliance with the directions on the label or the conditions of the permit by reason of any statement made or not made in this information. To view permits or product labels go to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority website www.apvma.gov.au

See Using herbicides for more information.


Glyphosate 360 g/L (Various products)
Rate: 500–700 mL in 100 L of water
Comments: Spray with a handgun on actively growing. Use the lower rate on weeds up to 15 cm tall and the higher rate for weeds over 15 cm tall.
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: 9 (previously group M), Inhibition of 5-enolpyruvyl shikimate-3 phosphate synthase (EPSP inhibition)
Resistance risk: Moderate


Glyphosate 360 g/L (Various products)
Rate: 2.0–3.0 L/ha. Use 75 - 200 litres of water/ha
Comments: Boom spray actively growing plants. Use the lower rate on weeds up to 15 cm tall and use the higher rate for weeds over 15 cm tall.
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: 9 (previously group M), Inhibition of 5-enolpyruvyl shikimate-3 phosphate synthase (EPSP inhibition)
Resistance risk: Moderate


MSMA 720 g/L (Armada 720 SL)
Rate: 1.0 L in 100 L of water
Comments: Spot spray application.
Withholding period: Do not graze or cut for stock food for 5 weeks after application.
Herbicide group: 0 (previously group Z), Herbicides with unknown modes of action
Resistance risk: Moderate


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Biosecurity duty

The content provided here is for information purposes only and is taken from the Biosecurity Act 2015 and its subordinate legislation, and the Regional Strategic Weed Management Plans (published by each Local Land Services region in NSW). It describes the state and regional priorities for weeds in New South Wales, Australia.

Area Duty
All of NSW General Biosecurity Duty
All pest plants are regulated with a general biosecurity duty to prevent, eliminate or minimise any biosecurity risk they may pose. Any person who deals with any plant, who knows (or ought to know) of any biosecurity risk, has a duty to ensure the risk is prevented, eliminated or minimised, so far as is reasonably practicable.
Central Tablelands
Contain recorded populations across the Central Tablelands region. Goal will be to contain spiny burr grass spread across the whole region with focus on spread or potential spread into production areas.
Regional Recommended Measure* (for Regional Priority - Containment)
Whole of region: Land managers should mitigate the risk of the plant being introduced to their land. Land managers should mitigate spread of the plant from their land. A person should not buy, sell, move, carry or release the plant into the environment. Land managers should reduce the impact of the plant on assets of high economic, environmental and/or social value.
Central West
An exclusion zone is established for all lands in the Central West except the core infestation which is defined as all lands within the Lachlan Shire Local Government Area.
Regional Recommended Measure* (for Regional Priority - Containment)
Whole of region: Land managers mitigate the risk of new weeds being introduced to their land. Within exclusion zone: Land managers should eradicate the plant from the land and keep the land free of the plant. A person should not deal with the plant, where dealings include but are not limited to buying, selling, growing, moving, carrying or releasing the plant. Notify local control authority if found. Within core infestation: Land managers should mitigate spread of the plant from their land. A person should not buy, sell, move, carry or release the plant into the environment. Land managers should reduce the impact of the plant on assets of high economic, environmental and/or social value.
Western Regional Recommended Measure* (for Regional Priority - Asset Protection)
Land managers should mitigate the risk of the plant being introduced to their land. Land managers should mitigate spread of the plant from their land A person should not buy, sell, move, carry, or release the plant into the environment. Land managers should reduce the impact of the plant on assets of high economic, environmental and/or social value.
*To see the Regional Strategic Weeds Management Plans containing demonstrated outcomes that fulfil the general biosecurity duty for this weed click here

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For technical advice and assistance with identification please contact your local council weeds officer.

Reviewed 2024