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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


Scientific Name: Sandbur, Cenchrus longispinus (Hack.) Fern.

Other Names: cenchrus épineux, Bur grass 

Family: Grass Family (Gramineae)

General Description: Annual, reproducing only by seed.

Habitat: Sandbur is a native grass in areas of sandy soil throughout southern Ontario. Though normally found along sandy beaches, sand dunes, riverbanks and roadsides, it is becoming a problem in tobacco fields, other row crops and occasionally in lawns and gardens on sandy soils.

Stems & Roots

  • Stems mostly 10-60cm (4-24in.) long, erect or spreading or lying on the ground; leaves flat.
  • Leaf sheaths split with overlapping margins.
  • There is a tuft of short and long (2-3mm, 1/12-1/8in.) hair on each side of the collar at the junction between the blade and sheath; no auricles. 

Flowers & Fruit

  • Inflorescence a group of spiny burs at the end of each stem; each bur 4-6mm (1/6-¼in.) long, containing 1 or 2 seeds.
  • Flowers from August to September. 

Often Confused With/ Distinguishing Features
Younger plants can be distinguished from most other grasses by the split sheath with membranous margins, and usually some hair on the margin, together with the hairy ligule and the tufts of long hair on either side at the junction between the blade and sheath.

Herbicide Resistance
Triazine resistant (WSSA group 5) populations exist in Grenville, Grey, Haldimond/Norfolk, Prescott and Wellington counties (ON).For more information on weed resistance go to\resistance


Sandbur Sandbur Sandbur Sandbur Sandbur Sandbur Sandbur
Click to enlarge.