Echinochloa crus-galli (cockspur grass, cocksfoot grass, cockspur-panic, billion dollar grass, Japanese millet, barn-grass, watergrass, barnyard millet, wild millet, arrocillo, pata de gallo, denieba, song chang)

description:  summer annual

place of origin: origin is obscure, likely to be tropical Asia

urban habitat:commonly found in waste areas, minimally maintained landscapes, in drainage ditches, marshes, floodplains, along roadsides; can thrive in a variety of soil types; seeds can remain viable in soil for many years.

ecological function: disturbance-adapted pioneer species; food and habitat for wildlife and livestock; it can be used for soil reclamation.

history: Currently found around the world and considered to be one of the world’s most persistent weeds, Echinochloa crus-galli was described as being present in North America in 1759. It has been used as forage for livestock although it has been reported to accumulate toxic levels of nitrate when fed inorganic fertilizers. It is edible: its roasted seed used as a coffee substitute or cooked whole or ground into flour. E. crus-galli was used as a food staple by a number of Native American tribes in the US Southwest. The grass has also been used medicinally as a tonic to treat carbuncles, sores, warts, hemorrhages, spleen troubles and cancer.