Time of bloom: July to September.
Seed-time: August to October.
Range: Virginia to Arkansas, southward to the Gulf of Mexico.
Habitat: Fields, meadows, and waste places.
This grass came from the tropics and is common in all the warmer regions of the world. It is good forage only when very young, the stems soon becoming very hard and the slender panicles often overgrown with a black fungus, whence the common name. Cattle will not touch it when other food can be found.
Culms thickly tufted, strong and wiry, two to four feet tall, erect, smooth, simple or occasionally branched. Sheaths but little shorter than the internodes, the ligule a ring of fine, short hairs; leaves six inches to a foot long but less than a quarter-inch wide, smooth and flat. Panicle much elongated, slim, spikelike, often half the entire height of the plant. Spikelets about a tenth of an inch long, densely crowded on the erect branchlets of the panicle; they are smooth, shining, the glumes obtuse, very unequal, the lower one shorter and only about half the length of the third scale or lemma, which is acute and exceeds the obtuse palea.
Put the land under thorough cultivation for a season in order to destroy the perennial roots before reseeding heavily with grass or clover of good quality.