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Sprangletop (Dinebra panicea subsp. brachiata) is a tufted, annual grass with upright or branching bent stems that grows to 40–100 cm high. The leaf sheaths are smooth to sparsely hairy, often with thin, long, hairs on the upper portion. The ligule (found where the leaf-blade meets the stem) is 1.5–3 mm long, membranous with a fringe of hairs, and irregularly toothed. The leaf blade is 5–45 cm long and 3–10 mm wide.
The inflorescence (flower structure) is a branched cluster, 6–30 cm long, often reddish or purplish and somewhat sticky. The spikelets (groups of flowers) are 2- to 4-flowered.
The seed is broadly oblong, and reddish brown or brown, 0.7–0.8 mm long (PIER 2008). For further information and assistance with identification of Sprangletop contact the herbarium in your state or territory.
Sprangletop is associated with wetlands, swamps, or streams in open areas. It cannot withstand extremely dry or wet soils and is frequently associated with heavy soils. It can grow in open sun or in light shade (PIER 2008). It is found in waste places, swampy areas, rice fields, gardens and roadsides, commonly in heavy soils (Waterhouse & Mitchell 1998).
Sprangletop is similar to Leptochloa chinensis; however, Sprangletop has scattered, long, fine tubercle-based hairs and fewer florets (2-4) per spikelet (Waterhouse & Mitchell, 1998). It can be distinguished from other native species of Dinebra, Acrachne and Leptochloa by its almost equal glumes, at least 2 well developed florets per spikelet and papery leaf blades (Nightingale et al. 2005).
Agriculture: Sprangletop is a weed of disturbed areas and of crops, including rice, corn, cotton, soybeans, sugarcane, peanuts and pastures (Waterhouse & Mitchell 1998). It has the potential to become a widespread weed in Australia, as virtually any part of the continent under 1000 m elevation combining seasonal moisture and a disturbed soil surface represents potential habitat (Snow 2004; Nightingale et al. 2005). It is considered a threat to the viticulture industry (Snow 2004).
Seed of Sprangletop is dispersed by water and animals and as a contaminant of produce (Waterhouse & Mitchell 1998).
It is not known how or when Sprangletop arrived in Australia. In Western Australia it was first found in 2000 in the Kimberly (Snow 2004).
Chemical control: Some chemicals are licensed to be used for the control of Sprangletop in cropping situations (Syngentia undated).
Please see the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority for chemical information http://www.apvma.gov.au
Sprangletop is an annual grass (PIER 2008). In the Northern Hemisphere it flowers in spring and autumn (Tenaglia 2007).
Sprangletop has been recorded from coastal Queensland and inland areas of Queensland south of Townsville. It also occurs in the East Kimberley area of Western Australia (Snow 2004; Nightingale et al. 2005).
Sprangletop is native to warm-temperate and tropical regions of the United States, Mexico, West Indies, Central America and northern South America (Nightingale et al. 2005; PIER 2008).
Leptochloa panicea subsp. brachiata
Mucronate Sprangletop, Red Sprangletop