Eleusine indica

Goose Grass

Botanical description: Eleusine indica thrives in the disturbed soils of cities and can be found growing out of cracks in asphalt, along roads, parking lots or in the relatively lush habitat that tree pits and park lawns provide. It is tolerant of drought, compaction and due to its prostrate habit even endures close mowing. Its ability to grow within the thin seams of the streetscape makes it a valuable stormwater management contributor. The entire plant dies after the first, hard frost, but the dried seed heads remain through much of winter. Light-colored, nearly silver leaf sheaths are prominently displayed in the center of the plant’s flat rosette and midsummer flowers are found in finger-like clusters, radiating from a central point. The flowers are much thicker and coarser overall than other types of crabgrass. Two to six spikelets form the terminal inflorescence, composed of coarse, flat culms which produce a lot of seed over the course of one season. Goosegrass may have acquired its name from the resemblance of the flower spikes to the splayed pad of a goosefoot. The grass is eaten by cattle and horses and the seeds remain viable throughout digestion. It has been cited as a food of famine as the seeds are edible but the yield is so low it is more the food of desperation.