Johnson Grass, Sorghum
halapense (L.) Pers. -
- a monocot in the Poaceae family -
Johnson grass is a scourge here in the Central Valley. It is said to have been brought here in the early 1900's from Europe as a feed grain for stock. It was grown in great quantities until it was determined it had very little nutritional value. By then it had naturalized and was out of control.
Above left, is a mature specimen. It can grow to the height of 7-8 feet. It propagates itself by heavy seeding and by underground rhizomes (thick root sections like iris bulbs).
Above right, is an interesting discovery - smut. This mold has dwarfed the plant and consumed the seeds. All that is left of the seeds are spores of the mold. This disease also effects Bermudagrass and is a great natural control for these invasive non-native grasses.
thick stalks at ground level.