Paragrass, Urochloa mutica (Panicum purpurascens, Brachiaria purpurascens)
Paragrass, which is often referred to as known as ‘maiden cane’ in South Florida, is native to Africa . It is a perennial that grows best in moist to wet disturbed and cultivated areas. It is most common in ditches, but often moves into cultivated areas from infested ditch banks.
It has a perennial (clumping) growth habit with stems that bends and form roots at the lower joints. When growing in the open the stems can reach 3 feet tall and when leaning through other vegetation, stems can be over 12 feet long. Stems are round in section. Joints are very hairy. Leaf blades are flat, smooth, 3/8 to 5/8 inch wide and 4 to 12 inches long. Leaf sheaths are hairy with pustule-based hairs. Seedheads have 8 to 20 branches that have an erect “signal flag” appearance. Flowers and seeds are located on the lower side of the branches, and the seeds are wrinkled.
|Figure 1. Paragrass on the edge of a field. This species is typically found growing out of ditches into field edges.
||Figure 2. Close-up of stem joint, showing the dense hairs typical of paragrass.
Control in sugarcane:
Paragrass is best controlled in sugarcane by spot treating with glyphosate.