Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Field Sandbur, Coast Sandspur
Cenchrus incertus

Family: Poaceae (poh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cenchrus (SENCH-rus) (Info)
Species: incertus (in-KER-tus) (Info)

One member has or wants this plant for trade.


Unknown - Tell us

Unknown - Tell us

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:

Unknown - Tell us

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By alfu
Thumbnail #1 of Cenchrus incertus by alfu

By alfu
Thumbnail #2 of Cenchrus incertus by alfu

By alfu
Thumbnail #3 of Cenchrus incertus by alfu


No positives
1 neutral
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative alfu On Oct 6, 2011, alfu from Gainesville, FL wrote:

Until the seeds set, I find it quite impossible to differentiate it from less formidable grasses, which here in North Central Florida, the grass seems to wait until early September to do. Although the plant sends out rooting branches, it is a clump grass; the runners are above ground and not 'ropey' and underground, unlike another benign grass that looks virtually identical.

Negative MotherNature4 On Jul 26, 2004, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Anyone with personal experience meeting one of these seed heads will give it a negative report. They are a menace, sending their barbs into the flesh of fingers, toes or paws.

HELPFUL HINT: Before trying to remove them, spit on your fingers and don't squeeze too hard. The barbs seem to slip in the saliva. This is an old "Florida Cracker" remedy from an old Florida Cracker.

Neutral Floridian On Jan 30, 2004, Floridian from Lutz, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

MATURE PLANT Coast Sandspur is an annual or short-lived perennial. The stems are erect or bend at the lower nodes with the stem tips ascending. The leaf sheaths are either hairy or bare. The blades have a few scattered long hairs on the upper surface and often have scattered hairs at the base of the otherwise nonhairy lower surface. The seedheads of spiny burs are 2-8.5 cm wide and 4.1-7.0 mm long to the tip of the spikelets. The spines of only one kind are flattened and spread over the body of the bur. The seedheads appear throughout the year.
HABITAT This weed occurs throughout Florida in dry, sandy, cultivated and disturbed areas; in warmer parts of the United States from Virginia to California; Mexico; Central America; South America; the West Indies; the Philippine Islands; and South Africa.
BIOLOGY The southeastern United States has two similar weedy sandspurs. These are the Coast Sandspur and the Southern Sandspur (C. echinatus). Only one kind of spine on the bur of the Coast Sandspur separates it from the Southern Sandspur.
***This document is copyrighted by the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) for the people of the State of Florida. UF/IFAS retains all rights under all conventions, but permits free reproduction by all agents and offices of the Cooperative Extension Service and the people of the State of Florida. (Thats me!) Permission is granted to others to use these materials in part or in full for educational purposes, provided that full credit is given to the UF/IFAS, citing the publication, its source, and date of publication


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Gainesville, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Melbourne Beach, Florida
Pensacola, Florida

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