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Taxon: Heteropogon contortus (L.) P. Beauv. ex Roem. & Schult.

Genus: Heteropogon
Family: Poaceae (alt. Gramineae) subfamily: Panicoideae tribe: Andropogoneae
Nomen number: 18953
Place of publication: Syst. veg. 2:836. 1817
Name verified on: 20-May-1992 by ARS Systematic Botanists. Last updated: 09-May-2011
Species priority site is: Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit, Griffin, GA (S9).
Accessions: 18 in National Plant Germplasm System.
  • all available ) NPGS accessions. or .
  • all available ) NPGS accessions by country.
  • Check PlantSearch database of Botanic Gardens Conservation International for possible non-NPGS germplasm.

A declared aquatic or terrestrial noxious weed and/or noxious-weed seed in these U.S. states (see state noxious weed lists), with links to state information or web documents:
ªAquatic. *Terrestrial. °In seed.
noxious weed information from Invaders Database System for northwestern U.S.

Common names:

  • black spear grass   (Source: J. Veldkamp, p.c.) – English
  • bunch spear grass   (Source: J. Veldkamp, p.c.) – English
  • bunched spear grass   (Source: Aust Pl Common Names ) – English
  • spear grass   (Source: Pl Res SEAs ) – English
  • tangle grass   (Source: Dict Rehm ) – English
  • tanglehead   (Source: Dict Rehm ) – English
  • assegaaigras   (Source: Ecocrop ) – Afrikaans
  • steekgras   (Source: Ecocrop ) – Afrikaans
  • huang mao   (Source: F ChinaEng ) – Transcribed Chinese
  • herbe à moutons   (Source: PROTA4U ) – French
  • herbe barbue   (Source: PROTA4U ) – French
  • herbe polisson   (Source: PROTA4U ) – French
  • Speergras   (Source: Dict Rehm ) – German
  • flechinha   (Source: PROTA4U ) – Portuguese
  • hierba torcida   (Source: Dict Rehm ) – Spanish

Economic importance:


Distributional range:

    Macaronesia: Cape Verde
    Northern Africa: Algeria; Libya; Morocco; Tunisia
    Northeast Tropical Africa: Chad; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Somalia; Sudan
    East Tropical Africa: Kenya; Tanzania; Uganda
    West-Central Tropical Africa: Cameroon; Central African Republic; Congo; Gabon; Rwanda; Zaire
    West Tropical Africa: Benin; Cote D'Ivoire; Ghana; Guinea; Liberia; Mali; Mauritania; Niger; Nigeria; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Togo
    South Tropical Africa: Angola; Mozambique; Zambia; Zimbabwe
    Southern Africa: South Africa
    Western Asia: Lebanon; Syria
    China: China - Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Xizang, Yunnan, Zhejiang
    Eastern Asia: Taiwan
    Indian Subcontinent: India; Sri Lanka
    Indo-China: Myanmar
    Australia: Australia - New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia
    Southeastern Europe: Albania; Croatia; Italy; Montenegro
    Southwestern Europe: France; Spain

      Naturalized: (links to other web resources are provided for some distributions)
    Southeastern U.S.A.: United States - Florida
    South-Central U.S.A.: United States - New Mexico, Texas
    Southwestern U.S.A.: United States - Arizona, California [s.]
    Northern Mexico: Mexico - Baja California, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosi, Sonora, Tamaulipas
    Southern Mexico: Mexico - Aguascalientes, Chiapas, Colima, Federal District, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Jalisco, Mexico, Michoacan, Morelos, Nayarit, Oaxaca, Puebla, Queretaro, Tabasco, Veracruz, Yucatan
    North-Central Pacific: United States - Hawaii
    Caribbean: West Indies
    Mesoamerica: Belize; El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Nicaragua
    Western South America: Bolivia
    Southern South America: Argentina

  • also cultivated




Check other web resources for Heteropogon contortus (L.) P. Beauv. ex Roem. & Schult.:


  • Check for additional images
  • Google Images Images Note: Be advised that their identity may be inaccurate. Proper identification of a plant may require specialized taxonomic knowledge or comparison with properly documented herbarium material.

Abbreviations & symbols in GRIN Taxonomy

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Cite as:
USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program.
Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database].
National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland.
URL: (25 November 2015)

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