Toxic Parts:
mechanical injury, awns
Flower Color:
  • flower color
haybales, meadows, coastal, waterside

Time of Greatest Risk


Geographical Distribution

Southern sandbur distribution - United States

Related Species

Southern Sandbur

Cenchrus echinatus

Southern Sandspur,Mossman River Grass, Sandbur, Burgrass, Sandspur, Spiny Burr Grass
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Southern sandbur (Cenchrus echinatus) is a clump-forming annual grass. It is considered an invasive weed and is widespread in tropical regions worldwide. C. echinatus seedheads consist of spike-like clusters of anything up to 50 burs. Each bur, 4–10 mm across, is a pale green to purplish ball of stout, broad, spiny bristles that are joined together at the base. The burs of the seed heads can become firmly attached to clothes and haircoats of horses by the barbed spines. These can penetrate the skin causing painful or annoying injuries.

Toxic components
C. echinatus is an oxalate accumulating plant. Ingestion of this plant over an extended period of time can cause chronic kidney disease in horses. Acute toxicity can also occur if large amounts of the plant are consumed in a short amount of time. C. echinatus often contaminates haybales, which diminishes the quality and reduces the palatability for the horse.


  • Reduced Feed Consumption
  • Mouth Sores
  • Muscle Tremors
  • Staggering Gait
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Collapse


MECHANICAL: Physical and chemical management techniques have been found to be effective against Cenchrus echinatus. Physical measures include hand-pulling individual plants.

CHEMICAL: Effective chemicals include glyphoshate, chlorazifop, altrazine and benfluralin.