Echinochloa muricata is an annual, presumably C4 metabolism (Charest and Potvin, 1993), branched from base, to over 1 m tall, stems often stout, to 1 cm wide at base, often streaked with dark red; sheaths compressed, smooth.
Leaves 0.8-3 cm wide.
Flower spikelets dark purplish, second glume and sterile lemma with broad-based hairs, lemma tip pointed, persistent; inflorescence to 30 cm long, of well separated spikes, 2-3 cm apart, 3-6 cm long, densely flowered, appear coarsely hairy, often dark purple; blooms and fruits June-Nov.
Fruit dry, one-seeded.Seeds eaten by many waterfowl and songbirds (Martin et al. 1951).
Wetland status: FACW+.
Frequency in NYC: Occasional.
Habitat: Wet, open ground or shallow water of roadside ditches (see E. crusgalli).
Notes: Plants eaten by rabbits and muskrats (Martin et al. 1951).