Other names: Black amber, chicken corn, sorghum, wild cane
Life cycle: Annual
Found in: Cropland, particularly cereal crops. Shattercane was a cultivated crop for years, but feral strains now act as weeds.
General description: Mimics johnsongrass and grain sorghum in looks and growth patterns. It has been known to hybridize with both.
Seedlings: Leaf and sheath are covered in fine hairs. The ligule is a fringed membrane.
True leaves: Very long and flat—1 foot to 2 feet long by 1" to 2" wide—and hairless with a distinct midvein. They are rolled in the shoot. Ligule is membranous.
Flowers and fruit: The seedhead is very compact with spikelets that occur in pairs. Seeds are shiny and black or reddish.