Crabgrass is like a bully on a playground, pushing weaker kids out of the way and taking over the jungle gym. But those traits can come in handy if the bully grows up to be a professional football player or a doctor saving lives. It’s the same with crabgrass; in the right setting, it has its purpose.
In the United States, we usually refer to crabgrass as a weed. But what does that mean exactly? Did you know there’s actually no botanic or scientific classification for weeds? They’re simply plants we don’t want around. And they are often invasive, crowding out plants we do want around.
Crabgrass is unpopular with many home gardeners because its ungainly clumps invade and crowd out desirable grasses like Bermuda and the cheerful dichondra. Plus, the two most prevalent types, smooth crabgrass and large crabgrass, grow to 15 to 36 inches (around 38 to 89 centimeters), respectively, if not mowed. And maybe that’s the real reason we don’t like it: When you don’t mow it, your yard looks terrible.
But these traits — its perseverance even in poor soils and its fast and high growth — make it ideal in some parts of the country as a summer forage grass for cows, sheep and horses. According to the University of Florida, grazing animals find crabgrass quite tasty [source: UF]. That means they eat more and thus gain more weight than when grazing on millet, sorghum or other summer grasses and grains.
EdibilitY / Nutrition
– Seeds may be ground up and used as flour. The fine white flour can be used for semolina.
– Compared to other grains, it has relatively high protein content.
– Decoction of plant used in treatment of gonorrhea.
– Used as folk remedy for cataracts and debility. Also, said to be emetic.
– Fiber: Fiber from the plant can be used for making paper.
– Forage: Has excellent quality and palatibility.
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