This annual grass has decumbent or upright stems up to a meter long. It may root where its lower nodes contact the substrate. The leaves have linear or lance-shaped blades up to 25 centimeters long. They are hairless to somewhat hairy, and they may have hairs lining the edges. The inflorescence is composed of up to 10 racemes, each up to 7 centimeters long. The spikelets are solitary or paired.
U. panicoides can be confused with Urochloa setigera, but the morphology of the spikelet is slightly different.
This grass is native to southern Africa. It has naturalized elsewhere, including Australia, Argentina, and the United States.
Diseases and pests
This grass is susceptible to the maize streak virus (MSV), which is transmitted by Cicadulina leafhoppers such as Cicadulina mbila, C. arachidis, C. triangula, C. bimaculata, C. similis, C. latens, C ghaurii, and C. parazeae.
Common names for the grass include barajalgauti, basaunta (Punjabi), tuinheesgras, heesgras, kurimanna (Afrikaans), sharp-flowered signal-grass, annual signal grass, garden signal grass, panic liverseed grass, herringbone grass (English), kuri millet (in Zimbabwe), pasto africano (Italian), farsho (Somali), kgolane, and bore-ba-ntjia (Sotho).