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I live in an apartment building, and my landlord has neglected to mow the back yard for quite a while now. In this time period this unknown plant that I've never seen before has grown to a height of about 38iches (965mm).

I live in Central Missouri, this is the first year I've seen this plant, either here or anywhere else in Missouri. In the first photo you should see the central part of the plant, which is the tallest, and it looks like it has a good root system going because the other leaves look like they're coming from the same system, but I'm not 100% sure because I don't know a lot about plants.

Photos: (Click to enlarge)

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It looks like some kind of corn (maize). This was my first thought - a grass related to corn, but I wasn't sure so I've just checked with MrsWinwaed (ecology professor) and she says "definitely a grass, probably a seed corn"?

Comparing to the corn I have grown in the past, it looks like you only have one flower type? (my corn had male and female flowers) and the flower heads appear with small plants.

Do you have a bird feeder near by? It could be seed from that which has grown.

Edit: Addenda: MrsWinwaed adds that may also be a type of sorghum (ie. another monocot/grass). Bird seed would still be the most likely source. Note that the seed could be from last year, or it could have been carried in.

As for removal, you are probably limited to physical removal. Even a very selective weedkiller is going to kill all grasses/monocots - not much good in a lawn, unless you can live with yellow spots of grass around each treatment.

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well the upstairs neighbor usually puts out birdseed, but i haven't noticed any around this year so i don't think there is any. – DForck42 Sep 4 '11 at 19:06
If it is corn or sorghum and it came from birdseed, either pulling or mowing will get rid of it. The bird feeder doesn't even need to be that close -- I've had chipmunks bury sunflower seed all over our yard, with rather interesting results... – bstpierre Sep 6 '11 at 14:13

That looks like Pearl Millet. The birds like it.

enter image description here
Wikimedia commons

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