Plants of the Castlemaine District

Couch Grass - introduced (*Cynodon dactylon)

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The grass plant

couch grass

Introduced. Perennial. C4.

Family. Poaceae (Grass family).


It spreads by wiry shoots, which may be above ground or underground. It makes a tough lawn, and is a familiar garden weed. Couch Grass is a windmill grass: the flowers are stalkless on radiating arms.

Kikuyu and Buffalo Grass are also spreading grasses. These have much thicker stems, and the flowers are not on radiating arms.

The slender wiry runners, and the small radiating arms with unawned flowers are distinctive.

It is an environmental weed.

Variety pulchellus which grows near the Murray River, is thought to be a native (and endemic i.e. confined to Australia) variety of Couch Grass.

kynodon: dog's tooth (Greek), referring to the French name for this grass; dactylon: fingers.

1: Couch Grass remaining green in mid-summer. The surrounding introduced annuals have died off. Walmer. 2, 3: The flowers are stalkless on radiating arms. Bendigo. 4: Couch Grass with two flower stalks. Glenluce. 5: Portion of an arm. The anthers (yellow) and stigmas (red) are present.