Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Dactylis glomerata
orchard grass

Distribution: Occurring on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; Alaska to California, east across North America to the Atlantic Coast.

Habitat: Disturbed areas such as meadows, fields, roadsides, and forest edges; common forage plant; also planted in logged areas in the mountains.

Flowers: June-August

Origin: Introduced from Eurasia and northern Africa

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Wind


Strongly tufted perennial, the culms hollow, up to 12 dm. tall.


Sheaths closed, usually glabrous; ligules 3-9 mm. long, sparsely pubescent, the upper half usually turned back and split in several places; blades flat, 3-11 mm. broad, the two margins freed from the sheath at different levels.


Inflorescence a dense panicle 3-15 cm. long; spikelets usually 3-flowered, one-sided, compressed, 5-9 mm. long; glumes 4-6 mm. long, keeled, the first lopsided, 2-nerved, with stiff hairs along the keel, the second about equal to the first, narrower, 1-nerved, both with a soft, short, awn-like tip; lemmas 5-8 mm. long, with an awn tip about 1 mm. long

Accepted Name:
Dactylis glomerata L.
Publication: Sp. Pl. 1: 71. 1753. 1753.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Dactylis glomerata L. var. ciliata Peterm.
Dactylis glomerata L. var. detonsa Fr.
Dactylis glomerata L. var. vivipara Parl.
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Dactylis glomerata in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Dactylis glomerata checklist entry.

OregonFlora: Dactylis glomerata information.

E-Flora BC: Dactylis glomerata atlas page.

CalPhotos: Dactylis glomerata photos.

USDA Plants: Dactylis glomerata information.

41 photographs:
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