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Dactylis glomerata - L.

Common Name Cock's Foot, Orchardgrass, Ascherson's orchardgrass
Family Poaceae or Gramineae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards This plant is an important cause of hayfever[274].
Habitats Meadows, waste places, by roads and on downs[17].
Range Europe, including Britain, from Norway south and east to N. Africa and temperate Asia.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Dactylis glomerata Cock

Dactylis glomerata Cock


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Dactylis glomerata is an evergreen Perennial growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 0.3 m (1ft).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 5. It is in leaf all year, in flower from May to August, and the seeds ripen from July to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Wind.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Ground Cover; Lawn; Meadow;

Edible Uses

None known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Reported to be oestrogenic. the plant is a folk remedy for treating tumours, kidney and bladder ailments

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

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Other Uses

Fodder  Miscellany  Soil stabilization

Environmental:Erosion control or dune stabilization, Land reclamation, Revegetation, Soil conservation. Plants form impenetrably dense clumps and when planted close together in drifts make an excellent ground cover[200]. Having a deep root system, the plant is also useful for checking soil erosion[269]. The plant can be grown for biomass, annual productivity ranges from 2 to 37 tonnes per hectare[269]. If soil fertility is low, a large portion of the total production occurs in the spring, but if the soil is highly fertile, production is well distributed throughout the growing season[269]. Animal feed, fodder, forage.

Special Uses

Attracts Wildlife  Ground cover

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Succeeds in most good soils and also under the shade of trees[1, 115, 162]. Prefers a light well-drained soil, it does not thrive on heavy or poorly drained soils[200]. Plants tolerate an annual precipitation in the range of 31 to 176cm, an annual temperature range of 4.3 to 23.8°C and a pH in the range of 4.5 to 8.2[269]. The plant is adapted to humid temperate climates. It grows on almost any type of soil, but thrives best on heavier types, such as clays and clay loams. A drought-resistant plant, it will withstand high temperatures. Prefers areas with 480-750 mm annual rainfall, but will produce on rather poor dry soils[269]. Plants are hardy in all parts of Britain, though they are less winter-hardy than Phleum pratense or Bromus inermis and do not extend as far north in Europe[269]. A very variable plant[1]. There are both diploid and triploid forms[274]. Numerous strains have been developed, some coarse and stemmy, others good for hay and early grazing. Local ecotypes in the Mediterranean region are adapted to long hot dry summers. In Europe two types have been developed, one for pasture and one for hay. Pasture types produce more basal leaves and generally are more spreading than the hay types. Selections made in Canada, Sweden and Finland are improved for winter hardiness. Improved strains are more leafy, persistent and later flowering than unimproved commercial types[269]. An important food plant for the caterpillars of several lepidoptera species[30]. The plant is occasionally grown for lawns and is particularly well adapted for growing under shade[269]. However, this species does not make a good lawn grass because it is too coarse[1].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - surface sow in a cold frame in the spring and do not allow the compost to dry out[162]. Germination should take place within three weeks. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. There is between 725,000 and 1,450,000 seeds per kilo[269]. If you have sufficient seed it can be sown outdoors in situ in the spring. Division in spring[162]. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Cock's-foot; orchard grass; orchardgrass. Spanish: dactilo; dactilo aglomerado; pasto orchoro; pasto ovillo. French: dactyle; dactyle agglomere; dactyle pelotonne. Portuguese: panasco. Chinese: ya mao. English: barnyard grass; cocksfoot grass; cockspur. French: dactyle aggloméré; dactyle pelotonné; gramen pelotonné. Germany: Gemeines Knaeuelgras; Gemeines Knaulgras; Knaulgras; Wiesen- Knaeuelgras. Italy: dattile. Portugal: dactilo; panasco. Spanish: jopillo. Sweden: hundaexing; hundäxing; lundäxing.

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bhutan, Bulgaria, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Yukon Territory, Chile, China, Gansu, Guizhou, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Jiangsu, Ningxia, Shaanxi, Shandong, Sichuan, Xinjiang, Yunnan, Zhejiang, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia (Republic of), Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Assam, India, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, UK, Ukraine, Uruguay, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Uzbekistan.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

This plant can be weedy or invasive. An aggressive perennial grass that grows in any kind of soil, is drought resistant and can over-run some grasslands. Weeds of Australia (2015) reported that the species is ‘regarded as an environmental weed in Victoria, Tasmania, ACT and New South Wales [1d].

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Readers comment

symmox   Thu Feb 21 2008

u mst give a full discription such as purpose for use,ability to winter, endurance of dry season, growing rythm in productive years, match in mixture with, suitable soiltype and testiness for cows.

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