We need to raise £10,000 from user donations to get our finances in balance. More >>>

Follow Us:

 

Elytrigia repens - (L.)Desv. ex Nevski.

Common Name Couch Grass
Family Poaceae or Gramineae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards Prolonged use may lead to loss of potassium due to it's diuretic action [301]
Habitats A common weed of gardens, fields, hedgerows and meadows[17].
Range Most of Europe, including Britain, N. Africa, Siberia and N. America.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care
Well drained soil Moist Soil Wet Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Elytrigia repens Couch Grass


Elytrigia repens Couch Grass

 

Translate this page:

You can translate the content of this page by selecting a language in the select box.

Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Elytrigia repens is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from June to September, and the seeds ripen from August 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. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry moist or wet soil.

Synonyms

Elymus repens.(L.)Gould.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Lawn; Meadow; Hedgerow; Bog Garden;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves;  Root;  Seed.
Edible Uses: Coffee.

Roots - cooked. They can be dried and ground into a powder, then used with wheat when making bread[12, 46, 105, 244]. Although thin and stringy, the roots contain starch and enzymes and are quite sweet[7]. When boiled for a long time to break down the leathery membrane, a syrup can be made from the roots and this is sometimes brewed into a beer[2, 7]. The roasted root is a coffee substitute[46]. Young leaves and shoots - eaten raw in spring salads[7]. A slightly sweet flavour, though quickly becoming very fibrous, they are rather less than wonderful[K]. The juice from these shoots is sometimes used as a spring tonic[244]. Seed[161]. A cereal mash can be made from them[7]. The seed is very small and there is a large husk surrounding it, so that effectively it is more like eating fibre than cereal[K].

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.

Antiphlogistic;  Aperient;  Demulcent;  Diuretic;  Emollient;  Lithontripic;  Tonic.

Couch grass is of considerable value as a herbal medicine, the roots being very useful in the treatment of a wide range of kidney, liver and urinary disorders[4]. They have a gentle remedial effect which is well-tolerated by the body and has no side-effects[238]. This plant is also a favourite medicine of domestic cats and dogs, who will often eat quite large quantities of the leaves[4]. The roots are antiphlogistic, aperient, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, lithontripic and tonic[4, 7]. They are harvested in the spring and can be dried for later use[4]. A tea made from the roots is used in cases of urinary incompetence and as a worm expellent[222]. It is also an effective treatment for urinary tract infections such as cystitis and urethritis[254]. It both protects the urinary tubules against infections and irritants, and increases the volume of urine thereby diluting it[254]. Externally it is applied as a wash to swollen limbs[222].

Other Uses

Dye;  Liquid feed;  Soil stabilization.

An infusion of the whole plant is a good liquid plant feed[54]. The plant has a long creeping root system and so it has been planted in sand dunes near the coast to bind the soil together[4]. A grey dye is obtained from the roots[106].

Cultivation details

Couch grass can succeed in any soil, though it grows best in light sandy soils[238]. It is a rapidly spreading, persistent and pernicious weed that should only be introduced with great caution. It tolerates a pH in the range 4.2 to 8.3. Some modern works have now separated this species off into a new genus as Elytrigia repens. A food plant for the caterpillars of many butterfly and moth species. This species can become a pernicious weed, spreading rapidly by underground rhizomes[4] and quickly forming a dense mat of roots in the soil that strangles other plant growth[K]. Even the smallest fragment of root is capable of regenerating into a new plant, thus making it exceedingly difficult to get rid of. A good thick mulch through which nothing can grow, can be applied to the area, though it will need to be left in place for at least two growing seasons to be fully effective[K]. Despite its antisocial tendency in the garden, couch is a very useful herbal medicine and Culpepper is said to have stated that half an acre of couch was worth five acres of carrots twice over[4].

Propagation

This species is a pernicious weed and will not require assistance in spreading itself.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

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

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.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants

 

Print Friendly and PDF

Expert comment

Author

(L.)Desv. ex Nevski.

Botanical References

17

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Carina   Sat Feb 23 2008

Hello ! I am a horse owner trying to learn more abouth herbs and treatments and food for my horses my dog and my cat and I find your information very helpful thank you. I would say that it would be super good if you could also add homeopathy that would be great and perhaps Bach remedies and essential oils. Anyway I can say that for instence Elytrigia repens is to be found in vet homeopathy medecine given to be me by my pet homeopatvet. And being very important indeed that and some more herbs from Husse and some more homepath medecines saved my dog from a very difficult and dangerous tic disease last year. The grass is used like you point out eaten by dogs and cats and also horses for the stomach and also for getting rid of worms most likely. I rate it higher for me and my horses and my pets its a strong 5.

Carina   Sat Feb 23 2008

Hello ! I am a horse owner trying to learn more abouth herbs and treatments and food for my horses my dog and my cat and I find your information very helpful thank you. I would say that it would be super good if you could also add homeopathy that would be great and perhaps Bach remedies and essential oils. Anyway I can say that for instence Elytrigia repens is to be found in vet homeopathy medecine given to be me by my pet homeopatvet. And being very important indeed that and some more herbs from Husse and some more homepath medecines saved my dog from a very difficult and dangerous tic disease last year. The grass is used like you point out eaten by dogs and cats and also horses for the stomach and also for getting rid of worms most likely. and my pets its a strong 5.

QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.

2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.

3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at admin@pfaf.org. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Elytrigia repens  
All the information contained in these pages is Copyright (C) Plants For A Future, 1996-2012.
Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567,
Web Design & Management
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Some information cannot be used for commercial reasons or be modified (but some can). Please view the copyright link for more information.