Fine Art

Dactylis glomerata

Dactylis glomerata

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Monocots
Cladus: Commelinids
Ordo: Poales

Familia: Poaceae
Subfamilia: Pooideae
Tribus: Festuceae
Subtribus: Dactylidinae
Genus: Dactylis
Species: Dactylis glomerata
Subspecies: D. g. subsp. glomerata – D. g. subsp. hackelii – D. g. subsp. hispanica – D. g. subsp. hyrcana – D. g. subsp. izcoi – D. g. subsp. judaica – D. g. subsp. juncinella – D. g. subsp. lobata – D. g. subsp. lusitanica – D. g. subsp. mairei – D. g. subsp. merinoana – D. g. subsp. nestorii – D. g. subsp. oceanica – D. g. subsp. reichenbachii – D. g. subsp. rigida – D. g. subsp. santai – D. g. subsp. slovenica – D. g. subsp. stebbinsii – D. g. subsp. woronowii

Dactylis glomerata L.

Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum. Tomus I: 71. Reference page.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2021. Dactylis glomerata in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2021 Aug. 22. Reference page.
Dactylis glomerata at the Euro+Med PlantBase
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Dactylis glomerata in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 07-Oct-06.

Vernacular names
العربية: إصبعية متكتلة
български: Ежова главица
brezhoneg: Geot gallek
čeština: Srha laločnatá
dansk: Almindelig Hundegræs
Deutsch: Gewöhnliches Knäuelgras
English: Cock's-foot
español: Dáctilo
suomi: Koiranheinä
français: Dactyle pelotonné
עברית: ציבורת ההרים
hornjoserbsce: Lěsny sukač
magyar: csomós ebír
íslenska: Axhnoðapuntur
italiano: Dattile
日本語: オーチャードグラス
ქართული: სათითურა
қазақша: Кәдімгі тарғақшөп
lietuvių: Paprastoji šunažolė
македонски: Ежовка
Nederlands: Kropaar
polski: Kupkówka pospolita
português: Dactilo-comum
русский: Ежа сборная
slovenščina: navadna pasja trava
svenska: Hundäxing
Türkçe: Domuz ayrığı
українська: Грястиця збірна
walon: Rexhe waide
中文: 鸭茅

Dactylis glomerata, also known as cock's-foot, orchard grass, or cat grass (due to its popularity for use with domestic cats) is a common species of grass in the genus Dactylis. It is a cool-season perennial C3 bunchgrass native throughout most of Europe, temperate Asia, and northern Africa.[1][2][3][4][5]


Dactylis glomerata occurs from sea level in the north of its range, to as high as 4,000 meters in altitude in the south of its range in Pakistan.[6] It is widely used for hay and forage.[5]

It is a principal species in the widespread National Vegetation Classification habitat community MG1 (Arrhenatherum elatius grassland) in the United Kingdom, and so can be found with Arrhenatherum elatius (false oat grass).[7]
Dactylis glomerata in Swakane Canyon, Chelan County Washington

It can be found in meadows, pasture, roadsides, and rough grassland.

It has been introduced into North America, New Zealand and Australia, and is now widely naturalised.[8] In some areas, it has become an invasive species.
One of the keys to distinguishing this species from other grasses are its flat stems

Cock's-foot grows in dense perennial tussocks to 20–140 centimetres (7.9–55.1 in; 0.66–4.59 ft) tall, with grey-green leaves 20–50 centimetres (7.9–19.7 in; 0.66–1.64 ft) long and up to 1.5 centimetres (0.59 in) broad, and a distinctive tufted triangular flowerhead 10–50 centimetres (3.9–19.7 in; 0.33–1.64 ft) long, which may be either green or red- to purple-tinged (usually green in shade, redder in full sun), turning pale grey-brown at seed maturity. The spikelets are 5–9 millimetres (0.20–0.35 in) long, typically containing two to five flowers. It has a characteristic flattened stem base which distinguishes it from many other grasses.[2][5]

It flowers from June to September.[9]
Flower head

Dactylis glomerata is treated as the sole species in the genus Dactylis by some authors,[1][3] while others include one to four other species.[10] It is commonly divided into several regional subspecies, particularly by those authors accepting only the single species:[1][6][10]

Dactylis glomerata subsp. glomerata. Widespread; described from Europe.
Dactylis glomerata subsp. altaica. Central Asia.
Dactylis glomerata subsp. himalayensis. (syn. D. himalayensis). Western Himalaya.
Dactylis glomerata subsp. hispanica (syn. D. hispanica). Mediterranean, SW Asia.
Dactylis glomerata subsp. ibizensis. Balearic Islands.
Dactylis glomerata subsp. judaica
Dactylis glomerata subsp. juncinella. Spain.
Dactylis glomerata subsp. lobata (syn. D. glomerata subsp. aschersoniana, D. aschersoniana, D. polygama). Central Europe.
Dactylis glomerata subsp. lusitanica. Portugal.
Dactylis glomerata subsp. marina (syn. D. marina). Western Mediterranean region, Iberia, Canary Islands.
Dactylis glomerata subsp. reichenbachii. Italy.
Dactylis glomerata subsp. santai
Dactylis glomerata subsp. slovenica. Central Europe.
Dactylis glomerata subsp. smithii (syn. D. smithii). Macaronesia.
Dactylis glomerata subsp. woronowii (syn. D. woronowii). Russia.

Dactylis glomerata subsp. glomerata and subsp. hispanica are tetraploid forms with 28 chromosomes; some of the other subspecies, including subsp. himalayensis and subsp. lobata are diploid, with 2n = 14. Hexaploid forms with 42 chromosomes are also known, but rare.[3][11] Tetraploid forms are larger and coarser than diploid forms.[11]
Cultivation and uses

Cock's-foot is widely used as a hay grass and for pastures because of its high yields and sugar content, which makes it sweeter than most other temperate grasses. In dry areas as in much of Australia, Mediterranean subspecies such as subsp. hispanica are preferred for their greater drought tolerance.[12] It requires careful grazing management; if it is undergrazed it becomes coarse and unpalatable.

In some areas to which it has been introduced, cock's-foot has become an invasive weed, notably some areas of the eastern United States.[10]

As with other grasses, the pollen can cause allergic rhinitis (hay fever) in some people.

The grass is popularly grown to satisfy the craving of domestic cats to chew grass, hence its colloquial name cat grass.[13]

The seeds were first collected by Rogers Parker in Hertfordshire; this was then developed by the agricultural reformer Coke of Norfolk.[14] Parker's estate, Munden, near Bricket Wood, was inherited by the botanist George Hibbert.[15]
Butterfly foodplant

The caterpillars of many butterfly species feed on cock's foot, including:[16]

Meadow brown (Maniola jurtina)
Wall brown (Lasiommata megera)
Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus)
Large skipper (Ochlodes venata)
Essex skipper (Thymelicus lineola)
Small skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris)
Zabulon skipper (Poanes zabulon)
Speckled wood (Pararge aegeria)


Flora Europaea: Dactylis glomerata Archived 2011-07-24 at the Wayback Machine
Interactive Flora of NW Europe Dactylis glomerata (Cock's-foot)[permanent dead link]
Lu, Sheng-lian; Phillips, Sylvia M. "Dactylis". Flora of China. Vol. 22 – via, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
FAO factsheet: Dactylis glomerata
"Dactylis glomerata L.". Flora of Pakistan. Missouri Botanical Garden – via
"False Oat Grass Description". Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland (BSBI). Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
"Dactylis glomerata (cocksfoot)". Plants of Hawaii.
Hubbard, C. E. Grasses. Penguin. 1978.
Species Records of Dactylis, Dactylis glomerata. Germplasm Resources Information Network.
Míka, V., Kohoutek, A., & Odstrèilová, V. (2002). Characteristics of important diploid and tetraploid subspecies of Dactylis from point of view of the forage crop production. Archived 2011-07-18 at the Wayback Machine Rostlinná Výroba 48 (6): 243–248.
NSW Department of Primary Industries PrimeFacts: Cocksfoot
Victoria Nursery: Catgrass plant
Baxter (1830). The Library of Agricultural and Horticultural Knowledge: With an Appendix on Suspended Animation, Poisons, and the Principal Laws Relating to Farming and Rural Affairs. pp. 228–229, 523.
Hall; et al. Legacies of British Slave-Ownership: Colonial Slavery and the Formation of Victorian Britain. Cambridge University Press. p. 221.
Natural England: Cocksfoot - Dactylis glomerata Archived 2010-02-17 at the Wayback Machine

Plants of Cyprus

Plants, Fine Art Prints

Plants Images

Biology Encyclopedia

Retrieved from ""
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

Home - Hellenica World