Revised October 2010

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Identifying Grass Seedlings

Orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata)

Perennial grasses

Description

Orchardgrass is a clump-forming forage grass without rhizomes or stolons. The stems and sheaths are distinctly flat and smooth. The plant is pale green with smooth, folded leaf blades that are 3–8 mm wide when flat. Auricles are absent, and the ligule is a prominent, round membrane but sometimes pointed.

Mature orchardgrassOrchardgrass forms clumps without rhizomes or stolons.
 

Collar region SeedheadCollar region; prominent ligule.
Right, seedhead.
 

Habitat

Orchardgrass may be found in a variety of disturbed sites. It is considered a forage species but may be undesirable in turfgrass because of its off-green color. Its seed is often found as a contaminant in turfgrass seed sold commercially. Orchardgrass is tolerant of partial shade.

Distribution

Orchardgrass is a native plant of Europe and has naturalized widely across North America. It is scattered throughout Missouri.

Similar species

Goosegrass also has folded leaf blades, but its ligule is much smaller than the large membranous ligule of orchardgrass.

IPM1024, revised October 2010

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IPM1024 Identifying Grass Seedlings | Page 29 | University of Missouri Extension