Scientific Name: Elymus repens

Common Name: quackgrass

Other Common Names: couch grass, dog grass, quick grass, quitch, twitch, scutch

Synonyms: Agropyron repens, Elytrigia repens, Elytrigia vaillantiana, Triticum repens, Triticum vaillantianum

Leaves: Leaves are rolled in the bud and are approximately 1 1/2 to 12 inches long and usually 2 to 3 mm wide but may reach 12 mm in width. Leaves may or may not have hairs on the upper surfaces, but lower leaf surfaces are without hairs. Leaves have membranous ligules that are less than 1 mm long and also have narrow auricles that clasp the sheath.

Identifying Characteristics: A perennial grass weed from rhizomes that may reach 3 1/2 feet in height. A perennial grass weed with auricles that clasp the stem, rhizomes, and a long, narrow spike for a seedhead. The auricles of this weed helps to immediately distinguish it from most other grass weeds, however tall fescue (<a href='../../weedimg/71'>Festuca arundinacea</a>), Annual Ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum), and perennial ryegrass (<a href='../../weedimg/450'>Lolium perenne</a>) are similar grass weeds that also have auricles. However, none of these grass weeds have rhizomes like quackgrass.

Flower Seed Head: Seedhead a long, narrow spike consisting of many individual spikelets arranged in 2 rows along the stem. Spikes range from 2 to 8 inches in length while individual spikelets are approximately 11 to 18 mm long with awns.

Where Found: Quackgrass is a common weed of agronomic crops, turfgrass, lawns, nurseries, and landscapes that may be found in the northern United States from North Carolina to California.

  • Life cycle: perennial

  • Plant type: Grass

  • Auricle: present

  • Plant family: Poaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: rolled in bud

  • Hair surface: no hairs; hairs from base to tip; hairs on basal half only

  • Ligule: membrane

  • Length: less than 1 mm

  • Seed head: spike

  • Width: 6 to 15 mm; more than 15 mm; less than 5 mm

  • Grass stem: round