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Dactylis glomerata

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Poaceae (Grass)
Also in this family:
Alpine Catstail, Alpine Foxtail, Alpine Meadow-grass, Annual Beard-grass, Annual Meadow-grass, Arrow Bamboo, Barren Brome Grass, Bearded Couch Grass, Bearded Fescue, Bermuda Grass, Black Bent, Black Grass, Blue Fescue, Blue Moor-grass, Bog Hair-grass, Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass, Bread Wheat, Bristle Bent, Brown Bent, Brown Sedge, Bulbous Foxtail, Bulbous Meadow-grass, California Brome Grass, Canary Grass, Carnation Sedge, Cockspur, Common Bent, Common Cord-grass, Common Millet, Common Reed, Common Saltmarsh Grass, Compact Brome Grass, Corn, Couch Grass, Creeping Bent, Creeping Soft-grass, Crested Dog's-tail, Crested Hair-grass, Cultivated Oat, Curved Hard Grass, Cut Grass, Dense Silky Bent, Downy Oat-grass, Drooping Brome Grass, Drooping Tor Grass, Dune Fescue, Early Hair-grass, Early Meadow-grass, Early Sand-grass, False Brome Grass, False Oat-grass, Fern Grass, Fine-leaved Sheep's Fescue, Flattened Meadow-grass, Floating Sweet-grass, Foxtail Barley, French Oat, Giant Fescue, Glaucous Meadow-grass, Great Brome Grass, Greater Quaking Grass, Grey Hair-grass, Hairy Brome Grass, Hairy Finger-grass, Hard Fescue, Hard Grass, Harestail Grass, Heath Grass, Holy Grass, Hybrid Marram Grass, Italian Rye Grass, Knotroot Bristlegrass, Lesser Hairy Brome Grass, Lesser Quaking Grass, Loose Silky Bent, Lyme Grass, Marram Grass, Marsh Foxtail, Mat Grass, Mat-grass Fescue, Meadow Barley, Meadow Fescue, Meadow Foxtail, Meadow Oat-grass, Mountain Melick, Narrow-leaved Meadow-grass, Narrow-leaved Small-reed, Neglected Couch Grass, Nit Grass, Orange Foxtail, Pampas Grass, Perennial Rye Grass, Plicate Sweet-grass, Purple Moor-grass, Purple Small-reed, Purple-stem Catstail, Quaking Grass, Ratstail Fescue, Red Fescue, Reed Canary Grass, Reed Sweet-grass, Reflexed Saltmarsh Grass, Rescue Grass, Rough Meadow-grass, Rush-leaved Fescue, Sand Catstail, Sand Couch Grass, Scandinavian Small-reed, Scottish Small-reed, Sea Barley, Sea Couch Grass, Sea Fern Grass, Sheep's Fescue, Silver Hair-grass, Six-rowed Barley, Slender Brome Grass, Small Cord-grass, Small Sweet-grass, Smaller Catstail, Smooth Brome Grass, Smooth Cord-grass, Smooth Finger-grass, Smooth Meadow-grass, Soft Brome Grass, Somerset Hair-grass, Sorghum, Spreading Meadow-grass, Squirreltail Fescue, Stiff Brome Grass, Stiff Saltmarsh Grass, Sweet Vernal Grass, Tall Fescue, Timothy Grass, Tor Grass, Tufted Hair-grass, Two-rowed Barley, Upright Brome Grass, Velvet Bent, Viviparous Fescue, Wall Barley, Wavy Hair-grass, Wavy Meadow-grass, Whorl Grass, Wild Oat, Wood Barley, Wood Fescue, Wood Meadow-grass, Wood Melick, Wood Millet, Yellow Oat-grass, Yorkshire Fog
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
2 metres tall
Fields, grassland, meadows, woodland.

Green, no petals
Distinctive and easy to identify with its oval purplish flowerheads. Stalks long and round.
Narrow, pointed, oval, reddish-purple seeds. 1-sided, feather-like and up to 8mm long. The genus part of the Botanical name for this plant, Dactylis, is derived from the Greek word for 'finger' and it is referring to the shape of the seed heads. The name of the plant itself, Cocksfoot, is also referring to the shape of the seed heads.
The foliage is coarse and grows in compact tufts. It's dark blue-green linear leaf blades can reach a maximum of 1.5cm wide and can reach a length of up to 50cm.
Other Names:
Barnyard Grass, Cat Grass, Cockspur, Orchard Grass.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Dactylis glomerata, also known as orchard grass or cocksfoot, is a species of grass in the family Poaceae. It is native to Europe, but it has been introduced to many other parts of the world and is now found on every continent except Antarctica. Orchard grass is a perennial grass that grows in a variety of habitats, including pastures, meadows, and roadsides. It has long, narrow leaves and produces small, brown or purple flowers that are arranged in dense clusters. The plant is used as a forage crop for livestock and is also grown as an ornamental grass in landscaping.


Cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerata) is a species of grass native to Europe and Asia. This plant has been widely cultivated and naturalized in many other parts of the world and is now commonly found in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and South America. It is a valuable forage grass for livestock and wildlife and is used extensively in pastures, meadows, and hay fields.

Cocksfoot is a cool-season, perennial grass that grows best in moderate to high rainfall areas and fertile soils. The plant has a strong and persistent root system that enables it to withstand heavy grazing and recover well from cutting. The stems can grow up to 2 meters tall and have a slightly flattened appearance, with leaves that are typically 5-20 cm long and 2-4 cm wide. The leaves are dark green and have a rough texture, with a distinctive midrib that runs down the center of the blade.

The flowers of cocksfoot are produced in panicles (clusters) at the top of the stems and are highly prized by livestock and wildlife. The flowers are small, but they are arranged in dense clusters that are easy to access and provide a significant source of nutrition. In the wild, cocksfoot flowers from May to September, but in cultivation, it can flower at any time of the year depending on the climate.

Cocksfoot is a versatile and valuable grass that is widely used in agriculture. It is a preferred forage grass for livestock, including sheep, cattle, and horses, as it provides high-quality feed, especially when grown under favorable conditions. It is also a popular grass for hay production, as the stems and leaves dry well and have a high nutrient content. In addition, cocksfoot is used in erosion control and soil conservation programs, as it helps to stabilize the soil and reduce runoff.

Cocksfoot is a valuable forage grass that is widely cultivated and naturalized around the world. Its strong and persistent root system, nutritious flowers, and versatility make it an important species for livestock and wildlife, as well as for soil conservation and erosion control. If you are looking for a grass to add to your pastures, hay fields, or conservation program, consider cocksfoot as a valuable option.

Cocksfoot is a valuable grass species that is often used in pastures, hay fields, and wildlife habitats. It is also a popular choice for landscaping, as it is easy to establish, low maintenance, and has attractive foliage. Cocksfoot can be planted in a variety of soils, but it grows best in fertile, well-drained soils with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.5. The plant is also highly adaptable to different climatic conditions, making it a good choice for a wide range of locations.

In terms of management, cocksfoot is a relatively low-maintenance plant that requires minimal fertilization. However, it is important to monitor the plant for any signs of disease, as it can be susceptible to rust and other fungal diseases. To maintain healthy stands, it is recommended to avoid overgrazing and to provide adequate drainage.

Another benefit of cocksfoot is that it is a drought-tolerant species, which makes it a good option for areas with low rainfall. The plant has deep roots that allow it to access moisture and nutrients from the subsoil, even during periods of drought. This makes it a valuable species for farmers and ranchers who want to maintain a healthy and productive pasture, even in dry conditions.

In terms of wildlife, cocksfoot is a popular plant for many species, including deer, elk, rabbits, and birds. The flowers are highly prized by pollinators, including bees and butterflies, and the seeds are a valuable food source for birds and small mammals. Cocksfoot also provides cover and habitat for wildlife, making it a valuable species for wildlife conservation programs.

Cocksfoot is a versatile and valuable grass species that has many benefits for livestock, wildlife, and the environment. It is easy to establish, low-maintenance, drought-tolerant, and provides a valuable source of forage and habitat for a wide range of species. If you are looking for a grass species to include in your pastures, hay fields, or wildlife habitat, consider cocksfoot as a valuable option.

Cocksfoot is a highly valued grass species that has many uses in agriculture, horticulture, and wildlife management. One of the key benefits of cocksfoot is its ability to grow in a wide range of soils and climatic conditions. This makes it a popular choice for farmers, ranchers, and land managers who want a low-maintenance, versatile grass species that can provide a valuable source of forage and habitat.

In terms of livestock production, cocksfoot is a highly nutritious species that provides high-quality feed for sheep, cattle, and horses. The leaves and stems of cocksfoot are high in protein and energy, and the flowers are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. This makes cocksfoot a valuable species for farmers and ranchers who want to maintain healthy, productive livestock.

Cocksfoot is also a valuable species for wildlife management and conservation. The plant provides important habitat and cover for a wide range of species, including birds, mammals, and insects. The flowers are a valuable food source for pollinators, including bees and butterflies, and the seeds are a valuable food source for birds and small mammals. This makes cocksfoot a valuable species for wildlife habitat programs and conservation initiatives.

In terms of horticulture, cocksfoot is often used as an ornamental grass in landscaping and gardening. The plant has attractive, dark green leaves and tall stems that can reach up to 2 meters in height. The flowers are small and produced in dense clusters, and the plant has a low-maintenance, persistent root system. This makes cocksfoot a valuable species for landscaping and gardening projects.

In conclusion, cocksfoot is a versatile and valuable grass species that has many benefits for agriculture, horticulture, and wildlife management. Whether you are a farmer, rancher, land manager, or landscaper, cocksfoot is a species worth considering for its many benefits and uses.


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Distribution Map

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