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Neglected Couch Grass

Elytrigia campestris

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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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, Cocksfoot, 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, 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:
150 centimetres tall
Grassland, meadows, sand dunes, seaside.

Green, no petals
The spikelets have 3 to 8 florets arranged alternately along both sides of the stem. Each floret is up to 2cm in length.
The fruit is a caryopsis; a type of dry, one-seeded fruit.
Glaucous, green, flat, inrolled leaf blades.
Other Names:
Field Elytrigia, Field Wheatgrass.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Elytrigia campestris, also known as field elytrigia or field wheatgrass, is a species of grass in the genus Elytrigia. It is native to Europe, Asia and North America and is commonly found in grasslands, meadows, and other open habitats. It is a perennial grass that forms dense clumps and can grow to a height of up to 1-1.5 meters tall. It has narrow leaves, and the plant produces spikes of small, greenish-brown flowers in the summer.

Elytrigia campestris is an important forage grass for livestock, with high nutritional value. It can also provide food for wildlife and it's well adapted to a wide range of soil and climatic conditions. It is also used for erosion control and soil conservation, and it is often found in association with other grass species in meadows, prairies, and other grassland ecosystems. It is not considered invasive, however, it can become a weed in some regions, especially in agricultural fields and should be managed accordingly.


Neglected couch grass, also known as Elytrigia campestris, is a perennial grass species that is native to Europe and Asia. It is an aggressive plant that can quickly dominate a lawn, garden, or other areas of land. The plant is commonly found in disturbed soils, such as those found in pastures, meadows, roadsides, and waste places. Neglected couch grass can be challenging to control, and it is considered a weed in many regions.

Appearance and Growth Habits

Neglected couch grass is a tough, resilient plant that can grow up to five feet tall. Its leaves are long, narrow, and sharply pointed, with a glossy green color. The plant produces underground stems, or rhizomes, that allow it to spread quickly and form dense clumps. These rhizomes can grow up to several meters in length and are tough and wiry.

The plant also produces seed heads that can reach up to two feet in height. The seed heads are cylindrical and covered in small, spike-like structures. The seeds are dispersed by wind and can germinate quickly in favorable conditions.

Control and Management

Neglected couch grass is a difficult plant to control once it has become established. The plant's underground rhizomes make it resilient to mowing, and the plant can quickly re-grow from any remaining rhizomes. It can also tolerate a range of soil conditions, including drought, heat, and cold.

One of the most effective methods of controlling neglected couch grass is to prevent it from becoming established in the first place. This can be achieved by planting a dense cover crop or other vegetation that will compete with the grass and prevent it from taking hold. If neglected couch grass has already become established, then a combination of methods may be required.

Physical removal of the plant is one option, but this must be done thoroughly to ensure that all of the underground rhizomes are removed. Chemical control is another option, but it must be done carefully to avoid damage to other plants or the environment. A professional landscaper or pest control expert can provide advice on the best methods for controlling neglected couch grass in a particular situation.

Benefits and Uses

Despite its status as a weed, neglected couch grass does have some benefits and uses. The plant's rhizomes can be used to stabilize soil and prevent erosion. It can also be used as a forage crop for livestock, as it is highly nutritious and palatable. Additionally, the plant has been used in traditional medicine to treat a range of ailments, including respiratory conditions, digestive problems, and skin irritations.

More Information

Neglected couch grass is a challenging plant to control, and it can quickly become a problem in lawns, gardens, and other areas of land. However, with the right methods and techniques, it is possible to manage and control this invasive species. By preventing the plant from becoming established and using a combination of physical and chemical control methods, it is possible to keep neglected couch grass in check and prevent it from causing further damage to the environment.

Neglected couch grass is a common weed in many regions of the world, and it can be particularly problematic in areas where land has been disturbed or damaged. In addition to its invasive nature, the plant can also have negative effects on other plants and wildlife in the area. For example, neglected couch grass can outcompete other plant species for resources, reducing biodiversity and altering the composition of ecosystems. It can also provide a habitat for pests and disease-carrying organisms, which can further harm other plants and animals.

It's worth noting that neglected couch grass can be confused with other species, such as quackgrass or wheatgrass. These species are similar in appearance and growth habits, and they can also be challenging to control. However, it's important to correctly identify the plant species in question before attempting to control or manage it, as different species may require different management techniques.

In terms of management and control, prevention is often the best strategy. This can involve practices such as planting native vegetation, maintaining healthy soil, and avoiding disturbing land unnecessarily. In cases where neglected couch grass has already become established, a combination of physical and chemical control methods may be required. Physical removal, such as digging or pulling the plant by hand, can be effective if done thoroughly and regularly. Chemical control can also be effective, but it must be done carefully to avoid damaging other plants or the environment.

Neglected couch grass is a problematic weed that can be challenging to control. However, with the right techniques and strategies, it is possible to manage and control this invasive species. By taking a preventative approach, identifying the plant species correctly, and using a combination of physical and chemical control methods, it is possible to keep neglected couch grass in check and prevent it from causing further harm to the environment.

While neglected couch grass is often considered a weed, it does have some benefits and uses. For example, the plant's rhizomes can be used to stabilize soil and prevent erosion, making it useful in reclamation projects or in areas where land has been damaged by erosion or other disturbances. Additionally, neglected couch grass can be used as a forage crop for livestock, as it is highly nutritious and palatable.

The plant has also been used in traditional medicine to treat a range of ailments. For example, the roots and rhizomes have been used to treat respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis, as well as digestive problems such as diarrhea and constipation. The plant has also been used topically to treat skin irritations and wounds.

While neglected couch grass may have some benefits and uses, it's important to keep in mind its invasive nature and potential negative impacts on the environment. In areas where neglected couch grass is present, it's important to carefully manage and control the plant to prevent it from causing harm to other plants and wildlife. By using a combination of preventative measures, physical removal, and chemical control, it is possible to keep neglected couch grass in check and prevent it from becoming a major problem.

In addition to its ecological and medicinal aspects, neglected couch grass also has cultural and historical significance. The plant has been used for thousands of years by various indigenous communities across the world. For example, in traditional Chinese medicine, the rhizomes of neglected couch grass are used to treat coughs, diarrhea, and other ailments.

In Native American cultures, neglected couch grass was used for a variety of purposes, including as a food source, for medicine, and for making baskets and other woven items. The plant was also used ceremonially, and its roots and rhizomes were believed to have spiritual and healing properties.

Today, neglected couch grass continues to be used in various ways by different cultures and communities. However, as with any plant species, it's important to use it responsibly and in a way that does not harm the environment or other living beings.

Overall, neglected couch grass is a complex plant species with both positive and negative aspects. While it can be a problematic weed in some areas, it also has ecological, medicinal, cultural, and historical significance. By understanding the plant's characteristics and potential impacts, we can work towards managing and controlling neglected couch grass in a way that is sustainable and beneficial for all.