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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Derivation of specific name

glomerata: clustered
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© Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten and Petra Ballings

Source: Flora of Zimbabwe

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Alternative names

Cocksfoot

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USDA NRCS Pullman Plant Materials Center, Rose Lake Plant Materials Center, Idaho State Office & Aberdeen Plant Materials Center; USDA ARS Forage & Range Laboratory

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Orchard Grass develops early and becomes tall; it usually blooms by early summer. At this time of year, it can be identified by the stiff lower branches of its panicles; each of these lower branches forms an angle of 90° or less with the central rachis of the inflorescence. Furthermore, branches of its panicles have dense clusters of spikelets toward their tips, otherwise they are naked. Both the glumes and lemmas are rather long (5-8 mm.) and they are usually ciliate along their keels. The foliage of Orchard Grass is hairless and its ligules have long papery membranes that are often shredded. These various characteristics are especially useful in identifying this grass correctly. Orchard Grass is the only species of its genus in Illinois.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Description

This perennial grass is 3-6' tall at maturity. Infertile shoots produce low dense tufts of leaves, while fertile shoots produce tall culms with alternate leaves. Each culm terminates in an inflorescence on a long naked stalk. The culms are light green, terete, and glabrous; later they become straw-colored (stramineous). The leaves of both fertile and infertile shoots have a similar appearance. Their blades are up to 10" long and 1/3" (8 mm.) across; they are green and hairless. The leaf blades of infertile shoots spread outward and remain low, while the blades of alternate leaves on fertile shoots are more arching. The leaf sheaths are light green, hairless, and open toward their apices; they have longitudinal veins. The ligules have long papery membranes (up to 10 mm. in length) that become more or less shredded with age. The inflorescence consists of a panicle of spikelets; the branching pattern of this panicle tends to occur along a 2-dimensional plane. The panicle is up to 10" long and 5" across, consisting of an erect rachis and short lateral branches (only 1 lateral branch per node); the latter are stiff, straight, spreading to nearly erect, and few in number. Lateral branches have dense tufts of spikelets toward their tips, otherwise they are naked. The rachis also terminates in dense tufts of spikelets. Each spikelet consists of a dense tuft of 3-7 lemmas and their perfect florets; there is a pair of sterile glumes at the bottom. The spikelets are whitish green while their florets are blooming, but they later become light tan to brown. The glumes are linear-lanceolate, keeled, and unequal in size; the shorter glume of a pair is about 4-5 mm. in length, while the longer glume is about 5-6 mm. in length. The lemmas are linear-lanceolate and ciliate along their keels; they are about 5-8 mm. in length. In each spikelet, the upper lemmas tend to be shorter than the lower lemmas. Each floret has a pair of white plumose stigmata and 3 stamens with large white anthers. The blooming period occurs from late spring to mid-summer, lasting about 1-2 weeks for a colony of plants. The florets are cross-pollinated by the wind. Individual grains are about 2.5-3.0 mm. long and 1.0 mm. across; they are narrowly ellipsoid-lanceoloid, concave along one side, and light tan. The root system consists of short rhizomes and fibrous roots. Cultivation
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Description

Dactylis glomerata, orchardgrass, is a long-lived, introduced, cool season bunchgrass. Under dryland conditions, it usually develops distinct clumps and flower culms 15 to 18 inches tall. Leaves usually stand less than 12 inches in height. When grown under irrigation or in moist-fertile situations, it attains a much larger stature and grows in a more closed stand. Orchardgrass is one of the earliest species to initiate growth in the spring and makes tremendous growth during cool conditions. Due to deep roots (most within 2 feet of the surface) it is also capable of strong summer growth when conditions are favorable (i.e. somewhat cool). Under extremely hot conditions, orchardgrass will have a bigger production slump than meadow brome. Orchardgrass has 540,000 seeds per pound.

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USDA NRCS Pullman Plant Materials Center, Rose Lake Plant Materials Center, Idaho State Office & Aberdeen Plant Materials Center; USDA ARS Forage & Range Laboratory

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

This common grass occurs in every county of Illinois (see Distribution Map). It was introduced from Europe as a source of hay and pasturage. Habitats include savannas, woodland borders, thickets, disturbed meadows in wooded areas, powerline clearances in wooded areas, fence rows, old fields and pastures, orchards, and miscellaneous waste areas. Areas with a history of disturbance are preferred. Faunal Associations
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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© NatureServe

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Occurrence in North America

     AZ  AR  CA  CO  CT  DE  GA  HI  ID  IL
     IN  IA  KS  KY  ME  MD  MA  MI  MN  MO
     MT  NE  NV  NH  NJ  NM  NY  NC  ND  OH
     OK  OR  PA  RI  SC  SD  TN  TX  UT  VT
     VA  WA  WV  WI  WY  AB  BC  NF  NS  ON
     PQ

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Regional Distribution in the Western United States

More info on this topic.

This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

    1  Northern Pacific Border
    2  Cascade Mountains
    4  Sierra Mountains
    5  Columbia Plateau
    6  Upper Basin and Range
    7  Lower Basin and Range
    8  Northern Rocky Mountains
    9  Middle Rocky Mountains
   10  Wyoming Basin
   11  Southern Rocky Mountains
   12  Colorado Plateau
   13  Rocky Mountain Piedmont
   14  Great Plains
   15  Black Hills Uplift
   16  Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands

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Distribution in Egypt

Nile and Mediterranean regions.

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Source: Bibliotheca Alexandrina - EOL Ar

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Global Distribution

Europe, temperate Asia, widely introduced as a fodder grass in temperate countries throughout the world.

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Gansu, Guizhou, Hubei, Ningxia, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, Xinjiang, Xizang, Yunnan, Zhejiang; cultivated in Hebei, Henan, Jiangsu, Shandong [Bhutan, N India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkestan, Uzbekistan; N Africa, SW Asia, Europe].
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Distribution: Pakistan (Punjab, N.W.F.P., Gilgit & Kashmir); temperate Europe and Asia; introduced into most temperate countries.
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Originally distributed in Europe, North Africa and temperate Asia.
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Europe, N. Africa, temperate Asia.
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Orchardgrass was introduced to the eastern United States from Europe in
1760.  It is widely planted in the United States and Canada, and is
found from Nova Scotia south to the Carolinas, west to central
California, and north to coastal British Columbia [21,67].
 
  • 21.  Fernald, Merritt Lyndon. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. [Corrections        supplied by R. C. Rollins]
  • 67.  Stubbendieck, J.; Hatch, Stephan L.; Hirsch, Kathie J. 1986. North        American range plants. 3rd ed. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska        Press. 465 p.  [2270]

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Adaptation

Orchardgrass is found from Maine to the Gulf Coast states and from the Atlantic Coast to the Pacific Coast. It is common throughout the Appalachian Mountains and is especially well adapted to Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee. It is also found in the high-rainfall regions of the western mountains and in irrigated areas throughout the West. Areas of greatest adaptability in the West are soils that had supported the sagebrush, grass, pinyon-juniper, ponderosa pine, aspen and Douglas fir communities.

Orchardgrass is winter hardy and is adapted to moderate to well-drained basic to acidic soils. It will not tolerate soils that are saturated for extended periods of time. It produces best in areas with very little frost in the spring. Spring frost will not kill orchardgrass, but it does reduce overall production. In areas with significant spring frost such as mountain valleys, meadow brome is a better species selection.

Orchardgrass performs well on soil textures ranging from clay to gravely loams and on shallow to deep soils. It does not grow well in saline soils and areas with high water tables within the rooting zone. It has the ability to establish and persist in areas that receive as little as 16 inches of annual precipitation, but performs best with 18 inches of rainfall.

Orchardgrass performs best in a pH range of 5.8 – 7.5, but will tolerate pH as high as 8.5. It is adapted to shady areas or areas with reduced light.

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USDA NRCS Pullman Plant Materials Center, Rose Lake Plant Materials Center, Idaho State Office & Aberdeen Plant Materials Center; USDA ARS Forage & Range Laboratory

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Perennials, Aquatic, leaves emergent, Terrestrial, not aquatic, Rhizomes present, Rhizome short and compact, stems close, Stolons or runners present, Stems nodes swollen or brittle, Stems erect or ascending, Stems geniculate, decumbent, or lax, sometimes rooting at nodes, Stems caespitose, tufted, or clustered, Stems terete, round in cross section, or polygonal, Stems compressed, flattened, or sulcate, Stem internodes hollow, Stems with inflorescence less than 1 m tall, Stems with inflorescence 1-2 m tall, Stems, culms, or scapes exceeding basal leaves, Leaves mostly cauline, Leaves conspicuously 2-ranked, distichous, Leaves sheathing at base, Leaf sheath mostly closed, Leaf sheath smooth, glabrous, Leaf sheath or blade keeled, Leaf sheath and blade differentiated, Leaf blades linear, Leaf blades 2-10 mm wide, Leaf blades 1-2 cm wide, Leaf blades mostly flat, Leaf blades mostly glabrous, Leaf blades scabrous, roughened, or wrinkled, Ligule present, Ligule an unfringed eciliate membrane, Inflorescence terminal, Inflorescence an open panicle, openly paniculate, branches spreading, Inflor escence a contracted panicle, narrowly paniculate, branches appressed or ascending, Inflorescence solitary, with 1 spike, fascicle, glomerule, head, or cluster per stem or culm, Inflorescence densely corymbose, paniculate, or capitate, rays reduced or absent, Inflorescence lax, widely spreading, branches drooping, pendulous, Inflorescence with 2-10 branches, Inflorescence branches 1-sided, Flowers bisexual, Spikelets pedicellate, Spikelets laterally compressed, Spikelet less than 3 mm wide, Spikelets with 2 florets, Spikelets with 3-7 florets, Spikelets all alike and fertille, Spikelets bisexual, Spikelets disarticulating above the glumes, glumes persistent, Spikelets disarticulating beneath or between the florets, Spikelets in dense head-like clusters, Spikelets secund, in rows on one side of rachis, Rachilla or pedicel glabrous, Glumes present, empty bracts, Glumes 2 clearly present, Glumes distinctly unequal, Glumes equal to or longer than adjacent lemma, Glume equal to or longer than spikelet, Glumes awned, awn 1-5 mm or longer, Glumes keeled or winged, Glumes 1 nerved, Glumes 3 nerved, Lemma coriaceous, firmer or thicker in texture than the glumes, Lemma 5-7 nerved, Lemma glabrous, Lemma body or surface hairy, Lemma apex acute or acuminate, Lemma mucronate, very shortly beaked or awned, less than 1-2 mm, Lemma with 1 awn, Lemma awn less than 1 cm long, Lemma awned from tip, Lemma awn subapical or dorsal, Lemma awns straight or curved to base, Lemma margins thin, lying flat, Lemma straight, Palea present, well developed, Palea membranous, hyaline, Palea longer than lemma, Palea 2 nerved or 2 keeled, Stamens 3, Styles 2-fid, deeply 2-branched, Stigmas 2, Fruit - caryopsis.
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Dr. David Bogler

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Description

Coarsely tufted perennial; culms 15-100 (-200) cm high, erect or spreading, slender to stout, the vegetative shoots strongly compressed. Leaf-blades 10-45 cm long, 2-14 mm wide, folded at first, glabrous; sheaths strongly compressed and keeled; ligule 2-10 mm long, acute or lacerate. Panicle oblong to ovate, 2-30 cm long, the branches close together and spike-like or usually with the lower distant and bare at the base. Spikelets oblong or wedge-shaped, 5-9 mm long; glumes lanceolate to ovate, ciliate on the keel, finely pointed; lemma lanceolate to oblong in side view, 4-7 mm long, the keel ciliate or rough, tipped with a rigid awn up to 1.5 mm long.
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Description

Perennial, coarse. Culms solitary or tufted, erect or geniculate at base, 40–140 cm tall. Leaf sheaths strongly keeled; leaf blades flat, (6–)10–30 cm × 4–9 mm, abaxial surface scabrid along midrib and margin; ligule 4–8 mm. Panicle oblong to ovate in outline, 5–15 cm; branches single or rarely paired at base, (3–)5–15 cm, horizontal or ascending, lower part naked, upper part with dense fascicles of spikelets. Spikelets oblong to wedge-shaped, 5–9 mm, florets closely overlapping, green or purplish; glumes 4–5(–6.5) mm, scabrid or ciliolate along keel, margins membranous, apex acute to acuminate; lemmas 4–7 mm, lowest subequal to spikelet, scabrid or flanks short-pilose, apex with stout awn up to 1.5 mm. Anthers ca. 2.5 mm. Fl. and fr. May–Aug. 2n = 14, 28, 42.
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Description

Densely tufted perennial, with short rhizome. Culm up to 1 m tall, 3 mm in diameter. Blade 20 cm long, 5 mm wide, minutely hispid on nerves; ligule 5 mm long, truncate, membranous. Panicle loose, up to 9 cm long, branches single, rarely binate; Spikelet 2-4-flowered, 7 mm long; glumes lanceolate, weakly 2-3-nerved, hairy on lateral nerves; the lower chartaceous, 4 mm long; the upper subcoriaceous, 5 mm long; lemma lanceolate, 5.5 mm long, chartaceous, 5-nerved, with a short awn at the apex, hairy on back and margins; palea chartaceous, narrowly lanceolate, 2-keeled, minutely ciliate on keels, margins folded and overlapping; anther 2 mm long.
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Elevation Range

3200-3700 m
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Description

More info for the term: cool-season

Orchardgrass is a cool-season, perennial bunchgrass, 1.4 to 4 feet
(0.5-1.2 m ) tall with erect, glabrous culms and blades 4 to 16 inches
(10-40 cm) long and 0.1 to 0.5 inch (0.2-1.1 cm) wide.  The
inflorescence is a panicle with two to six florets per spikelet, with
the spikelets tightly clustered on one side of the branch.  Orchardgrass
is nonrhizomatous [21].  Most root development is in the upper 3 inches
(8 cm) of soil but extends to at least 18 inches (46 cm) below the
surface [23], producing a dense sod of medium-sized roots [26].
  • 21.  Fernald, Merritt Lyndon. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. [Corrections        supplied by R. C. Rollins]
  • 23.  Gist, George R.; Smith, R. M. 1948. Root development of several common        forage grasses to a depth of eighteen inches. Journal of the American        Society of Agronomy. 40: 1036-1042.  [8138]
  • 26.  Hafenrichter, A. L.; Schwendiman, John L.; Harris, Harold L.; [and        others]

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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Dactylis altaica Besser; D. glomerata subsp. altaica (Besser) Domin; D. glomerata var. altaica (Besser) Keng; D. glom-erata subsp. sinensis A. Camus; D. glomerata subsp. himalay-ensis Domin.
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Type Information

Type fragment for Dactylis hispanica var. maritima Hack.
Catalog Number: US 865638A
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): J. A. Henriques
Year Collected: 1879
Locality: Sables maritimes. [maritime sands?], Buarcos, Portugal, Europe
  • Type fragment: Hackel, E. 1880. Cat. Gram. Portugal. 23.
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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

This common grass occurs in every county of Illinois (see Distribution Map). It was introduced from Europe as a source of hay and pasturage. Habitats include savannas, woodland borders, thickets, disturbed meadows in wooded areas, powerline clearances in wooded areas, fence rows, old fields and pastures, orchards, and miscellaneous waste areas. Areas with a history of disturbance are preferred. Faunal Associations
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the terms: codominant, forbs, shrub

An introduced species, orchardgrass is not generally used for habitat
typing.  However, Sugihara and others [68] have described an Oregon
white oak (Quercus garryana)/orchardgrass vegetation type in Redwood
National Park, California.  This vegetation type occurs exclusively as
closed canopy stands, and is predominant on lower slopes.  A mixture of
tall perennial grasses and perennial forbs codominates the understory
with orchardgrass.  The shrub layer is sparse.  Other important
associates in this type include yerba buena (Satureja douglasii),
mountain sweetroot (Osmorhiza chilensis), California strawberry
(Fragaria californica), western sanicle (Sanicula crassicaulis),
American vetch (Vicia americana), and climbing bedstraw (Galium
nuttallii).  California honeysuckle (Lonicera hispidula) and rigid
betony (Stachys rigida) are common characteristic species [68].

Smith [64] has described an Oregon white oak/poison oak (Rhus
diversiloba)/orchardgrass vegetation type as an even-aged woodland with
three well-developed strata.  Oregon white oak and California black oak
(Quercus kellogii) are the dominant overstory trees; poison oak and wild
rose (Rosa spp.) are the dominant midstory or shrub-layer; and
orchardgrass and hedgehog dogtail (Cynosurus echinatus) are codominant
grasses [64].

Orchardgrass is listed as a dominant or codominant understory plant in
the following publications:

Plant associations within the Interior Valleys of the Umpqua River
  Basin, Oregon [64]. 
The principal plant associations of the Saint Lawrence Valley [74].
Vegetation of the Bald Hill oak woodlands, Redwood National Park,
  California [68].
  • 64.  Smith, Winston Paul. 1985. Plant associations within the interior        valleys of the Umpqua River Basin, Oregon. Journal of Range Management.        38(6): 526-530.  [2179]
  • 68.  Sugihara, Neil G.; Reed, Lois J.; Lenihan, James M. 1987. Vegetation of        the Bald Hills oak woodlands, Redwood National Park, California.        Madrono. 34(3): 193-208.  [3788]
  • 74.  Dansereau, Pierre. 1959. The principal plant associations of the Saint        Lawrence Valley. No. 75. Montreal, Canada: Contrib. Inst. Bot. Univ.        Montreal. 147 p.  [8925]

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Habitat: Ecosystem

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

   FRES11  Spruce - fir
   FRES19  Aspen - birch
   FRES20  Douglas-fir
   FRES21  Ponderosa pine
   FRES26  Lodgepole pine
   FRES29  Sagebrush
   FRES34  Chaparral - mountain shrub
   FRES36  Mountain grasslands
   FRES37  Mountain meadows
   FRES38  Plains grasslands
   FRES39  Prairie
   FRES40  Desert grasslands
   FRES41  Wet grasslands

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Habitat characteristics

Orchardgrass is best adapted to well-drained, rich or moderately fertile
soils with an adequate water regime (12 inches or more annual
precipitation [30 cm]) [24,28,62,71] and temperatures that are not
extreme [4,28].  Optimum top growth is achieved at temperatures of
approximately 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 deg C) [72].  Orchardgrass is
shade tolerant and does well at higher elevations in the western United
States and Canada (4,900 to 6,200 feet [1,500-1,900,m]) [28].  It is
widely planted in the eastern United States, most notably in
Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia [13].
  • 4.  Baker, Barton S.; Jung, G. A. 1968. Effect of environmental conditions        on the growth of four perennial grasses. I. Response to controlled        temperature. Agronomy Journal. 60: 155-158.  [202]
  • 13.  Crawford, Hewlette S.; Kucera, Clair L.; Ehrenreich, John H. 1969. Ozark        range and wildlife plants. Agric. Handb. 356. Washington, DC: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 236 p.  [18602]
  • 24.  Grime, J. P. 1979. Plant strategies & vegetation proceses. Chichester,        England: John Wiley & Sons. 222 p.  [2896]
  • 28.  Hardy BBT Limited. 1989. Manual of plant species suitability for        reclamation in Alberta. 2d ed. Report No. RRTAC 89-4. Edmonton, AB:        Alberta Land Conservation and Reclamation Council. 436 p.  [15460]
  • 62.  Shaw, A. F.; Cooper, C. S. 1973. The Interagency forage, conservation        and wildlife handbook. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University, Extension        Service. 205 p.  [5666]
  • 71.  U.S. Department of Agriculture. 1948. Grass: The yearbook of agriculture        1948. Washington, DC. 892 p.  [2391]
  • 72.  Washko, J. B.; Jung, G. A.; Decker, A. M.; [and others]

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Rocky ground; introduced in areas of cultivation.

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Mountain slopes, light forest shade, other grassy places; 1400–3600 m.
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Dispersal

Establishment

A clean, firm, weed-free seedbed is recommended. Dryland and erosion control seedings should be made in the late fall or very early spring. Irrigated seedings should be made in early to mid spring. Do not seed after the spring moisture period is well advanced or a failure may occur because of dry seedbed conditions and hot summer temperatures before the grass is well established. A deep furrow or double disc drill with press wheels may be used, however, orchardgrass is easily established with common agricultural drills. The recommended seeding rate for orchardgrass is 4 pounds pure live seed (PLS) per acre. If broadcast seeded or planted for critical area treatment, double the seeding rate. Adjustments in seeding rate should be made when seeding in mixtures. Seeding depth should be 1/4 to 1/2 inch.

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USDA NRCS Pullman Plant Materials Center, Rose Lake Plant Materials Center, Idaho State Office & Aberdeen Plant Materials Center; USDA ARS Forage & Range Laboratory

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Associations

Foodplant / spot causer
colony of Mastigosporium anamorph of Mastigosporium muticum causes spots on live leaf of Dactylis polygama

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Foodplant / miner
larva of Agromyza cinerascens mines leaf of Dactylis glomerata
Other: major host/prey

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / saprobe
colony of Arthrinium dematiaceous anamorph of Apiospora montagnei is saprobic on dead leaf of Dactylis glomerata

Plant / resting place / on
male of Aptinothrips stylifer may be found on live Dactylis glomerata
Remarks: season: 6-9
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / spot causer
immersed pycnidium of Ascochyta coelomycetous anamorph of Ascochyta gracilispora causes spots on live leaf of Dactylis glomerata
Remarks: season: 2-5

Foodplant / saprobe
1-3 in rows, black, subepidermal pycnidium of Diplodina coelomycetous anamorph of Ascochyta graminea is saprobic on culm of Dactylis glomerata
Remarks: season: 9-12

Foodplant / parasite
Blumeria graminis parasitises live Dactylis glomerata

Plant / resting place / on
puparium of Cerodontha flavocingulata may be found on leaf of Dactylis glomerata
Other: major host/prey

Plant / resting place / within
puparium of Cerodontha pygmaea may be found in leaf-mine of Dactylis glomerata
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / pathogen
Cladochytrium caespitis infects and damages rotten root of Dactylis glomerata

Foodplant / gall
stroma of Epichlo causes gall of stem of Dactylis glomerata
Remarks: season: fertile in 8

Foodplant / pathogen
colony of Fusarium anamorph of Fusarium poae infects and damages ear of Dactylis glomerata

Plant / associate
fruitbody of Gymnopilus flavus is associated with Dactylis glomerata
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
superficial stroma of Hypocrea spinulosa is saprobic on decaying stem of Dactylis glomerata
Remarks: season: 8-11

Foodplant / saprobe
scattered, subiculate, immersed becoming superficial perithecium of Lasiosphaeria dactylina is saprobic on culm of Dactylis glomerata
Remarks: season: 4-8

Foodplant / saprobe
Alternaria dematiaceous anamorph of Lewia infectoria is saprobic on dead, fungus infected leaf of Dactylis glomerata

Foodplant / parasite
fruitbody of Limonomyces culmigenus parasitises live Dactylis glomerata
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / spot causer
colony of Mastigosporium anamorph of Mastigosporium muticum causes spots on live leaf of Dactylis glomerata
Remarks: season: 9-10

Foodplant / spot causer
colony of Mastigosporium anamorph of Mastigosporium rubricosum causes spots on live leaf of Dactylis glomerata

Foodplant / saprobe
colony of Cercosporidium dematiaceous anamorph of Mycosphaerella recutita is saprobic on dead sheath of Dactylis glomerata

Plant / associate
adult of Oulema erichsoni is associated with Dactylis glomerata
Remarks: season: 5-7

Foodplant / parasite
telium of Puccinia graminis f.sp. avenae parasitises live sheath of Dactylis glomerata

Foodplant / sap sucker
Rhopalus parumpunctatus sucks sap of seed of Dactylis glomerata

Foodplant / saprobe
numerous, in lines, immersed pycnidium of Stagonospora coelomycetous anamorph of Stagonospora subseriata is saprobic on dead, dry leaf of Dactylis glomerata

Foodplant / open feeder
nocturnal larva of Tenthredo maculata grazes on leaf of Dactylis glomerata

Foodplant / open feeder
nocturnal larva of Tenthredopsis litterata grazes on leaf of Dactylis glomerata
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / open feeder
nocturnal larva of Tenthredopsis nassata grazes on leaf of Dactylis glomerata
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Typhula incarnata is saprobic on dying stem of Dactylis glomerata

Foodplant / parasite
mainly hypophyllous telium of Uromyces dactylidis parasitises live leaf of Dactylis glomerata

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Known predators

Dactylis glomerata is prey of:
Pogonomyrmex
Tetramesa longula

Based on studies in:
USA: California, Cabrillo Point (Grassland)
Great Britain (Grassland)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • L. D. Harris and L. Paur, A quantitative food web analysis of a shortgrass community, Technical Report No. 154, Grassland Biome. U.S. International Biological Program (1972), from p. 17.
  • Martinez, N.D., Hawkins, B.A., Dawah, H.A. & Feifarek, B.P. (1999). Effects of sampling effort on characterization of foodweb structure. Ecology, 80, 1044–1055.
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© SPIRE project

Source: SPIRE

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General Ecology

Fire Management Implications

More info for the term: severity

The fall burn was hotter and faster moving than the spring burn, and
apparently caused more damage to orchardgrass plants than did the spring
burn.  But even the greater severity of the fall burn did not result in
a complete removal of orchardgrass.  As is true of most perennial grass
species, orchardgrass is well adapted to recover after even severe
fires, although recovery is slower after severe burns or hot fires.  If
the management objective is to increase orchardgrass specifically (as
this study was not intended), then a less severe treatment, such as the
spring burn, would be recommended.

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Season/Severity Classification

Spring- moderate severity
Fall -extreme severity

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Fire Management Considerations

More info for the terms: fire intensity, frequency, shrub, tree

Orchardgrass is frequently seeded onto areas disturbed by fire to
control soil erosion.  Concern has been raised that the increase of
grass species in the area, especially summer-dormant grasses such as
orchardgrass, could increase the risk of fast-spreading, low-intensity
fires that could set back the rate of tree and shrub regeneration.  The
application of seed to reduce erosion is, therefore, not always
beneficial [12,31].

Orchardgrass mixtures are recommended in the conversion of chaparral to
grassland to reduce fire intensity and frequency [6].
  • 6.  Bentley, Jay R. 1967. Conversion of chaparral areas to grassland:        techniques used in California. Agric. Handb. 328. Washington, DC: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 35 p.  [195]
  • 12.  Crane, M. F.; Habeck, James R.; Fischer, William C. 1983. Early postfire        revegetation in a western Montana Douglas-fir forest. Res. Pap. INT-319.        Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain        Forest and Range Experiment Station. 29 p. plus chart.  [710]
  • 31.  Helvey, J. D.; Fowler, W. B. 1979. Grass seeding and soil erosion in a        steep, logged area in northeastern Oregon. PNW-343. Portland, OR: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and        Range Experiment Station. 11 p.  [7253]

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Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the terms: caudex, ground residual colonizer, secondary colonizer, tussock

   Tussock graminoid
   Caudex, growing points in soil
   Ground residual colonizer (onsite, initial community)
   Secondary colonizer - offsite seed

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: competition

Facultative Seral Species

Orchardgrass is shade tolerant.  It is often seeded on disturbed areas
and is naturalized to fields, meadows, and waste places [67].  It is
long-lived but susceptible to replacement by native species, especially
in drier areas, and does not usually persist past 1 or 2 decades
[12,42,43].

Stands of orchardgrass tend to become clumpier with age, especially
under high nitrogen conditions.  This may be best explained by the
relative amounts of competition among tillers and among plants [72].
  • 12.  Crane, M. F.; Habeck, James R.; Fischer, William C. 1983. Early postfire        revegetation in a western Montana Douglas-fir forest. Res. Pap. INT-319.        Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain        Forest and Range Experiment Station. 29 p. plus chart.  [710]
  • 42.  Leege, Thomas A.; Godbolt, Grant. 1985. Herebaceous response following        prescribed burning and seeding of elk range in Idaho. Northwest Science.        59(2): 134-143.  [1436]
  • 43.  Van Rees, K. C. J.; Comerford, N. B. 1990. The role of woody roots of        slash pine seedlings in water and potassium absorption. Canadian Journal        of Forest Research. 20: 1183-1191.  [13807]
  • 67.  Stubbendieck, J.; Hatch, Stephan L.; Hirsch, Kathie J. 1986. North        American range plants. 3rd ed. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska        Press. 465 p.  [2270]
  • 72.  Washko, J. B.; Jung, G. A.; Decker, A. M.; [and others]

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the terms: formation, tiller

Orchardgrass reproduces largely by seed and by tiller formation.  The
relatively large seed does not have an innate dormancy [24].  Seed can
germinate in either light or darkness; germination is largely controlled
by moisture availability, and most seed germinates in the fall.  Thus,
orchardgrass does not tend to build up seedbanks in the soil [24].
  • 24.  Grime, J. P. 1979. Plant strategies & vegetation proceses. Chichester,        England: John Wiley & Sons. 222 p.  [2896]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: hemicryptophyte

  
   Hemicryptophyte

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Life Form

More info for the term: graminoid

Graminoid

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Site Description

Both burned sites occurred on generally southeast aspect below 4,920
feet (1,500 m).  The slope averages 30 percent with a maximum of 50
percent.

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Plant Response to Fire

Orchardgrass is reported to increase or remain stable after burning
[11,52]. 
  • 11.  Cocking, W. D.; Baxter, E. E.; Lilly, S. L. 1979. Plant community        responses to the use of prescribed burning as an alternative to mowing        in the management of Big Meadows, Shenandoah NP. In: Linn, Robert M.,        ed. Proceedings, 1st conference on scientific research in the National        Parks: Volume II; 1976 November 9-12; New Orleans, LA. NPS Transactions        and Proceedings Series No. 5. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the        Interior, National Park Service: 1205-1207.  [10545]
  • 52.  Pase, Charles P.; Granfelt, Carl Eric, tech. coords. 1977. The use of        fire on Arizona rangelands. Arizona Interagency Range Committee        Publication No. 4. [Place of publication unknown]

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Immediate Effect of Fire

In general, bunchgrasses with large accumulations of dead material can
generate high temperatures for long periods of time after the fire has
passed.  This can reduce fire survival for older plants [73].
  • 73.  Wright, Henry A.; Bailey, Arthur W. 1982. Fire ecology: United States        and southern Canada. New York: John Wiley & Sons. 501 p.  [2620]

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

Orchardgrass begins growth early in spring and flowers from May to
September or October.  In dry areas it is dormant in summer, but will
add new growth in the fall, and will flower again in fall under
appropriate conditions.  Most European populations are obligately
dormant in the summer, showing no growth even when irrigated.  Some
Mediterranean populations do not have this obligate dormancy [16].  A
green basal rosette is maintained through winter [14].  Flowering
appears to be temperature rather than light dependent [20].  Seed
shattering takes place in late summer; most seed will germinate in fall
as there is no innate dormancy [24].
  • 14.  Dalke, Paul D. 1941. The use and availability of the more common winter        deer browse plants in the Missouri Ozarks. Transactions, 6th North        American Wildlife Conference. 6: 155-160.  [17044]
  • 16.  Eagles, C. F.; Ostgard, O. 1971. Variation in growth and development in        natural populations of Dactylis glomerata from Norway and Portugal. I.        Growth analysis. Journal of Applied Ecology. 8: 367-381.  [18603]
  • 20.  Evans, Morgan W. 1958. Growth and development in certain economic        grasses. Agronomy Series No. 147. Wooster, OH: Ohio Agricultural        Experiment Station. 112 p.  [12111]
  • 24.  Grime, J. P. 1979. Plant strategies & vegetation proceses. Chichester,        England: John Wiley & Sons. 222 p.  [2896]

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Flower/Fruit

Fl. & Fr. Per.: July-August.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

Source: Missouri Botanical Garden

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Life Expectancy

Perennial.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Source: Bibliotheca Alexandrina - EOL Ar

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Dactylis glomerata

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Dactylis glomerata

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 21
Specimens with Barcodes: 36
Species With Barcodes: 1
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Status

Consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for status (e.g. threatened or endangered species, state noxious status, and wetland indicator values).

Public Domain

USDA NRCS Pullman Plant Materials Center, Rose Lake Plant Materials Center, Idaho State Office & Aberdeen Plant Materials Center; USDA ARS Forage & Range Laboratory

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Threats

Pests and potential problems

Brown stripe, scald, rust and leaf spot are the most prevalent and destructive disease in orchardgrass. Resistance to these varies among cultivars. Japanese and green June beetle larvae feed on orchardgrass roots; sawflies feed on their tops. Little is known, however, about the economic loss caused by these insects.

Orchardgrass does not spread vegetatively and is much less invasive than many other grasses. Consult the PLANTS Plant Profile for references pertaining to invasive qualities. Seeds can collect on animal coats and be transported long distances. Watering and bedding areas are typical sites where orchardgrass may colonize.

Orchardgrass seed is a common contaminant of turfgrass seed. While mowing prevents further spread, individual orchardgrass plants persist and lower the aesthetic value of the turf.

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USDA NRCS Pullman Plant Materials Center, Rose Lake Plant Materials Center, Idaho State Office & Aberdeen Plant Materials Center; USDA ARS Forage & Range Laboratory

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Management

Management considerations

More info for the terms: forbs, frequency, tree, wildfire

As a forage species, orchardgrass does not withstand continuous heavy
use; it is therefore recommended for planting in less accessible sites,
and for early season, moderate grazing [32,47,65].  Grazing tends to
increase both crude protein and dry matter production, and increase
production of phytomass the following spring [57].  Orchardgrass
responds well to nitrogen fertilizers, and moderately well to coplanting
with legumes [62,72].  Clipping height has an effect on productivity--it
is recommended that orchardgrass not be clipped below 3 inches (7.6 cm)
in height as it appears to become much more drought sensitive [72].
Clipping frequency is apparently not as critical; orchardgrass has been
found to be as productive when cut at 2- to 3-week intervals as when cut
at 5- to 7-week intervals [72].

Burned sites (either from wildfire, or sites that have been logged and
burned) seeded with orchardgrass had higher forage values than either
unseeded or unburned areas [37,45,53].  However, seeded grasses may
suppress growth of desirable timber species and native forbs.
[2,17,35,45,47].  Seidel and others [61] reported that seedling
mortality of Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine were slightly increased (5-6
percent) over unseeded areas.  They concluded that a light rate of
seeding is compatible with the establishment of tree seedlings [61].
Seedling survival of trees planted in established stands of orchardgrass
can be greatly enhanced (depending on soil type) by the application of
herbicide before planting.

On sites where growth of tree seedlings is desirable, grazing by cattle
and wildlife improves tree growth compared with no grazing or grazing by
wildlife alone.  The degree of forage use and timing of grazing are
critical to tree growth/cattle use compatibility; light, early season
grazing is the most beneficial [36,47].
  • 2.  Anderson, E. William; Brooks, Lee E. 1975. Reducing erosion hazard on a        burned forest in Oregon by seeding. Journal of Range Management. 28(5):        394-398.  [12807]
  • 17.  Elliott, Katherine J.; White, Alan S. 1987. Competitive effects of        various grasses and forbs on ponderosa pine seedlings. Forest Science.        33(2): 356-366.  [860]
  • 32.  Humphrey, Robert R. 1960. Arizona range grasses: Description--forage        value--management. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona, Agricultural        Experiment Station. 104 p.  [5004]
  • 35.  Kidd, Frank. 1982. Reduced growth of Douglas-fir in a grass-seeded        plantation. Forestry Technical Paper TP-82-2. Lewiston, ID: Potlatch        Corporation, Wood Products, Western Division. 4 p.  [7497]
  • 36.  Krueger, William C.; Vavra, Martin. 1984. Twentieth-year results from a        plantation grazing study. In: 1984 Progress report--research in        rangeland management. Special Report 715. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State        University, Agricultural Experiment Station: 20- 24. In cooperation        with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research  Service.        [3625]
  • 37.  Kruse, William H. 1972. Effects of wildfire on elk and deer use of a        ponderosa pine forest. Res. Note RM-226. Fort Collins, CO: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and        Range Experiment Station. 4 p.  [5045]
  • 45.  Lyon, L. Jack. 1984. The Sleeping Child Burn--21 years of postfire        change. Res. Pap. INT-330. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture,        Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 17 p.        [6328]
  • 47.  McLean, A.; Clark, M. B. 1980. Grass, trees, and cattle on        clearcut-logged areas. Journal of Range Management. 33(3): 213-217.        [3901]
  • 53.  Pearson, H. A.; Davis, J. R.; Schubert, G. H. 1972. Effects of wildfire        on timber and forage production in Arizona. Journal of Range Management.        25: 250-253.  [5664]
  • 57.  Rhodes, Bruce D.; Sharrow, Steven H. 1990. Effect of grazing by sheep on        the quantity and quality of forage available to big game in Oregon's        Coast Range. Journal of Range Management. 43(3): 235-237.  [11763]
  • 61.  Seidel, K. W.; Geist, J. Michael; Strickler, Gerald S. 1990. The        influence of cattle grazing and grass seeding on coniferous regeneration        after shelterwood cutting in eastern Oregon. Res. Pap. PNW-RP-417.        Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific        Northwest Research Station. 32 p.  [13285]
  • 62.  Shaw, A. F.; Cooper, C. S. 1973. The Interagency forage, conservation        and wildlife handbook. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University, Extension        Service. 205 p.  [5666]
  • 65.  Springfield, H. W.; Reynolds, H. G. 1951. Grazing preferences of cattle        for certain reseeding grasses. Journal of Range Management. 4: 83-87.        [80]
  • 72.  Washko, J. B.; Jung, G. A.; Decker, A. M.; [and others]

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Control

Contact your local agricultural extension specialist or county weed specialist to learn what works best in your area and how to use it safely. Always read and follow label and safety instructions for each control method. Trade names and control measures appear in this document only to provide specific information. USDA NRCS does not guarantee or warranty the products and control methods named and other products may be equally effective.

Public Domain

USDA NRCS Pullman Plant Materials Center, Rose Lake Plant Materials Center, Idaho State Office & Aberdeen Plant Materials Center; USDA ARS Forage & Range Laboratory

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Cultivars, improved and selected materials (and area of origin)

There are many orchardgrass releases available. Consult local experts to select the best release for your area. Orchardgrass cultivars fall into two types: early maturing and late maturing. The late maturing cultivars are more common. The most common releases used in the Intermountain West are described below.

Latar’ was released in 1957 and is still commonly seeded in pasture and hayland plantings. It has a low lignin (fiber) content and digestibility is very high. It matures 10 to 14 days later than common orchardgrass and is usually in the pre-bloom stage when alfalfa is at the optimum growth stage for cutting hay. Therefore a mixture of ‘Latar’ and alfalfa makes a high quality hay. Forage yields of ‘Latar’ are at least as much per acre as the earlier maturing varieties and forage quality is generally superior. The venerable old ‘Latar’ has lost some of its market-share to newer cultivars, which exhibit disease tolerance and winter hardiness. 'Latar' Breeder seed is maintained by the Pullman, Washington Plant Materials Center.

Paiute’ is a cultivar that produces an abundance of basal leaves and leafy upright stems. Its intended use is for forage production on arid lands. 'Paiute' is considered somewhat more drought tolerant than other varieties of orchardgrass. However, it generally does not perform well below 16-inch rainfall areas. At very high elevations (6500 feet plus), it may perform well at slightly lower rainfall amounts. It matures too early to be compatible with alfalfa. 'Paiute' Breeder and Foundation seed is maintained by the Aberdeen, Idaho Plant Materials Center.

Potomac’ is a productive, persistent, rust-resistant cultivar that produces good yields but matures too early to be compatible with alfalfa for hay. When alfalfa is ready to cut, ‘Potomac’ is too mature to produce good quality hay. When seeded in a monoculture, 'Potomac' often produces very high yields. This variety should be used where early maturity is needed and as a single species hay. Oregon Foundation Seed and Plant Materials Project and Washington Crop Improvement Station maintain Breeder and Foundation seed.

Berber’ is a long lived, drought resistant, cool season perennial bunchgrass, native to Europe. It has been tested in the mediterranean climate area of California for erosion control on natural and man-made disturbed areas, and for dryland range use. It appears that Berber could be used for erosion control and fire control in areas adjacent to housing developments. It is very drought tolerant and would remain green throughout the summer with small amounts of supplemental water.  Berber seed is maintained by the Lockeford Plant Materials Center in California.

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USDA NRCS Pullman Plant Materials Center, Rose Lake Plant Materials Center, Idaho State Office & Aberdeen Plant Materials Center; USDA ARS Forage & Range Laboratory

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Seed production

When planting for seed increase, recommended row spacing is 28 to 40 inches. Seeding rate is 1.5 to 2 pounds PLS per acre to seed 25 to 30 PLS per linear foot of row. Irrigated seed yields are commonly 250 to 300 pounds per acre. Seed matures evenly and is ready for harvest in mid-July. Windrowing followed by combining is the preferred method of harvest. When direct combining the seed should be dried to 12 percent moisture in bins and 15 percent moisture in sacks before storing.

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USDA NRCS Pullman Plant Materials Center, Rose Lake Plant Materials Center, Idaho State Office & Aberdeen Plant Materials Center; USDA ARS Forage & Range Laboratory

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Under dryland conditions the new planting should not be grazed until late summer or fall of the second growing season. The plants may be severely damaged by overgrazing especially in the seedling year. Under irrigated conditions the new planting should not be grazed until late summer or fall of the first growing season. The plants may be severely damaged by grazing too soon.

Use no more than 60% of the annual growth during the winter season or 50% during the growing season. Close grazing in the fall is consistently associated with winterkill. This plant responds well to rotation-deferred grazing systems. Periodically the grass should be allowed to mature and produce seed for continuation of the stand.

Orchardgrass responds very well to good fertility management. It is one of the most responsive pasture grasses to nitrogen applications. One strategy to even out the forage production is to fertilize the stand after the first and second cutting or grazing period to boost late spring and summer production. Apply fertilizer based on soil tests.

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USDA NRCS Pullman Plant Materials Center, Rose Lake Plant Materials Center, Idaho State Office & Aberdeen Plant Materials Center; USDA ARS Forage & Range Laboratory

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

More info for the term: cover

Orchardgrass is widely recommended and used for a variety of
rehabilitation applications.  It is recommended for planting with a
mixture of grasses and legumes to reduce erosion after devegetation by
fire.  Orchardgrass often shows early success, eventually being replaced
by native vegetation or other seeded species [12,45,49].

Orchardgrass is used in seed mixtures with other grasses and forbs
(usually clover or alfalfa) for rehabilitation of overgrazed lands.  The
success of orchardgrass appears to depend on the appropriateness of the site
to specific adaptations of orchardgrass cultivars, and also on proper
management of grazing [1,10,18,47,63].

Orchardgrass is planted in areas that have been logged and burned to
provide a vegetative cover for soil stabilization and provide forage for
cattle and/or wildlife [10,31,49].

Orchardgrass is also used for rehabilitation of sites disturbed by
mining [28,46].  The most successful applications in the western United
States appear to be sites that are relatively cool and moist (upper
elevations, shaded areas, etc.) [27,29,53].

Plantings of orchardgrass mixtures do well where there is adequate
moisture (12 inches or more annual precipitation) [28,60] and where
temperatures are not extreme [4,70].  In the drier western states it is
better adapted for higher elevations or in irrigated pastures and
croplands [69].  However, in the northeastern United States,
particularly the southern part of the region, orchardgrass is so well
adapted that it will invade alfalfa stands (Medicago spp.) [72].

Some cultivars are more drought resistant than others [54,55].  The
following list of cultivars indicates the wide range of strains
available; there are many more cultivars available--new ones are still
being listed.

'LATAR' is a late-season strain, highly recommended for pasture and hay
production; it is 10 percent higher in digestibility than other
cultivars and is more compatible with legumes, especially alfalfa
(Medicago sativa) [30].

'POTOMAC' is an early-season strain, better adapted to mountain sites
[30].

'PAIUTE' is more drought tolerant than other cultivars [30].

'POMAR' is a specially adapted low-growing strain particularly suited as
a cover crop in orchards and for road bank stabilization [30].
  • 1.  Adams, Theodore E., Jr.; Kay, Burgess L. 1985. Phalaris, orchardgrass,        fescue and selected minor grasses. Part I: Perennial grasses for        California rangelands. In: Carlson, Jack R.; McArthur, E. Durant,        chairmen. Range plant improvement in western North America: Proceedings        of a symposium at the annual meeting of the Society for Range        Management; 1985 February 14; Salt Lake City, UT. Denver, CO: Society        for Range Management: 20-24.  [4383]
  • 4.  Baker, Barton S.; Jung, G. A. 1968. Effect of environmental conditions        on the growth of four perennial grasses. I. Response to controlled        temperature. Agronomy Journal. 60: 155-158.  [202]
  • 10.  Clary, Warren P. 1975. Range management and its ecological basis in the        ponderosa pine type of Arizona: the status of our knowledge. Res. Pap.        RM-158. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest        Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 35 p.        [4688]
  • 12.  Crane, M. F.; Habeck, James R.; Fischer, William C. 1983. Early postfire        revegetation in a western Montana Douglas-fir forest. Res. Pap. INT-319.        Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain        Forest and Range Experiment Station. 29 p. plus chart.  [710]
  • 18.  Enyeart, George W. 1956. Responses of sage grouse to grass reseeding in        the pines area, Garfield County, Utah. Logan, UT: Utah State University.        55 p. Thesis.  [1324]
  • 27.  Hardison, John R. 1980. Role of fire for disease control in grass seed        production. Plant Disease. July: 641-645.  [4500]
  • 28.  Hardy BBT Limited. 1989. Manual of plant species suitability for        reclamation in Alberta. 2d ed. Report No. RRTAC 89-4. Edmonton, AB:        Alberta Land Conservation and Reclamation Council. 436 p.  [15460]
  • 29.  Harris, Grant A.; Dobrowolski, James P. 1986. Population dynamics of        seeded species on northeast Washington semiarid sites, 1948-1983.        Journal of Range Management. 39(1): 46-51.  [1095]
  • 30.  Stevens, Richard. 1983. Species adapted for seeding mountain brush, big,        black, and low sagebrush, and pinyon-juniper communities. In: Monsen,        Stephen B.; Shaw, Nancy, compilers. Managing Intermountain        rangelands--improvement of range and wildlife habitats: Proceedings;        1981 September 15-17; Twin Falls, ID; 1982 June 22-24; Elko, NV. Gen.        Tech. Rep. INT-157. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest        Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 78-82.        [2240]
  • 31.  Helvey, J. D.; Fowler, W. B. 1979. Grass seeding and soil erosion in a        steep, logged area in northeastern Oregon. PNW-343. Portland, OR: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and        Range Experiment Station. 11 p.  [7253]
  • 45.  Lyon, L. Jack. 1984. The Sleeping Child Burn--21 years of postfire        change. Res. Pap. INT-330. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture,        Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 17 p.        [6328]
  • 46.  MacCallum, Beth. 1989. Seasonal and spatial distribution of bighorn        sheep at an open pit coal mine in the Alberta foothills. In: Walker, D.        G.; Powter, C. B.; Pole, M. W., compilers. Reclamation, a global        perspective: Proceedings of the conference; 1989 August 27-31; Calgary,        AB. Rep. No. RRTAC 89-2. Vol. 1. Edmonton, AB: Alberta Land Conservation        and Reclamation Council: 141-149.  [14359]
  • 47.  McLean, A.; Clark, M. B. 1980. Grass, trees, and cattle on        clearcut-logged areas. Journal of Range Management. 33(3): 213-217.        [3901]
  • 49.  Miller, Richard F.; Krueger, William C.; Vavra, Martin. 1986. Twelve        years of plant succession on a seeded clearcut under grazing and        protection from cattle. In: Special Report 773. 1986 Progress        report...research in rangeland management. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State        University, Agricultural Experiment Station: 4-10. In cooperation with:        U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.  [3650]
  • 53.  Pearson, H. A.; Davis, J. R.; Schubert, G. H. 1972. Effects of wildfire        on timber and forage production in Arizona. Journal of Range Management.        25: 250-253.  [5664]
  • 54.  Plummer, A. Perry; Christensen, Donald R.; Monsen, Stephen B. 1968.        Restoring big-game range in Utah. Publ. No. 68-3. Ephraim, UT: Utah        Division of Fish and Game. 183 p.  [4554]
  • 55.  Plummer, A. Perry; Hull, A. C., Jr.; Stewart, George; Robertson, Joseph        H. 1955. Seeding rangelands in Utah, Nevada, southern Idaho and western        Wyoming. Agric. Handb. 71. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service. 73 p.  [11736]
  • 60.  Schuster, J. L.; De Leon Garcia, Ricardo C. 1973. Phenology and forage        production of cool season grasses in the Southern Plains. Journal of        Range Management. 26(5): 336-339.  [3912]
  • 63.  Smith, Justin G. 1963. A subalpine grassland seeding trial. Journal of        Range Management. 16: 208-210.  [3799]
  • 69.  Tew, Ronald K. 1969. Water use, adaptability, and chemical composition        of grasses seeded at high elevations. Journal of Range Management.        22(4): 280-283.  [18605]
  • 70.  Trlica, M. J.; Buwai, M.; Menke, J. W. 1977. Effects of rest following        defoliations on the recovery of several range species. Journal of Range        Management. 30(1): 21-27.  [2360]
  • 72.  Washko, J. B.; Jung, G. A.; Decker, A. M.; [and others]

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Nutritional Value

Orchardgrass is ranked below other popular grass species in nutritive
value and is considered by many farmers to be poor, but this perception
is based on harvesting orchardgrass for hay after its peak nutritive
level in the spring.  Nutritive values have been shown to decline
steadily after the early season peak [62,72].  Crude protein is highest
in the spring and declines to an average winter level of 4.3 percent
[62].

A number of studies have been done on nutritional values and
digestibility for cattle, elk, and domestic sheep.  The tables below
represent the range of average values as reported by author under
different conditions and extraction methods.

   Cattle        crude protein  14-16% [22]  16-19% [7]
                 crude fiber    23-25% [22]
                 lignin         4-8.5% [22]  5-7%   [9]
                 organic matter 92-93% [22]
                 dry matter     20-25% [9]
                 digestibility  56-77% [22]  55-59% [9]

   Sheep         crude protein  8-21% 
                 fiber          17-33%
                 organic matter 89-93%
                 digestibility  55-81% [22]

   Elk           crude protein   9-13%
                 organic matter  87%
                 digestibility   55-62% [8]
  • 7.  Bergen, Peter; Moyer, James R.; Kozub, Gerald C. 1990. Dandelion        (Taraxacum officinale) use by cattle grazing on irrigated pasture. Weed        Technology. 4(2): 258-263.  [14775]
  • 8.  Brooks, John, III; Urness, Philip J. 1984. Comparison of in vivo and in        vitro digestibility of forages by elk. Journal of Animal Science. 58(4):        963-970.  [6912]
  • 9.  Burritt, E. A.; Pfister, J. A.; Malechek, J. C. 1988. Effect of drying        method on the nutritive composition of esophageal fistula forage        samples: influence of maturity. Journal of Range Management. 41(4):        346-349.  [5239]
  • 22.  Forbes, R. M.; Garrigus, W. P. 1950. Some relationships between chemical        composition, nutritive value, and intake of forages grazed by steers and        wethers. Journal of Animal Science. 9: 354-362.  [7176]
  • 62.  Shaw, A. F.; Cooper, C. S. 1973. The Interagency forage, conservation        and wildlife handbook. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University, Extension        Service. 205 p.  [5666]
  • 72.  Washko, J. B.; Jung, G. A.; Decker, A. M.; [and others]

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

More info for the terms: cover, natural

Orchardgrass is moderately nutritious and highly palatable to deer, elk,
bighorn sheep, cattle, and domestic sheep and goats.  The persistent,
green, basal rosette provides good winter forage for deer and elk
[14,50].  Early spring growth provides green forage for all species
[60].  Cattle will eat orchardgrass preferentially in early spring and
summer, up to 50 percent of total diet [59,65].  Elk and mule deer also
prefer orchardgrass over a number of other species [42].  In areas
disturbed by fire where orchardgrass has been seeded (usually in a
mixture with other grasses and forbs), wildlife use increases over
nonseeded areas and nonburned areas [19,42,44,50,58].  Forest openings,
where orchardgrass is dominant, are associated with rufous hummingbirds,
pine siskins, slate-colored juncos, American robins, valley pocket
gophers, desert harvest mice, deer mice, Mexican voles, and white-tailed
deer [56].  Grasshopper sparrows and eastern meadowlarks were more
abundant in cultivated fields in Georgia codominated by orchardgrass
than in fallow or natural fields [33].  Wild turkeys graze orchardgrass
in winter, and poults use it as a source of cover and insects in late
summer.  Rabbits use orchardgrass for food and cover; Canada geese feed
on the seeds and leaves [13].
  • 13.  Crawford, Hewlette S.; Kucera, Clair L.; Ehrenreich, John H. 1969. Ozark        range and wildlife plants. Agric. Handb. 356. Washington, DC: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 236 p.  [18602]
  • 14.  Dalke, Paul D. 1941. The use and availability of the more common winter        deer browse plants in the Missouri Ozarks. Transactions, 6th North        American Wildlife Conference. 6: 155-160.  [17044]
  • 19.  Evanko, Anthony B. 1953. Performance of several forage species on newly        burned lodgepole pine sites. Res. Note. 133. Missoula, MT: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Rocky Mountain        Forest and Range Experiment Station. 6 p.  [7905]
  • 33.  Johnston, David W.; Odum, Eugene P. 1956. Breeding bird populations in        relation to plant succession on the Piedmont of Georgia. Ecology. 37(1):        50-62.  [16574]
  • 42.  Leege, Thomas A.; Godbolt, Grant. 1985. Herebaceous response following        prescribed burning and seeding of elk range in Idaho. Northwest Science.        59(2): 134-143.  [1436]
  • 44.  Lowe, Philip O.; Ffolliott, Peter F.; Dieterich, John H.; Patton, David        R. 1978. Determining potential wildlife benefits from wildfire in        Arizona ponderosa pine forests. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-52. Fort Collins, CO:        U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest        and Range Experiment Station. 12 p.  [4481]
  • 50.  Nelson, Jack R.; Leege, Thomas A. 1982. Nutritional requirements and        food habits. In: Thomas, Jack Ward; Toweill, Dale E., eds. Elk of North        America: ecology and management. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books:        323-368.  [14494]
  • 56.  Reynolds, Hudson G.; Johnson, R. Roy. 1964. Habitat relations of        vertebrates of the Sierra Ancha Experimental Forest. Res. Pap. RM-4.        Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky        Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 16 p.  [13485]
  • 58.  Roppe, Jerry A.; Hein, Dale. 1978. Effects of fire on wildlife in a        lodgepole pine forest. Southwestern Naturalist. 23(2): 279-287.  [261]
  • 59.  Schultz, Arnold M. 1953. Reseeding managed chaparral brush areas for        deer. Proceedings, 33rd Annual Conference of Western Association of Game        and Fish Commissioners. 33: 60-264.  [16665]
  • 60.  Schuster, J. L.; De Leon Garcia, Ricardo C. 1973. Phenology and forage        production of cool season grasses in the Southern Plains. Journal of        Range Management. 26(5): 336-339.  [3912]
  • 65.  Springfield, H. W.; Reynolds, H. G. 1951. Grazing preferences of cattle        for certain reseeding grasses. Journal of Range Management. 4: 83-87.        [80]

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Other uses and values

Orchardgrass is a widely planted pasture grass [1,21,25,62] and is used
to increase forage production on rangelands [48].  It is frequently part
of mixtures that are seeded in mountain brush (especially Gambel oak
(Quercus gambelii) types to improve rangeland.  These mixtures are
drilled or broadcast seeded after some type of surface
preparation--usually removal of brush by burning or chaining, or by
herbicide application [6,38].  Orchardgrass is used to stabilize ski
slopes in Montana and to suppress annual weeds [5,39,40,41].
  • 1.  Adams, Theodore E., Jr.; Kay, Burgess L. 1985. Phalaris, orchardgrass,        fescue and selected minor grasses. Part I: Perennial grasses for        California rangelands. In: Carlson, Jack R.; McArthur, E. Durant,        chairmen. Range plant improvement in western North America: Proceedings        of a symposium at the annual meeting of the Society for Range        Management; 1985 February 14; Salt Lake City, UT. Denver, CO: Society        for Range Management: 20-24.  [4383]
  • 5.  Behan, Mark J. 1983. The suitability of commercially available grass        species for revegetation of Montana ski area. Journal of Range        Management. 36(5): 565-567.  [425]
  • 6.  Bentley, Jay R. 1967. Conversion of chaparral areas to grassland:        techniques used in California. Agric. Handb. 328. Washington, DC: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 35 p.  [195]
  • 21.  Fernald, Merritt Lyndon. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. [Corrections        supplied by R. C. Rollins]
  • 25.  Hafenrichter, A. L. 1957. Management to increase forage production in        the west. SCS-TP-128. Washington D. C.: U.S. Department of Agriculture,        Soil Conservation Service. 16 p.  [11735]
  • 38.  Kufeld, Roland C. 1983. Responses of elk, mule deer, cattle, and        vegetation to burning, spraying  and chaining of Gambel oak rangeland.        Tech. Publ. 34. Fort Collins, CO: Colorado Division of Wildlife. 47 p.        [253]
  • 39.  Larson, Larry L. 1990. Research efforts in Oregon. In: Roche, Ben F.;        Roche, Cindy Talbott, eds. Range weeds revisted: Proceedings of a        symposium: A 1989 Pacific Northwest range management short course; 1989        January 24-26; Spokane, WA. Pullman, WA: Washington State University,        Department of Natural Resource Sciences, Cooperative Extension: 33-34.        [14831]
  • 40.  Larson, L. L.; McInnis, M. L. 1989. Impact of grass seedings on        establishment and density of diffuse knapweed and yellow starthistle.        Northwest Science. 63(4): 162-166.  [9278]
  • 41.  Larson, Larry L.; McInnis, Michael L. 1989. Response of yellow        starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis) and grass biomass to grass,        picloram, and fertilizer combinations. Weed Technology. 3: 497-500.        [9345]
  • 48.  McLean, A.; Lord, T. M.; Green, A. J. 1970. Utilization of the major        plant communities in the Similkameen Valley, British Columbia. Journal        of Range Management. 24: 346-351.  [7626]
  • 62.  Shaw, A. F.; Cooper, C. S. 1973. The Interagency forage, conservation        and wildlife handbook. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University, Extension        Service. 205 p.  [5666]

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Palatability

Palatability is rated high for cattle, elk, mule deer, and white-tailed
deer [15,50,59,64].
  • 15.  Dietz, Donald R.; Nagy, Julius G. 1976. Mule deer nutrition and plant        utilization. In: Workman; Low, eds. Mule deer decline in the West: A        symposium; [Date of conference unknown]
  • 50.  Nelson, Jack R.; Leege, Thomas A. 1982. Nutritional requirements and        food habits. In: Thomas, Jack Ward; Toweill, Dale E., eds. Elk of North        America: ecology and management. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books:        323-368.  [14494]
  • 59.  Schultz, Arnold M. 1953. Reseeding managed chaparral brush areas for        deer. Proceedings, 33rd Annual Conference of Western Association of Game        and Fish Commissioners. 33: 60-264.  [16665]
  • 64.  Smith, Winston Paul. 1985. Plant associations within the interior        valleys of the Umpqua River Basin, Oregon. Journal of Range Management.        38(6): 526-530.  [2179]

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Uses

Grazing/Hayland: The primary use of orchardgrass is for forage production. It is used for pasture, hay and silage. It is highly palatable to all classes of livestock. Orchardgrass is one of the best forage grasses for use in the Northern states under intensive rotational grazing systems.

Erosion control: Because of its dense network of non-rhizomatous roots, orchardgrass provides good erosion control on those soils to which it is adapted.

Wildlife: Elk and deer find orchardgrass highly palatable and will utilize it most of the year. Orchardgrass is sometimes used in grass-legume

mixes for nesting brood rearing, and escape and winter cover in upland wildlife and conservation plantings. However, upland birds and waterfowl prefer taller grasses that develop sparser stands such as basin wildrye and tall wheatgrass.

Public Domain

USDA NRCS Pullman Plant Materials Center, Rose Lake Plant Materials Center, Idaho State Office & Aberdeen Plant Materials Center; USDA ARS Forage & Range Laboratory

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Wikipedia

Dactylis glomerata

For the Candlemass album, see Dactylis Glomerata.

Dactylis glomerata, also known as cock's-foot or orchard grass, 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]

Distribution[edit]

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 as a forage grass.[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]

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.

Description[edit]

Cock's-foot grows in dense perennial tussocks to 20–140 centimetres tall, with grey-green leaves 20–50 cm long and up to 1.5 cm broad, and a distinctive tufted triangular flowerhead 10–15 cm 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 mm 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

Taxonomy[edit]

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 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[edit]

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.

Butterfly foodplant[edit]

The caterpillars of many butterfly species feed on cock's foot, including:[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Flora Europaea: Dactylis glomerata
  2. ^ a b Interactive Flora of NW Europe Dactylis glomerata (Cock's-foot)
  3. ^ a b c Flora of China: Dactylis
  4. ^ USDA Plant Fact Sheet: ORCHARDGRASS
  5. ^ a b c FAO factsheet: Dactylis glomerata
  6. ^ a b Flora of Pakistan: Dactylis glomerata
  7. ^ BSBI False Oat Grass Description. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
  8. ^ Plants of Hawaii: Dactylis glomerata (cocksfoot)
  9. ^ Hubbard, C. E. Grasses. Penguin. 1978.
  10. ^ a b c Species Records of Dactylis, Dactylis glomerata. Germplasm Resources Information Network.
  11. ^ a b 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. Rostlinná Výroba 48 (6): 243–248.
  12. ^ NSW Department of Primary Industries PrimeFacts: Cocksfoot
  13. ^ Natural England: Cocksfoot - Dactylis glomerata
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Notes

Comments

An excellent fodder grass. 1700-4000 m.

Cock’s-foot, Cockspur, Barnyard or Orchard Grass is a very variable species which, owing to its agricultural importance has been studied intensively in some parts of its range. It includes diploids (2n = 14) and tetraploids (2n = 28) which can usually be distinguished from one another by the size of their stomata and pollen-grains. In other characters there appears to be parallel variation; Many of the variants have been given specific or subspecific rank (see Domin in Acta bot. bohem. 14:3-147. 1943), but most of them do not seem to be clearly distinguish-able except by chromosome number, average characteristics of populations and behaviour in cultivation. No attempt has been made to resolve the infraspecific taxa in Pakistan and Kashmir, but the following intergrading subspecies have been distinguished:

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Comments

This is an important pasture and forage grass that has been widely introduced into temperate and subtropical regions throughout the world (Cocksfoot, Orchard Grass).

The typical form, subsp. glomerata (2n = 28), has a relatively compact panicle, broad spikelet fascicles, and conspicuously ciliate lemma keels. Other forms, widespread in China and the Himalayas, have a looser panicle with long flexuose branches, narrower spikelet fascicles, and only minutely ciliolate lemma keels. The names subsp. sinensis, subsp. himalayensis, and the European name subsp. slovenica (Domin) Domin have been applied to these forms. A chromosome count of 2n = 14 has been recorded for subsp. himalayensis. The basis of this variation, the correct application of these names, and their relationship to similar variants from outside China are not yet understood.

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Comments

Widely naturalized or cultivated in North America and southern Africa.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Common Names

orchardgrass
cocksfoot (European)

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The currently accepted scientific name of orchardgrass is Dactylis
glomerata L. [21,62,67]. Recognized varieties include [21]:

D. g. var. ciliata Peterm.
D. g. var. detonsa Fries
  • 21.  Fernald, Merritt Lyndon. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. [Corrections        supplied by R. C. Rollins]
  • 62.  Shaw, A. F.; Cooper, C. S. 1973. The Interagency forage, conservation        and wildlife handbook. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University, Extension        Service. 205 p.  [5666]
  • 67.  Stubbendieck, J.; Hatch, Stephan L.; Hirsch, Kathie J. 1986. North        American range plants. 3rd ed. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska        Press. 465 p.  [2270]

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Synonyms

Dactylis aschersoniana Graebn.

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