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Quackgrass (Elymus repens)

Quackgrass Synonyms: Agropyron repens, Elytrigia repens

Common Names: Couch grass, Creeping wild rye

Description: It was introduced to the United States as a contaminant in hay or straw.

Habit: Cool season, perennial grass that grows 2 feet or more laterally from the main shoot before sending aerial stems, and can grow as deep as 8 inches.

Leaves: 1/4 - 1/2 inch wide, flat, pointed, and has small auricles at the junction of blade and sheath. Blades are sparsely hairy above and hairless below.

Stems: Erect and usually 1-3 feet tall.

Flowers: Spikelets are arranged in two long rows and born flat-wise to the stem. Florets are awnless to short-awned.

Fruit and seeds: Seeds are elliptical, pale yellow to brown. Each stem can produce up to 400 seeds, although 20-40 is common. Seeds may remain dormant in the soil for 2-3 years.

Habitat: Native to Europe, Northern Africa, and temperate Asia to India. Found in disturbed areas, riverbanks, fields, pastures, waste areas, mixed-grass prairies and open woodlands. Can also invade gardens, yards, crop fields, roadsides, ditches, and other disturbed, moist areas.

Reproduction: By seed and extensively creeping rhizomes.

Similar species: Can be distinguished from many other grasses by its prominent pale yellow or straw-colored rhizomes with a tough brownish sheath at each joint. The sheathed joints give the rhizomes a scaly appearance.

Monitoring and rapid response: Till in spring and fall if possible; use control burns with approved burn plan. Can be effectively controlled using any of several readily available general use herbicides such as glyphosate in the spring or fall.

Credits: The information provided in this factsheet was gathered from the U.S Forest Service Weed of the Week publication.

Individual species images that appear with a number in a black box are courtesy of the network ( photo author credits may not be included due to the small display size of the images and subsequent difficulty of reading the provided text. All other images appear courtesy of Google (

Common Name:


Scientific Name:

Elymus repens







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