Cynodon dactylon

Cynodon dactylon

Cynodon dactylon (syn. Panicum dactylon, Capriola dactylon), also known as dūrvā grass, Bermuda Grass, Dubo, Dog's Tooth Grass, Bahama Grass, Devil's Grass, Couch Grass, Indian Doab, Grama, and Scutch Grass, is a grass native to north Africa, Asia and Australia and southern Europe. The name "Bermuda Grass" derives from its abundance as an invasive species on Bermuda; it does not occur naturally there.

The blades are a grey-green colour and are short, usually 4-15 cm long with rough edges. The erect stems can grow 1-30 cm (rarely to 90 cm) tall. The stems are slightly flattened, often tinged purple in color. The seed heads are produced in a cluster of 3-7 spikes (rarely 2) together at the top of the stem, each spike 3-6 cm long. It has a deep root system; in drought situations with penetrable soil, the root system can grow to over 2 m deep, though most of the root mass is less than 60 cm under the surface. The grass creeps along the ground and root wherever a node touches the ground, forming a dense mat. C. dactylon reproduces through seeds, through runners and rhizomes. Growth begins at temperatures above 15°C, with optimum growth between 24°C to 37°C (75-99°F); in winter the grass becomes dormant and turns brown. Growth is promoted by full sun & retarded by full shade, eg, close to tree trunks.

Cultivation and uses

C. dactylon is widely cultivated in warm climates all over the world between about 30° south and 30° north latitude, and that get between 625-1,750 mm (25-69 inches) of rainfall a year (or less, if irrigation is available). It is also found in the U.S. mostly in the southern half of the country and in warm climates. It is fast growing and tough, making it popular and useful for sports fields, as when damaged it will recover quickly. It is a highly desirable turf grass in warm temperate climates, particularly for those regions where its heat and drought tolerance enable it to survive where few other grasses do. It has a relatively coarse-bladed form with numerous cultivars selected for different turf requirements. It is also highly aggressive, crowding out most other grasses and invading other habitats, and has become an invasive species in some areas. This invasive nature leads some gardeners to give it the name of "devil grass".

Medicinal values

C. dactylon is claimed to have medicinal properties although scientific evidence for such claims is lacking.

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