Rapidly spreading grass (Agropyron repens) with flat, somewhat hairy leaves and erect flower spikes, native to Europe and introduced into other northern temperate areas for forage or erosion control. In cultivated land, it is considered a weed because of its persistence. Its long, yellowish-white rhizomes must be completely dug up to eradicate the plant because broken rhizomes generate new plants. Couch grass has been used in various home remedies in Europe, and the rhizomes have been eaten during periods of famine.
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Elytrigia repens (Couch Grass; syn. Triticum repens L., Agropyron repens (L.) P. Beauv., Elymus repens (L.) Gould) is a very common species of grass native to most of Europe, Asia, and northwest Africa. Other names include twitch, quick grass, quitch grass, dog grass, and quackgrass.
It has creeping rhizomes which enable it to grow rapidly across grassland. The stems ('culms') grow to 40–150 cm tall; the leaves are linear, 15–40 cm long and 3–10 mm broad at the base of the plant, with leaves higher on the stems 2–8.5 mm broad. The flower spike is 10–30 cm long, with spikelets 1–2 cm long, 5–7 mm broad and 3 mm thick with three to eight florets. The glumes are 7–12 mm long, usually without an awn or with only a short one.
Hybrids are recorded with several related grasses, including Elytrigia juncea (Elytrigia × laxa (Fr.) Kerguélen), Elytrigia atherica (Elytrigia × drucei Stace), and with the barley species Hordeum secalinum (× Elytrordeum langei (K. Richt.) Hyl.).
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