Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. Updated February 2018.
Scientific name: Elymus repens (L.) Gould; old Agropyron repens L. (Beauv.)
Common name(s): quackgrass, couch grass, dog grass, quickgrass, scutch, quitch, twitch, witchgrass, creeping wild-rye
Images: (to see enlargements [PC]: click on image, then right click and choose “view image”)
– reproduces by seed and running stalk (rhizomes).
– flowers July to Sept.
– inflorescences are variable – can also have awns of varying length (awns: aka the “bristles” on a head of wheat)
– considered an invasive species
Stems 1′ to 4′ tall with sheaths usually shorter than internodes. Leaf blades are 3″ to 12″ long and 1/8″ to 3/8″ wide, smooth beneath and rough above. Ligule very short
– may be confused with E. trachycaulus, which does not have rhizomes, or possibly Thinopyrum pycnanthum in ME fields abutting a coastal beach or marsh; see left sidebar on Go Botany webpage
Eric T. Doucette, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor of Biology, MA College of Liberal Arts, North Adams, MA (updated Feb 2018)