Dactylis glomerata L.
Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished.
- Folk Medicine
- Yields and Economics
- Biotic Factors
This temperate grass is widely grown for pasture and hay in practically all
temperate countries, and is cultivated in temperate regions of tropical and
subtropical areas. It is considered to be one of the most important tropical
forage grasses that is used for tame hay. Also grown for ground cover, and
for lawns, particularly well adapted for growing under shade. A variegated
form is occasionally cultivated for borders. Orchardgrass with its deep root
system is Also useful for checking soil erosion.
Reported to be estrogenic (Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk, 1962). D.
glomerata is a folk remedy for tumors, kidney and bladder ailments (Duke
and Wain, 1981).
Per 100 g, the wet matter is reported to contain on a zero-moisture basis, 13.8
g protein, 4.3 g fat, 72.7 g total carbohydrate, 27.9 g fiber, 9.2 g ash, 53.0
mg Ca, 51.0 mg P, 23 mg Fe, 3440 mg K, 32 ug ß-carotene equivalent, and
0.17 mg thiamine (Miller, 1958). Gohl (1981) reports the following: per 100 g,
wet matter (26.7% DM) is reported to contain on a zero-moisture basis, 12.6 g
protein, 3.5 g fat, 74.9 g total carbohydrate, 33.1 g fiber, 9.0 g ash, 3.5 g
ether extract, and 41.8 g N-free extract. Per 100 g, the hay (87.5% DM) is
reported to contain on a zero-moisture basis, 16.1 g protein, 3.3 g fat, 68.4 g
total carbohydrate, 37.7 g fiber, 12.2 g ash, 3.3 g ether extract, and 30.7 g
Long-lived perennial tufted grass, with deep root system, forming large
tussocks; culms glabrous, erect, 15-140 cm tall; leaf blades scabrous, green or
glaucous-green, 30-60 cm long, 5-10 mm broad; ligule deltoid, 7-12 mm long,
hyaline; panicles erect, glomerate: of a few stiff branches, expanding in
flower, afterwards appressed, 8-20 cm long, scabrous; spikelets in dense
one-sided fascicles borne at ends of branches; spikelets 7-8 mm long,
glaucous-green, 2-4 flowered; glumes lanceolate, acuminate, scabrous, the lower
7-nerved, 3-4 mm long, the upper 3-nerved, 5-6 mm long; lemmas 6-7 mm long;
anthers 2-3 mm long. Fl. July-Aug., sometimes as early as May. Seeds 725,000
Reported from the Eurosiberian Center of Diversity, D. glamerata or cvs
thereof is reported to tolerate drought, frost, high pH, heavy soil, heat, low
pH, mine, sodium, photoperiod, poor soil, shade, slope, smog, virus and weeds
(Duke, 1978). Numerous strains have been developed, some coarse and stemmy,
others good for hay and early grazing. Local ecotypes in the Mediterranean
region are adapted to long hot dry summers. In Europe two types have been
developed, one for pasture and one for hay. Pasture types produce more basal
leaves and generally are more spreading than the hay types. Selections made in
Canada, Sweden and Finland are improved for winter hardiness. Improved strains
are more leafy, persistent and later flowering than unimproved commercial
types. Cultivars developed in the United States include the following: Able,
Akaroa, Avon, Boone, Brage, Chinook, Clatsop, Dayton, Frode, Hallmark,
Hercules, Jackson, Kay, Latar, Masshardy, Napier, Nerdstern, Pennmead, Pomar,
Potomac, Rideau, S-37, S-143, Sandia, Sterling, Tardus II, and Virginia 70.
(2n = 28, 14)
Temperate regions of Europe, Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Rhodesia, S. Africa),
Asia, Australia (NSW, Victoria, and other areas of S. Australia). and America
(Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina).
Ranging from Boreal Moist to Rain through Subtropical Thorn to Moist Forest
Life Zones, orchardgrass is reported to tolerate annual precipitation of 3.1 to
17.6 dm (mean of 83 cases = 8.2) annual temperature of 4.3 to 23.8°C (mean
of 83 cases = 10.7) and pH of 4.5 to 8.2 (mean of 83 cases = 6.3) (Duke, 1978,
1979). Adapted to humid temperate climates, naturalized in field and waste
places. Grows on almost any type of soil, but thrives best on heavier types,
as clays and clay loams. Less winter-hardy than Phleum pratense or
Bromus inermis and does not extend as far north. Drought-resistant and
will withstand high temperatures. Prefers areas with 480-750 mm annual
rainfall, but will produce on rather poor dry soils. It may be grown irrigated.
Propagated by seed or by divisions. Seed is best prechilled at 3.5-10°C.
Optimum temperature for germination is 20-30°C. Seed may be sown with
ryegrass, meadow fescue, timothy or tall oatgrass. When sown as only grass in
association with clovers, seed rate of 5-11 kg/ha is suitable; otherwise,
seeding rate varies from 7-25 kg/ha. In the US, considerably higher seed rates
are used in the southern areas, such as 17-22 kg/ha along with about 11 kg/ha
Korean Lespedeza. Combines well with alfalfa. Such mixtures are of value for
silage cut in summer followed by winter grazing; some times grass and alfalfa
are sown in alternate rows, then a mixture of 3 kg/ha with 16 kg/ha alfalfa is
recommended. To restrict tendency to form tussocks, it may be sown with
grasses or legumes.
First cuttings are made about 5 months after sowing. Most useful for leys of
3-year duration and upwards. Seed retention is highest in plants that are
summer dormant and possess many naked seeds when threshed. Summer grazed
populations readily shed seed when ripe, and the seeds are enclosed in the
glumes. Pastures can stand heavy grazing and will produce a continuous
succession of young leaves. For hay, grass should be cut at full bloom; it
becomes woody at later stages. Starts growth early in spring and continues
well into summer. If cut for hay, it gives a good aftermath even in dry
periods. It does not persist well under heavy continuous grazing and becomes
coarse and unpalatable if undergrazed, developing into large tussocks. It is
best suited for rotational grazing.
500 kg seed/ha (Duke, 1978). Extensively grown in Europe, Russia, India, the
U.S. (Pennsylvania to N. Carolina, west to Iowa and Missouri), and elsewhere,
as a major forage grass. Also grown for hay, pasture and silage in the
northeastern United States west to the eastern Great Plains.
According to the phytomass files (Duke, 1981b), annual productivity ranges from
2 to 37 MT/ha (8-10 in Australia, 2 in Bulgaria, 6-11 in Czechoslovakia, 10-11
in Denmark, 5 in France, 12 in Jamaica, 5-6 in Japan, 6-37 in Poland, 2-17 in
Romania, 2-6 in Russia, 16-17 in Rumania). If soil fertility is low, a large
portion of the total produciton occurs in the spring, but if the soil is highly
fertile, production is well distributed throughout the growing season. Yields
of hay, forage, or silage are generally very heavy, and may vary by as much as
The following fungi have been reported on Orchardgrass: Acrosporium
compressum, Alternaria tenuis, Ascochyta graminicola, Calonectria nivalis,
Claviceps microcephala, C. purpurea, Colletotrichum graminicola, Curvularia
inaequalis, Dermatium hispidulum, Didymella exitialis, Dilophospora alopecuri,
Dinemasporium graminum, Entyloma crastophilum, (Leaf smut), E.
dactylidis (Leaf smut), Epichloe typhina, Erisyphe graminis and
f. spp dactylidis, Fusarium acuminatum, F. avenaceum, F. culmorum, F.
poae, F. scirpi var. acuminatum, F. tricinetum forma poae,
Gibberella saubinetii, G. zeae, Griphosphaeria nivalis, Helminthorium sativum,
H. sorokinianum, H. triseptatum, Helotium flexuosum, Hendersonia triticina,
Leptosphaeria culmorum, L. culmicola, L. eustoma, L. michotii, L. microscopica,
L. typharum, Lophodermium arundinaceum, Marssonia graminicola, Mastigosporium
rubricosum, M. calvum, Mycosphaerella dactylidis, Oidium monilioides,
Ophiobolus herpotrichus, Ovularia puchella, Phyllachora graminis, Phyllosticta
owensii, Pleospora herbarum, P. infectoria, P. trichostoma, Puccinia
dactylidina, P. coronata, P. coronifera f. spp. avenae, f.
spp. tritici and var. phlei-pratetensis, P. phlei-pratensis, P.
gulmarum, P. rubigovera, Pythium aristosporum, P. debaryanum, P. graminicola,
P. tardicrescens, Pyrenochaeta terrestris, Rhynchosporium orthosporum, Rh.
secalis, Sclerotinia borealis, S. graminearum, Scolecotrichum graminis,
Selenophoma donacis and var. stomaticola, Septoria sp., S.
oxysporum var. culmorum, S. tritici Stagonospora arenaria, S. maculata,
S. subseriata, Synchytrium sp., Tubucinia dactylidina, Typhula itoana,
T. phacorrhiza, Uromyces dactylidis, U. striiformis, Ustilago salvei, U.
striiformis, Vermicularia affinis, Wojnowicia graminis, Bacteria isolated
from this grass causing disease include: Corynebacterium rathayi,
Pseudobacterium rathayi, and Pseudomanes coronafaciens
var.atropurpurea. Virus diseases include cocksfoot mottle virus,
cocksfoot streak virus, barley yellow dwarf virus, grass orchard mosaic, and
ryegrass mosaic. It also parasitized by Cuscuta epithymum and Striga
lutea. Nematodes isolated from Orchardgrass include the following species:
Ditylenchus dipsaci, Helicotylenchus dihystera, H. pseudorobustus,
Heterodera avenae, Hoplolaimus galeatus, Meloidogyne arenaria, M. incognita
acrita, M. javanica, M. naasi, Paratylenchus penetrans, P. neglectus,
Subanguina radicicola, Trichodorus christie, Tylenchorhynchus claytoni,
Xiphinema americanum (Golden, p.c., 1984).
Complete list of references for Duke, Handbook of Energy Crops
- Duke, J.A. 1978. The quest for tolerant germplasm. p. 1-61. In: ASA Special
Symposium 32, Crop tolerance to suboptimal land conditions. Am. Soc. Agron.
- Duke, J.A. 1979. Ecosystematic data on economic plants. Quart. J. Crude Drug
- Duke, J.A. 1981b. The gene revolution. Paper 1. p. 89-150. In: Office of
Technology Assessment, Background papers for innovative biological technologies
for lesser developed countries. USGPO. Washington.
- Duke, J.A. and Wain, K.K. 1981. Medicinal plants of the world. Computer index
with more than 85,000 entries. 3 vols.
- Gohl, B. 1981. Tropical feeds. Feed information summaries and nutritive values.
FAO Animal Production and Health Series 12. FAO, Rome.
- Miller, D.F. 1958. Composition of cereal grains and forages. National Academy
of Sciences, National Research Council, Washington, DC. Publ. 585.
- Watt, J.M. and Breyer-Brandwijk, M.G. 1962. The medicinal and poisonous plants
of southern and eastern Africa. 2nd ed. E.&S. Livingstone, Ltd., Edinburgh
last update July 9, 1996