Couch grass

Elytrigia repens

Common couch, Twitch, Rack, Scutch, Wickens, Quack grass


Very common in arable and waste ground. Heavy populations cause lodging and harvest losses. Seed production is variable and low with spread mainly by rhizomes. Rhizome production can be up to 15 t/ha on light soils.


Familiar perennial spreading by extensive long, stout and sharply pointed white rhizomes. The flower head might be confused with perennial rye-grass.  However the spikelets of couch lie flat against the stem, unlike perennial rye-grass where the spikelets are at 90° to the stem.


Couch grass - liguleVery short: 1 mm. Blunt.










Auricles: Short and pointed.

Leaf blades: Dull green, long, flat and slightly keeled. Both surfaces are loosely hairy.


Couch grass 1
Couch grass 2
Couch grass - youngCommon couch-grass at the 1-leaf stage.
Couch grass - matureCouch grass flower head