Dactylis glomerata


Dactylis: From the Greek dacktyolos 'a finger', referring to the shape of the panicle

Common Name(s)



Dactylis glomerata L.



Flora Category

Vascular - Exotic

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class



Terrestrial. A plant of coastal, lowland, montane and subalpine habitats (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995). Plant grows in scrub and forest margin, shrubland, tussockland, herbfields, fernland, sand dune hollows and riverbeds (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995).


Hairless, erect, greyish to bluish green, strongly tufted perennial grass to 1 m tall. Roots fibrous. Emerging leaf folded; ligule 2-12 mm long, membranous, often torn; sheath strongly flattened, sharply keeled. Leaves 100-450 x 2-14 mm, rough towards boat-shaped tip, harsh when old, dull beneath with prominent sharp keel. Seedhead a large panicle, with one-sided clusters of flattened spikelets. Seeds with bristly ends.

Similar Taxa

Distinctive large pannicle, with one-sided clusters when mature. May be confused with Poa annua when young but sheath base is flattened in D. glomerata but not in Poa annua.

Year Naturalised



Eurasia, Nth Africa

Reason for Introduction


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Perennial. Reproduces by tillars and seed. Seed is dispersed by wind, water, humans and vertebrates (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995).


The plant is slightly tolerant to drought, shade and poor drainage and is frost tolerant (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995). The plant is able to resprout after physical damage and fire (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995).

This page last updated on 30 Jul 2014