E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Dactylis glomerata L.
orchard-grass (orchard grass; orchardgrass)
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Adolf Ceska  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #13410)

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Distribution of Dactylis glomerata
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Species Information

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Perennial, strongly tufted grass from fibrous roots; stems hollow, erect, up to 150 cm tall.
Sheaths closed, more or less compressed, smooth to slightly rough; blades (2) 3-11 mm wide, flat, mostly somewhat rough, usually the 2 margins freed from the sheaths at different levels; ligules mostly 3-9 mm long, membranous, generally sparsely hairy, blunt to pointed, the margins finely jagged, fringed with small hairs, the upper halves usually turned back and split in several places.
Inflorescence a panicle 3-15 cm long, the branches stiffly ascending to spreading or even reflexed (the lower ones); spikelets strongly to one side in dense clusters, compressed, 3- to 5-flowered, 5-9 mm long, nearly unstalked, articulating above the glumes; glumes 4-6 mm long, keeled, the keels fringed with stiff hairs, usually 2 (3)-nerved, the tips short, soft and awnlike, the lower glumes lopsided, the upper narrower and usually 1-nerved; lemmas 5-8 mm long, keeled, the keels fringed with hairs above, awned, the awns about 1 mm long; paleas nearly equal to the lemmas, long-pointed, nerved, the nerves fringed with short hairs; lodicules short, membranous, scarcely 0.5 mm long; anthers about 4 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Mid Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Spring to Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Mesic meadows, Garry oak woodlands, pastures, roadsides and disturbed sites in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; common in S BC, less frequent in N BC; introduced from Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Dactylis glomerata

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 2 915 2006
Slope Gradient (%) 0 14 84
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 164 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 3 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BG(2), CDF(10), CWH(15), ESSF(10), ICH(15), IDF(85), MS(37), PP(13), SBPS(2), SBS(6), SWB(1)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References