Authors: C. Stace, R. van der Meijden (ed.) & I. de Kort (ed.)
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Scientific name:

Elytrigia repens

Vernacular name:

Couch, Common


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Elymus scabrus - Couch, Australian
Elytrigia atherica - Couch, Sea

Common Couch

Scientific name: Elytrigia repens (L.) Desv. ex Nevski

Diagnostic features
Culms to 1.5m.
Leaves mostly flat when fresh, green or glaucous, basal ones 3-10mm wide, upper ones 2-8.5mm wide, with fine well-spaced ribs (usually with few long hairs) on upperside.
Spikes up to 20(30)cm.
Spikelets 10-20mm, spikelets contiguous to rather distant, with 3-8 florets.
Glumes 7-12mm, acute to subobtuse, unawned or rarely awned, with 3-7 veins.
Lemmas 8-13mm, obtuse to narrowly acute, awnless or with awn rarely up to 15mm (Elytrigia repens var. aristata (Döll) P.D. Sell).

Chromosome number: 2n=42.

Habitat
Native; cultivated, waste and rough ground.

Distribution
Abundant throughout British Isles, including a range of maritime habitats.

This species is keyed out on Page 389 in the Text Key.

Hybrids
- Elytrigia x drucei Stace (= Elytrigia repens x Elytrigia atherica) (Synonym: Elytrigia x oliveri auct. non (Druce) Kerguélen) occurs with the parentsin scattered places round the coasts of Britain from South England to North Scotland and in Southwest Ireland, but is probably not common; it has intermediate leaf-ribs and sheath-margin pubescence, and is sterile, with indehiscent anthers and empty pollen.
- Elytrigia x laxa (Fr.) Kerguélen (= Elytrigia repens x E Elytrigia juncea) (Synonyms: Elymus x laxus (Fr.) Melderis & D.C. McClint., Agropyron x laxum (Fr.) Tutin) occurs rather frequently with the parents on coasts of Britain North of Merioneth and Southeast Yorks, and on the coasts of Ireland and Channel Islands, but is rare in South 1/2 of Britain; it is sterile and has a tardily breaking smooth or slightly scabrid rhachis, distant lower spikelets, and conspicuously scabrid to ± pubescent leaf-ribs. Chromosome number: 2n=35. Distinguished from Elytrichya x obtusiuscula (see Elytrigia atherica) by the glabrous free margin of the sheaths.

Intergeneric hybrids
- See Elytrordeum(X) langei (K. Richt.) Hyl. (= Elytrigia repens x Hordeum secalinum)

Elytrigia repens (Couch, Common)
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