Couch

Elytrigia repens

About

Common Couch is an abundant, tuft-forming grass of cultivated ground, waste ground, roadside verges and other rough ground. It has long, tough roots and can spread from under hedges and at the edge of field margins into crops, becoming a nuisance to farmers. It can form dense stands that shade out other grasses and plants, but also provides foodplants for the larvae of Speckled Wood and Ringlet Butterflies.

How to identify

Common Couch has green, fat, blade-like leaves, but long, thin flower spikes that appear from June to August. Tiny, golden spikelets appear at the ends of the stems in rows.

Where to find it

Widespread.

Habitats

When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Many of our so-called 'weeds' are beneficial to wildlife, providing seeds and nectar for birds and insects, and shelter for minibeasts. Try leaving wilder areas in your garden, such as patches of longer grasses in your lawn and Stinging Nettles near the compost heap, and see who comes to visit... To find out more about wildlife-friendly gardening, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.

Species information

Common name
Couch
Latin name
Elytrigia repens
Category
Grasses
Statistics
Height: up to 1.5m
Conservation status
Common.