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collage of Orchard Grass and Common Velvetgrass

Orchard Grass (Dactylis glomerata) vs. Common Velvetgrass (Holcus lanatus)

Updated June 29th, 2024

These grasses, both introduced and invasive in North America, are easily confused as they are similar in height, often have bluish foliage, have largely overlapping bloom times. They can be easily distinguished by the presence or absence of pubescence, by their ligules, and by the structure of their inflorescences. Holcus lanatus prefers wetter conditions, benefits more from disturbance, and can be found in wetlands, whereas Dactylis glomeratus ranges farther into the interior of the continent, persist longer in undisturbed habitats, and is not usually found in wetlands but ranges into drier conditions.

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