Plant Guide > Grasses > Bermuda Grass

Bermuda Grass


Cynodon Dactylon (L.) Pers.

In the beauty of old mythology, when the white clouds were cattle driven through the wide pasture of the sky, the sacred Vedas celebrated Bermuda Grass as the "Shield of India," and "Preserver of Nations," a plant sacred to the Hindoos, as without it the herds would perish and famine consume the people.

The twentieth century, with face turned trafficward, notices Bermuda Grass merely as "the most valuable forage grass of the Southern States."

A lover of heat and sunshine, this grass is seldom found in the North, but from southern New York State to the Gulf the short, fingerlike spikes are not uncommon in dry soil where the low stems rise bearing narrow leaves which are crowded at the base of the stems and on the prostrate runners.

The blossoming spikes are painted with dark purple stigmas, and Sir William Jones, in his "Asiatic Researches," long ago praised the extraordinary beauty of the flowers. Spreading extensively over the surface of the ground, the plant is tenacious of life, even during the driest seasons, and is highly valued as a lawn-brass in the South.

Seed is rarely produced north of the Gulf States, but the runners often grow over rocks six feet across, or down precipitous embankments, and are most useful in holding arid and shifting sands.

Bermuda Grass. Scutch-grass. Cynodon Dactylon (L.) Pers.

Perennial, extensively creeping. Naturalized from Europe.

Stem 6'-24' tall, erect. Ligule composed of soft hairs. Leaves 1'-2 1/2' long, 1/2"-2" wide.

Spikes 3-5, narrow, 1-3' long, spreading from the summit of stem. Spikelets 1-flowered, about 1" long, borne on one side of the spike. Scales 3; outer scales acute, slightly unequal, rough on keels; flowering scale longer and broader; palet slightly shorter than flowering scale. Rachilla prolonged. Stamens 3. Stigmas purple.

Fields and sandy soil. June to September.

Southern New York to Florida and Texas.