Plant Guide > Grasses > Crested Dogs Tail Grass

Crested Dogs Tail Grass


Cynosurus cristatus L.

The rough, narrow, spike-like panicles of Crested Dog's-tail are seldom found save in waste places and by waysides, since this grass, as yet, has hardly become naturalized in America.

It is a slender species and differs from our common grasses in that it bears both sterile and perfect spikelets which are arranged in clusters.

In the perfect flowers the scales are much broader than are the rough scales of the sterile spikelets.

As the roots of the Crested Dog's-tail penetrate deeply into the earth the leaves remain fresh and green when other grasses are partially withered, and Sinclair, who carried on extensive researches in the study of English grasses, found this species to yield a large part of the herbage of the most celebrated pastures he examined in that country.

The grass blooms in midsummer, and so fine and strong are the slender stems that in foreign countries, when material for straw-plaiting is gathered, taller grasses are passed by for this, which is said to be much used in the making of Leghorn hats.

Crested Dog's-tail. Dog's-tail Grass. Cynosurus cristatus L.

Perennial. Introduced from Europe.

Stem 1-2 1/2 ft. tall, slender, erect. Ligule very short. Leaves 1'-5' long, 1/2"-2" wide, flat.

Spike-like Panicle 2'-4' long, narrow. Spikelets of two kinds in small clusters; lower spikelets of the clusters larger, consisting of several or many rough, narrow, empty scales; upper spikelets consisting of a few sharp-pointed, broader scales enclosing perfect flowers; flowering scales about 1 1/2" long. Stamens 3.

Fields, waysides, and waste places. June to August.

Newfoundland to Ontario, south to New Jersey.