Cynodon dactylon

bermudagrass, chiendent pied-de-poule, devilgrass, grama-seda, manienie, motie molulu, pata de gallo, bermuda grass


Leaf Arrangement


Leaf Type

cauline, simple

Leaf Shape


Growth Form


Flower Color


Flower Month

April - November

Height (meters)

0.1 - 0.4

Milky Sap








Growing Season

Warm season

Wetland Class


Wetland Coefficient of Conservatism


Prairie Coefficient of Conservatism


Cultural Information

While Roundup herbicide appears to kill this grass, it can be very resistant. Post herbicide is more effective. Commercially harvested seed has a purity of 97 percent, a germination rate of 85 percent, and there are 1,787,000 seeds/lb. The recommended seeding rate is 6-8 lbs/acre.

Animal Use

Animals that eat its seeds: Purple gallinule. Animals that eat the plant and its seed: Canada goose, Cottontail rabbit. Animals that eat the plant: Pocket gopher, White-tailed deer (Martin et al. 1951). Good livestock forage, especially in fertilized pastures. Poor wildlife value.

Natural History

Bermuda grass is cross-fertilized species (USDA 1948). It is one of the most pernicious weeds throughout the state occurring in a wide range of Ph and salinities. It grows almost any place in cities, waste places, and roadsides. Parka (1972) reports it from sandy washes of out-of-the-way canyons below 6,000 feet elevation in Arizona. This troublesome weed is very hard to eradicate when it becomes established in flower beds, non-cultivated crops, and fields, and its pollen is a serious sources of hay fever. It is also commonly used as a summer lawn grasses. It cannot stand freezing temperatures, shade, or frequent cultivation, but can tolerate indefinite periods of drought. It turns brown in winter but greens up soon after the first warm weather in March. A system of hard, sharp-pointed rhizomes beneath the ground, which may be shallow or very deep, contribute to the invasiveness of this grass. from: Bermuda grass originally came from the savannas of Africa and is the common name for all the East African species of Cynodon. It grows in open areas where there are frequent disturbances such as grazing, flooding, and fire. Although most of these species have remained in Africa, today Cynodon dactylon is found in warm climates all over the world between 45° south and 45° north latitude. It can be found growing in pastures and the under stories of open woodlands and orchards. It is called Bermuda grass in the United States because it was introduced from the Bermuda Island. Bermuda grass is a creeping grass, and will creeps along the ground and root where ever a node touches the ground, forming a dense mat. It also reproduces from roots under the ground. It has a deep root system, and in drought situations the root system can grow 47 to 59 inches (120-150 cm) deep. Most of the root mass lies 24 inches (60 cm) under the surface. Its blades are a gray-green color and are short, usually 1 to 4 inches (3-10 cm)long with rough edges. The erect stems can grow 0.3 to 1.3 feet (0.1-0.4 m) tall. The stems are slightly flattened, and an inflorescent purple in color. Bermuda grass reproduces through seeds and through runners and rhizomes. The seed heads are on 1-3 inch (3-7 cm) spikes and are themselves about 2 inches long. Bermuda grass will put out seeds about 3 months after planting. The seeds germinate at temperatures above 68° F (20° C), and begin to grow within 2 weeks. One plant can cover an area of 3 square yards (2.5 sqm.) in just 150 days after germinating. Bermuda grass can grow in poor soil. During droughts the upper parts die off, but the grass will keep growing from its rhizomes. It prefers moist and warm climates, and where there is more than 16 inches (410 mm) of rainfall a year. Bermuda grass is an early successional grass, and is first to grow back after grass fires, which burn quite often on the African savanna. To the Hindu in India, Bermuda grass was a sacred grass because it fed their sacred cows. In ancient Roman days they squeezed the juice from the stems and used it as a diuretic and astringent to stop bleeding. Bermuda grass is considered a very invasive and competitive weed. Few herbicides are effective against it. Before mechanized farm machinery, Bermuda grass was the farmer's worst weed. However, back then it saved thousands of acres of farm soil from erosion. It was the most widely grown pasture and turf grass in the South. Bermuda grass is highly nutritional for cattle and can be fed to sheep. 2002


Fields, roadsides, and waste places.