Cynodon dactylon
Cynodon dactylon 2.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Cynodon
C. dactylon
Binomial name
Cynodon dactylon
    • Agrostis bermudiana Tussac. ex Kunth nom. inval.
    • Agrostis filiformis J.Koenig ex Kunth nom. inval.
    • Agrostis linearis Retz.
    • Agrostis stellata Willd.
    • Capriola dactylon (L.) Kuntze
    • Capriola dactylon (L.) Hitchc.
    • Chloris cynodon Trin. nom. illeg.
    • Chloris maritima Trin.
    • Chloris paytensis Steud.
    • Cynodon affinis Caro & E.A.Sánchez
    • Cynodon aristiglumis Caro & E.A.Sánchez
    • Cynodon aristulatus Caro & E.A.Sánchez
    • Cynodon barberi f. longifolia Join
    • Cynodon decipiens Caro & E.A.Sánchez
    • Cynodon distichloides Caro & E.A.Sánchez
    • Cynodon erectus J.Presl
    • Cynodon glabratus Steud.
    • Cynodon grandispiculus Caro & E.A.Sánchez nom. inval.
    • Cynodon hirsutissimus (Litard. & Maire) Caro & E.A.Sánchez
    • Cynodon iraquensis Caro
    • Cynodon laeviglumis Caro & E.A.Sánchez
    • Cynodon linearis Willd.
    • Cynodon maritimus Kunth
    • Cynodon mucronatus Caro & E.A.Sánchez
    • Cynodon nitidus Caro & E.A.Sánchez
    • Cynodon occidentalis Willd. ex Steud. nom. inval.
    • Cynodon pascuus Nees
    • Cynodon pedicellatus Caro
    • Cynodon polevansii Stent
    • Cynodon portoricensis Willd. ex Steud. nom. inval.
    • Cynodon repens Dulac nom. illeg.
    • Cynodon sarmentosus Gray nom. illeg.
    • Cynodon scabrifolius Caro
    • Cynodon stellatus Willd.
    • Cynodon tenuis Trin.
    • Cynodon umbellatus (Lam.) Caro
    • Cynosurus dactylon (L.) Pers.
    • Cynosurus uniflorus Walter
    • Dactilon officinale Vill. nom. illeg.
    • Dactylus officinalis Asch. nom. inval.
    • Digitaria ambigua (Lapeyr. ex DC.) Mérat
    • Digitaria dactylon (L.) Scop.
    • Digitaria glumaepatula (Steud.) Miq.
    • Digitaria glumipatula (Steud.) Miq.
    • Digitaria linearis (L.) Pers.
    • Digitaria linearis (Retz.) Spreng.
    • Digitaria littoralis Salisb. nom. illeg.
    • Digitaria maritima (Kunth) Spreng.
    • Digitaria stolonifera Schrad. nom. illeg.
    • Fibichia dactylon (L.) Beck
    • Fibichia umbellata Koeler nom. illeg.
    • Milium dactylon (L.) Moench
    • Panicum ambiguum (DC.) Le Turq.
    • Panicum dactylon L.
    • Panicum glumipatulum Steud.
    • Panicum lineare L.
    • Paspalum ambiguum DC.
    • Paspalum dactylon (L.) Lam.
    • Paspalum umbellatum Lam.
    • Phleum dactylon (L.) Georgi
    • Syntherisma linearis (L.) Nash
    • Vilfa linearis (Retz.) P.Beauv.
    • Vilfa stellata (Willd.) P.Beauv.

Cynodon dactylon, known as Bermuda grass, Dhoob, dūrvā grass, ethana grass, dubo, dog's tooth grass,[2]Bahama grass, devil's grass, couch grass, Indian doab, arugampul, grama, wiregrass and scutch grass, is a grass found worldwide. It is native to Europe, Africa, Australia and much of Asia. It has been introduced to the Americas.[3][4] Although it is not native to Bermuda, it is an abundant invasive species there. In Bermuda it has been known as "crab grass" (also a name for Digitaria sanguinalis).


The blades are a grey-green colour and are short, usually 2–15 cm (0.79–5.91 in) long with rough edges.[5] The erect stems can grow 1–30 cm (0.39–11.81 in) tall. The stems are slightly flattened, often tinged purple in colour.

The seed heads are produced in a cluster of two to six spikes together at the top of the stem, each spike 2–5 cm (0.79–1.97 in) long.[5]

It has a deep root system; in drought situations with penetrable soil, the root system can grow to over 2 metres (6.6 ft) deep, though most of the root mass is less than 60 centimetres (24 in) under the surface. The grass creeps along the ground with its stolons and roots wherever a node touches the ground, forming a dense mat. C. dactylon reproduces through seeds, stolons, and rhizomes. Growth begins at temperatures above 15 °C (59 °F) with optimum growth between 24 and 37 °C (75 and 99 °F); in winter, the grass becomes dormant and turns brown. Growth is promoted by full sun and retarded by full shade, e.g., close to tree trunks.


Cynodon dactylon is widely cultivated in warm climates all over the world between about 30° S and 30° N latitude, and that get between 625 and 1,750 mm (24.6 and 68.9 in) of rainfall a year (or less, if irrigation is available). For example, it is grown in the U.S. mostly in the southern half of the country. Detailed study using experimental animals exhibited anti-stress, adaptogenic activities and improved male fertility.[6]


Hundreds of cultivars have been created specifically for environmental tolerance and stakeholder requirements. New cultivars are released yearly.[7][8]



In India, commonly known as "durva" or dūrvāyugma, this grass is used in the Ayurveda system of medicine.[9] In Hinduism, it is considered important in the worship of Lord Ganesha. It has been a part of Hindu rituals since Vedic times.

A unique festival, called Durva Ashtami, dedicated to the grass is celebrated on the 8th day of Shukla Paksha of Bhadra month of the Hindu calendar.[10]

It is known as "Karuka" in Malayalam and is part of the Dashapushpam (Ten sacred flowers) in Kerala.[11]

This grass is a Yoruba herb used for Esu or Elegba in the Ifá Orisa System.[citation needed]

Medicinal value

The rhizomes are reported to act as a diuretic in humans and the grass juice can act as an astringent.[9]

It has been observed that Cynodon dactylon may be selectively eaten by dogs to swiftly induce vomiting when they have gastrointestinal problems. The effect may be due to irritation caused by bristles on the leaf margin.[9]


It is fast-growing and tough, making it popular and useful for sports fields, as when damaged it will recover quickly. It is a highly desirable turf grass in warm temperate climates, particularly for those regions where its heat and drought tolerance enable it to survive where few other grasses do. This combination makes it a frequent choice for golf courses in the southern and southeastern U.S. It has a relatively coarse-bladed form with numerous cultivars selected for different turf requirements.

Bermuda grass has been cultivated in saline soils in California's Central Valley, which are too salt-damaged to support agricultural crops; it was successfully irrigated with saline water and used to graze cattle.[12][13]

NFL Playing Surfaces

MLB Playing Surfaces


Cynodon dactylon (foreground, the background grass is a separate species) at Peradeniya Royal Botanical Garden
Invasive nature of cynodon dactylon - growing out of a small hole in a concrete curb

Invasive species

It is a highly aggressive invasive species, crowding out most other grasses and invading other habitats, and has become a hard-to-eradicate weed in some areas (it can be controlled somewhat with Triclopyr, Mesotrione, Fluazifop-P-butyl, and Glyphosate).[14][15] This weedy nature leads some gardeners to give it the name of "devil grass". Bermuda grass is incredibly difficult to control in flower beds and most herbicides do not work. However, Ornamec, Ornamec 170, Turflon ester (tricyclopyr), and Imazapyr have shown some effectiveness. All of these items are difficult to find in retail stores, as they are primarily marketed to professional landscapers.[16]

The hybrid variety Tifton 85, like some other grasses (e.g. sorghum), produces cyanide under certain conditions,[17] and has been implicated in several livestock deaths.


  1. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species".
  2. ^ "Iraq". Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  3. ^ "Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science".
  4. ^ "CABI Invasive Species Compendium".
  5. ^ a b Walker, Karen; Burrows, Geoff; McMahon, Lynne (2001). Bidgee bush: an identification guide to common native plant species of the south western slopes of New South Wales. Yarralumla, Australian Capital Territory: Greening Australia. p. 82. ISBN 978-1-875345-61-8. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  6. ^ VR Chidrawar, HR Chitme, KN Patel, NJ Patel, VR Racharla, NC Dhoraji, KR Vadalia, Journal of Young Pharmacists, 2011, 3(1), 26-35
  7. ^ Shi H, Wang Y, Cheng Z, Ye T, Chan Z. Analysis of natural variation in bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) reveals physiological responses underlying drought tolerance. PLoS ONE. 2012;7(12):e53422.
  8. ^ "Warm-Season Grass Breeding". Retrieved 2017-09-13.
  9. ^ a b c Kandwal, Manish K.; Sharma, M. L. (2011). "Cynodon dactylon (L) Pers. : a self-treatment grass for dogs". Current Science. 101 (5): 619–621. JSTOR 24078622. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  10. ^ Majupuria, Trilok Chandra (2009). Religious & useful plants of Nepal & India: (medicinal plants and flowers as mentioned in religious myths and legends of Hinduism and Buddhism). Rohit Kumar (Majupuria). ISBN 978-9937-2-0473-6.
  11. ^ Vijayan Namboothiri, Mini. 'Dashapushpam'- through the looking glasses of Science and Religion. ISBN 978-620-0-31860-2. OCLC 1197284682.
  12. ^ Kaffka, Stephen (2009). "Can feedstock production for biofuels be sustainable in California?" (PDF). California Agriculture. 63 (4): 202–207. doi:10.3733/ca.v063n04p202. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-08-13. Retrieved 2013-06-09.
  13. ^ Stephen Kaffka; Stephen Grattan; Dennis Corwi; Maximo Alonso; George E. Brown Jr. "Bermuda Grass Yield and Quality in Response to Different Salinity and N, Se, Mo, and B Rates in West San Joaquin Valley" (PDF). UC Center for Water Resources.[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ "Tenacity and Bermuda Control -™ - Lawn Care & Landscaping Business Forum". 2011. Retrieved 2013-06-08.
  15. ^ Teuton T.C.; J.B. Unruh; B.J. Brecke; G.L. Miller (2005). "Hybrid Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon (L) Pers. x C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy) Control with Glyphosate and Fluazifop-p-butyl". Applied Turfgrass Science. doi:10.1094/ATS-2005-0119-01-RS. Archived from the original on 2011-03-21.
  16. ^ John Boyd; Brian N. Rodgers. "BERMUDAGRASS CONTROL WITH ARSENAL" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 June 2010.
  17. ^ Provin, T. L.; Pitt, J. L. "Nitrates and Prussic Acid in Forages" (PDF). Texas A&M University System. Retrieved June 24, 2012.

External links