Paspalum distichum L.

Water Couch

Syst. Nat., edn 10, 855 (1759) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Semi-aquatic, long-rhizomatous and stoloniferous perennial. Culms erect or ascending, to c. 60 cm high; nodes of prostrate stems often hairy. Leaves mostly distichous; blade flat, to 20 cm long and 7 mm wide, glabrous or ciliate along margins near base; sheath ciliate along margins; ligule truncate, c. 1 mm long. Panicle forked, racemes 2–6 cm long. Spikelets shortly pedicellate, in two rows, elliptic, 2.5–3.5 mm long, acute; lower glume absent or rudimentary, to c. 1 mm long; upper glume 3–6-nerved (mid-vein sometimes developed) as long as spikelet, sparsely covered with fine appressed hairs; lower lemma 3–5-nerved, equal to upper glume; fertile lemma slightly shorter than spikelet, slightly rounded dorsally, firm, smooth or minutely ridged longitudinally. Flowers Feb.–May.

*CVU, *DunT, *EGL, *EGU, *GipP, *Glep, *Gold, *HNF, *HSF, *MuF, *MuM, *MSB, *NIS, *OtP, *OtR, *RobP, *Strz, *VRiv, *VVP, *WaP, *Wim. Naturalized in all States except NT, Tas. Native in many tropical and warm-temperate countries, but apparently introduced in Australia. Fairly common, bordering rivers, marshes, swamps and on well-watered, cultivated land. Generally found in or near fresh water, but tolerates a degree of brackishness.

Sometimes considered native in Victoria (and some other parts of Australia), but its restriction to mainly disturbed habitats and its otherwise near-tropical known natural occurrence strongly suggests that it is an introduction here.

Source: Walsh, N.G. (1994). Poaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 2, Ferns and Allied Plants, Conifers and Monocotyledons. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Neville Walsh, 2019-06-26
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Lilianae
order Poales
family Poaceae
genus Paspalum
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Paspalum distichum in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Paspalum distichum in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Murray Mallee present naturalised
Wimmera present naturalised
Glenelg Plain present naturalised
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Victorian Riverina present naturalised
Murray Scroll Belt present naturalised
Robinvale Plains present naturalised
Murray Fans present naturalised
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Otway Plain present naturalised
Warrnambool Plain present naturalised
Goldfields present naturalised
Central Victorian Uplands present naturalised
Dundas Tablelands present naturalised
Northern Inland Slopes present naturalised
East Gippsland Lowlands present naturalised
East Gippsland Uplands present naturalised
Highlands-Southern Fall present naturalised
Highlands-Northern Fall present naturalised
Otway Ranges present naturalised
Strzelecki Ranges present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory