Dog's-Grass, or Couch-grass, or Couch-wheat, Triticum repens, L. is an indigenous, peren-. nial plant, which grows on arable lands; it is also frequently found near the sea-coast, and continues in flower from June to September.
This is an extremely troublesome weed, as every joint of its fibres will grow; and so very luxuriant is its vegetation, that a single small joint, when transplanted, has been found to cover a superficial square yard of land, in twelve months. - Various remedies have been tried to eradicate it; but the most successful is that of laying the land fallow, in a dry summer; and frequently harrowing it to draw out the roots: where this is carefully practised, the soil may be so completely cleared of them, in one summer, that the remaining roots will not materially injure the future crop. A still more effectual mode of extirpating them, is to sow on such land, only those vegetables which require the horse-hoeing culture; for, where the soil can be frequently stirred, or harrowed, that operation will considerably tend to clear it from the roots of this grass, and also of many other noxious weeds.
At Naples, the roots of the couch-grass are collected in large quantities, and sold in the market, as food for horses. They have also been successfully tried in Britain, for the same purpose ; and may be safely substituted for oats; as horses prefer them to the latter. They possess a sweet taste, somewhat similar to that of liquorice 5 and, when dried and ground to meal, have in times of scarcity been converted into bread. - Cows,goats,and sheep, eat the leaves, which are also occasionally swallowed by dogs, instinctively to excite vomiting, and to cool their hot blood.
Decoctions of the roots of couch-grass are used in medicine, and reputed to be aperient, diuretic, and of considerable service against the stone in the bladder. The juice of the leaves and stalks was greatly esteemed by BOERHAAVE, who recommended it to be drunk in con-siderable quantites, by patients troubled with obstructions in the viscera; particularly in cases of scirrhous liver, and in the jaundice.. Cattle frequently have indurated livers in the winter: hence they should, early in the spring, be turned out into this grass, which will effectually cure the disorder.