Wild Oats

There was a big patch of this growing in an area of rough ground amongst all the hogweed, nettles and Rosebay Willow Herb. I’m pretty sure it’s Wild Oats rather than Tame Oats(cultivated oats) which is what I thought it was at first. I can tell because of the hairy lemmas in the spikelets and a number of other pointers. Attractive looking.

You can see from the thickness of the stems that this is a big grass. 6ft tall. Unfortunately the wind and rain has flattened it. The modern varieties of cereals like wheat, barley and oats have been bred for short stems and it’s easy to forget how tall they were in the past. I read a book about the Battle of Waterloo and it described how the armies sent raiding parties against one another hidden in the tall wheat crops over six feet tall.
Notice the long spikes from the spikelets. These are called Awns.

Grass and Timothy (again)

I went for a walk around the place and took a couple of pictures you might like.

This is what our hay field looks like at the moment. Still a few buttercups around. Most of the grass has turned to seed now. Those little black dots in the foreground are the seed heads of buttercups.
This is what Timothy looks like when it’s in flower. A thousand tiny flower all making pollen. No wonder it’s the hay fever season.
If you look carefully at this one you can see a tiny hoverfly just heading in.


Creeping Soft grass

I found a patch of this distinctive looking grass. It’s distinctive because at each node there is a fringe of white hairs – called a beard in the book. Since the grass has lots of nodes it has a look almost like a thin green bamboo. The leaves are short. Wide at the bottom where it joins the stem and then narrows quickly like a long thin triangle. In most of the grasses I’ve looked at the stems have few leaves and all the leaves cluster around the bottom. In this grass there are leaves every few inches all the way up the stems.

This patch had a very distinctive spiky look which caught my attention.
You see in this picture the kind of bamboo effect with all the white nodes and leaf joints.
While I was taking pictures there were loads of grasshoppers around. I managed to get this one in the picture. They don’t stay still for long.
You can see the short triangle shaped leaves in this picture.
If you expand this picture you can see the beard of white airs around the node.

Compact Rush

This is not a grass but a Rush but it’s in my grass book which includes Grasses, Sedges, Rushes and Ferns. I always associate rushes with bogs and wetlands but this is growing in a patch of land which gets very wet in winter by dries out completely in the summer. It appears as a spiky hump. The flowers seem to grow part way up the stem but according to the book the ‘stem’ above the flower is actually a bracht.



Timothy is a great name for a species of grass, like having a species of tree called Reginald or Malcolm. Anyway, this is Timothy and is pretty easy to recognize with those long sausage shaped heads. They remind me of those sausages on sticks I’ve seen being sold on the street in South Korea.

Timothy looks similar to Meadow Foxtail which I posted back in May so you have to look at the shape of the spikelets. Also the flowering time for Timothy is later in the year. It’s a very common species added to fodder grass mixtures.

A nice healthy looking thistle growing next to this one.

Creeping Bent Grass

I think this is Creeping Bent Grass but it might possibly be Common Bent Grass. This is mainly because of the shape of the Ligules. Ligules are a little tag on the inside of the leaf where it joins onto the stem. The shape and size of the ligule is one of the features which help to identify the grass.

When the grass is in flower it looks like a kind of hazy, smokiness hanging over the rest of the grass because the spikelets are very small. Everything about this grass is fine and dainty.

The grass on the left is the same grass as the one on the right except that the panicles haven’t opened yet.
This panicle is halfway open.
Here the Creeping Bent Grass is growing among some other coarser grass.

Perennial Ryegrass

I didn’t need the book to recognize this one. It must be in almost every utility grass mixture. The spiky, wiry heads remind me of dry summers where the grass is scorched and all you can see are these thin, tough stems sticking up everywhere.

The heads are flat with the spikelets arranged alternately on either side of the stem, edgewise on.


False Oat -Grass

This is a very tall grass. The ones I looked at were over 120cm tall. The flower heads are distinctive and spiky looking. Look out for the ‘Awns’. An Awn is a needle like thing sticking out from the spikelet. Awns can be long, short, bent, may not be there at all and is one of the things used to identify the grass. I’ll highlight it in the pictures below. The panicle is whorled.

In this pictures you can see the awn sticking out like a needle.
This is what the head looks like before it opens. Even here you can see the spiny awns.

Tufted Hair Grass

I had already posted Tufted Hair Grass but it turned out my identification was wrong and what it really was was Annual Meadow Grass. That’s now been corrected. This is the real Tufted Hair Grass. It grows in big clumps looking a bit like the clumps of grass you see on sand dunes with the needle like stems and leaves radiating out like a grass fountain. It’s tall and the thing which struck me was how it changes its appearance when the panicles open out. You can see that in the following pictures.

In this picture the panicles are still closed. They look attractive like this
In this picture the panicle has opened and it’s in flower.
A better view so you can see the shape of the open panicle.
This is the base of the clump – dense with all the shoots and leaves radiation from the centre. The blobby shapes at the front are Cock’s Foot heads.

Cock’s Foot – again

I was watching as a fly sitting on some flowering Cock’s Foot suddenly took off and kicked off a huge cloud of pollen. At this time of year it’s bad news for hay fever sufferers. The Cock’s foot which I posted about a while ago is now in full flower. Some of it is pale yellow and some is purplish.

This is what it looked like a couple of weeks ago. The panicles have spread out but the flowers are not open. The heads feel hard and rough.
Now it feels soft and producing huge amounts of pollen.