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About Me

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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

04 October, 2015

Giant Fescue: just shading it

How big does something have to be to be considered a giant? I guess it needs to tower over its relatives? Well, giant fescue (Festuca gigantea) grows to around 1.5m whereas tall fescue tops that at 2.0m. Still, English common names are often misleading and 1.5m or five feet tall is pretty gigantic compared to many grasses.
Superficially giant and tall fescues are similar in structure but the florescence of giant fescue opens out in to a lovely spray of almost oat-like hairy florets. Close inspection reveals various differences between these two species and the experts will tell them apart readily. For me, though, it comes down to the fact that tall fescue is a plant of grasslands and is also frequently in sunny hedgerows whereas giant fescue prefers shady places like woods and the dark side of hedges. This difference in habitat preference is not a total clincher but it is a good start!
Recent research has indicated that this may not actually be a member of the fescue family and there is some debate

Read more: Giant Fescue: just shading it