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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!

29 November, 2015

False Oat-grass: the tall meadow oat

By venturing into the world of oat-grasses I am entering difficult territory! In my view this is really the domain of experts and that is something I am not; not even close. The problem is that there are four oat-grass species commonly found in Southern England and whilst the pictures in the books show them as being different trying to distinguish them in the field, even with a book to refer to, is a tricky business.
False oat-grass (Arrhenatherum elatius) has "stems, sometimes swollen at the base. The spikelets are shining with two florets and a long, straight awn. Leaves with a blunt ligule" (Wild Flowers of Britain and Ireland by Marjorie Blamey, Richard Fitter and Alastair Fitter.) I rest my case, I frankly struggle with that even though I reckon I know what spikelets, florets, awns and ligules are.
Flowering from May through until September you can find false oat-grass on roadside verges, waste ground, meadows and other 'grassy' places. It can also colonise limestone cliffs and scree and

Read more: False Oat-grass: the tall meadow oat