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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!

22 November, 2015

Wild Oat: sewing but not reaping

It is easy to forget that our modern cereal crops were developed from wild varieties of common grasses. It is when one finds a grass and then identifies it as wild oat (Avena fatua) that this is brought home. Even though the family resemblance is there the wild and the cultivated oat differ in many ways and although related it does not take much wild oat to grow amongst cereal crops to cause problems in harvesting.
Wild oat has very delicate spikelets on fine stemmed branches, several (five or six) emanating from hubs at intervals along the central stem. The spikelets are covered in fine, silky hairs. The sheath-like leaf comes at the bottom of the stem. Flowering from June until September it can be found quite frequently in

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