Not to be semantically confused with : Hare's-Foot Clover (Trifolium arvense),
Hair's-tail Cotton-grass (Eriophorum vaginatum) or [plants with similar names]
Some similarities to : Hare's-Foot Clover (Trifolium arvense) which, like Hare's-tail Grass, has a very soft similiarly shaped flower spike which is pale mauve to off-white but it grows much lower to just 20cm and has small trefoil leaves. Also to
Hair's-tail Cotton-grass (Eriophorum vaginatum) which has triangular grey scales and a fluffy white cottony but shorter flowering spike also on a thin stem, but it too is shorter. Both lack the long bent awns which protrude well beyond the envelope of the soft fluffy head, a distinguishing feature of Hare's-tail Grass. Also similar is the
Alpine Cat's-tail (Phleum alpinum) which has a usually purplish egg-shaped flowering head spike, but that grows in wet places on mountains.
Uniquely identifiable characteristics: the pale fawn 1 - 4 cm long soft flowering head atop a long stalk and the much longer brown and bent awns.
Distinguishing Feature :
It is a non-native lowland neophyte grown and cultivared in gardens in 1640 for its decorative value but which also grows wild on old sand dunes near the sea, but also inland on waste grounds, walls, pavements and car parks mostly in Souther England. It is short-lived and rarely survives over winter. But it does self-sed itself in the same places.