categoryZGrasses Grasses List 

HAIR'S-TAIL GRASS

HARESTAIL GRASS

Lagurus ovatus

Grasses Family [Poaceae]

Flowers: 'bob-tail cluster'
month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug

Pappus: pappusZpossible (cream/brown, feathered)
pappus8may pappus8jun pappus8june pappus8jul pappus8july pappus8aug

category
category8Grasses
status
statusZneophyte
flower
flower8cream
flower
flower8brown
inner
inner8white
petals
petalsZ0
type
typeZclustered
type
typeZspiked
stem
stem8round

22nd June 2016, Marine Lake sand-flats, Southport. Photo: © RWD
The thin stems have turned from yellowish-green to fawn, and with it the long grass-like leaves with their inflated sheaths.


22nd June 2016, Marine Lake sand-flats, Southport. Photo: © RWD
Grows up to 60cm high on bare ground by the sea, waste ground when inland, and parks and gardens when sown for ornament. Here on a vegetated sand-dune. Amidst Kidney Vetch much nearer the ground.


22nd June 2016, Marine Lake sand-flats, Southport. Photo: © RWD
The flowering spike is very distinctive with its fawn-coloured dense, fluffy head in the shape of a hare's tail.


22nd June 2016, Marine Lake sand-flats, Southport. Photo: © RWD
The anthers are almost all gone now. The inner consists of a dense mass of hairs which are feathered with a mass of pale hairs 1mm long. The awns are brown, much longer, and are all notably bent at an open c. 120° angle. The flower-spike is soft to the touch like an artists paint brush.


22nd June 2016, Marine Lake sand-flats, Southport. Photo: © RWD
Long, brown, bristly awns are bent at a characteristic angle.


22nd June 2016, Marine Lake sand-flats, Southport. Photo: © RWD
The inner hairs are brown but with pale-fawn coloured hairs all around like a miniature test-tube cleaning brush. The hairs are about 1mm long. There is an anther or two in the photo.


22nd June 2016, Marine Lake sand-flats, Southport. Photo: © RWD
The inner compound hairs.


Not to be semantically confused with : Hare's-Foot Clover (Trifolium arvense), Hair's-tail Cottongrass (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 Cottongrass (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.


  Lagurus ovatus  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Poaceae  

Distribution
 family8Grasses family8Poaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Lagurus
Lagurus
(Hair's-Tail)

HAIR'S-TAIL GRASS

HARESTAIL GRASS

Lagurus ovatus

Grasses Family [Poaceae]