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PURPLE MOOR-GRASS

Molinia caerulea

Grasses Family [Poaceae]

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2nd Sept 2011, below Pen Y Gurnos, Elenwydd Wilderness, Mid Wales. Photo: © RWD
A densely tufted perennial occupying acidic upland moist moors and wet heaths.


2nd Sept 2011, below Pen Y Gurnos, Elenwydd Wilderness, Mid Wales. Photo: © RWD
Just under a metre tall, with a long narrow purple spike.


2nd Sept 2011, below Pen Y Gurnos, Elenwydd Wilderness, Mid Wales. Photo: © RWD
Spikelets number between 1 and 4. Stem mid-green and stiff, almost reed-like.


2nd Sept 2011, below Pen Y Gurnos, Elenwydd Wilderness, Mid Wales. Photo: © RWD
Many short (<5cm) branches in the flowering spike.


2nd Sept 2011, below Pen Y Gurnos, Elenwydd Wilderness, Mid Wales. Photo: © RWD
Greenish turning mauvish lemnas without awns. Deep purple to beetroot coloured χ-chromosome-shaped anthers on thin white ribbon-like stamens.


2nd Sept 2011, below Pen Y Gurnos, Elenwydd Wilderness, Mid Wales. Photo: © RWD
The small fluffy off-white conglomerate of hairs are the stigmas.


Sub-species :

  • Molinia cearulea ssp. cearulea occupies heaths, moors, fens, mountain grassland, cliffs and lake shores but always on ground that is seasonally wet. Shorter in most aspects than ssp. arundinacea
  • Molinia cearulea ssp. arundinacea occupies fens, fen-scrub, fen-typevegetation by canals nd rivers but seemingly not acidic places like the above. Longer in most aspects than ssp. cearulea.

It is highly probable that the species shown above is that of Molinia cearulea ssp. cearulea since it is on upland acidic moors.

Due to the dense tussocks it forms it survives moorland fires relatively un-scathed. It flowers later than other species, between July and September.

Unlike the much shorter Blue Moor-Grass which grows on limestone grassland, Purple moor-grass grows on acidic mountain moors. Paradoxically, both are purple, in particular, Blue Moor-grass is not blue!


  Molinia caerulea  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Poaceae  

Distribution
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 BSBI maps
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Molinia
(Purple Moor-Grass)

PURPLE MOOR-GRASS

Molinia caerulea

Grasses Family [Poaceae]

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