Slow and steady

Moving slowly through the UK countryside

Little green flowers…


I spent today on a workshop practising identifying grasses and sedges.  They aren’t the easiest things to identify, as they pretty much all have tiny green flowers, but once you get the hang of how they are put together (and learn a bit of vocabulary, so the books make sense) they aren’t too bad at all.  Honestly.  🙂

We went out for a walk round the nature reserve (bit of Juneathon activity in there!), and found a wide range of grasses and sedges.  I’ll see if I can list them, to see how many we found.

Couch, Perennial rye-grass, Rough meadow-grass, Annual meadow-grass, Yorkshire fog, Red fescue, Floating sweet-grass, Cock’s-foot, Barren brome, Soft brome, False brome, Yellow oat-grass, False oat-grass, Tufted hair-grass, Sweet vernal-grass, Creeping soft-grass, Wood millet, a Bent-grass and Crested dog’s-tail.  19 grasses!

Pale sedge, Pendulous sedge, Remote sedge, Oval sedge, Spiked sedge and Wood sedge. 6 sedges

And on the way home I also found Hairy brome and Glaucous sedge.

The biggest problem is that it is so hard to remember the distinguishing features from one year to the next, so with the sedges I have to start from the beginning again every year.  Grasses seem easier, but that’s probably because I started getting familiar with them when I was younger, so it’s harder for my memory to lose them.  I grew up on the North Downs and it wasn’t really the right place to find many sedges – too dry.

Barren Brome spikelet

A single spikelet of Barren Brome (Anisantha sterilis). Each of the long points sticking out is an awn, on the end of a lemma, and inside each lemma will be a single seed. Barren Brome is not a very appropriate name!

Barren Brome

A panicle (flower-head) of Barren Brome – lots of spikelets.

Tufted hair-grass

Tufted Hair-grass (Deschampsia cespitosa) with beautiful silvery flower-heads.  Apparently the German name for this grass is something like ‘Pin-stripe suit grass’, because of the stripes on the leaves.  I liked that, and I think it’s easier to remember than the English name.

Pale Sedge

Pale Sedge (Carex pallescens) – pale rounded fruits, and apparently the crimped bract (leaf-like blade) is typical

Glaucous Sedge

Glaucous Sedge (Carex flacca) – blue-green underside to the leaves, but brighter above. I have seen this so many times, but still have to look it up every time I find it.


Author: Hedwigia

Gardener, wildlife geek, and very slow runner.

4 thoughts on “Little green flowers…

  1. I’ve always liked the word ‘sedge’. It was a doomish sound. It crops up in La Belle Dame Sans Merci to dramatic effect.

  2. …has a doomish sound… Sorry. Bit of essential oil in the eye!

  3. Amazing! I didn`t know there were so many different types of grass. I can well imagine that lot are hard to remember. Thank you for your wildflower spotting on my blog! I really appreciate your sharing your passion and expertise.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s