Friday, 19 June 2015

30 Days Wild | Day 19 - attempts at grass identification

Well, I missed a day yesterday :o( I had planned something to do for 30 Days Wild on day 18 but things were a bit hectic and I forgot. Oh well! Onwards to day 19, on which I have attempted to tackle one of my many knowledge gaps - grass identification. It's the best time of year for this as most grasses are in flower, making identification supposedly comparatively easy. I reckon I can currently probably identify five grass species, all very distinctive ones, and only when they're in flower - so I definitely need to try and build on this!

I thought I would have a go at identifying the grasses in my front garden - it doesn't really have a proper lawn, I don't think it's been sown with a lawn mixture - so I think whatever random grasses are there have probably self-seeded naturally. In the way of identification aids I had an old Observers guide and a brief guide to some common grass species printed off from the internet.

Grasses and identification aids.
I found four grasses which looked like distinct species. The first was one I knew, hurrah!

Yorkshire Fog (Holcus lanatus). I recognise it by its soft fuzzy leaves and purpley-red stripes around the bottom of the stem.
The second one was also fairly easy too, I think someone had probably told me before what it was and it came back to me after inspecting the grass and my book.

Cock's-foot (Dactylis glomerata).
The other two prompted much head-scratching and I still am not sure what they are. They are probably very common species, my Observers guide has some quite good descriptions but many of the pictures are not so helpful, I think I probably need to get a more up-to-date guide with better illustrations! Grass (not to mention sedge and rush) ID is one of the skills I'd wanted to try and work on after I finish my degree, but that won't be until September by which time most grasses will have finished flowering and will have become more cryptic again..... maybe I'll be able to find some time before then.

Mystery grass 1!

Mystery grass 2!

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