Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Elymus caninus - Bearded Couch

Elymus caninus 1st Oct 2009
What grass can I choose for November?

Problem solved as I go jogging - usual route - Stainforth - Stainforth Foss, Little Stainforth, Stackhouse and home -

in the twilight, on the road verge just above the Stainforth packhorse bridge I find Elymus caninus - Bearded Couch.  I complete the route clutching a flowering shoot/spike.

Other woodland grasses with which one might confuse it  include:

  • Bromopsis ramosa  Hairy Brome (But that has long very long hairs on the sheaths, and AURICLES) Ec has no auricles.
  • Elymus repens  Couch Grass (But that has rhizomes and grows in patches, not tufts, and has AURICLES) Ec has no rhizomes, and no auricles- though at first sight it might look as though it has them
  • Arrhenatherum elatius (But that usually has orange marks at the root shoot junction, and is knobbly at the base of the shoot) Ec in not knobbly at the base of the shoot and has no orange felcks there.

Elymus caninus - 17 May 2009 6.55 am -
note the time - near river Mole
road bridge at foot of Box Hill

It is VERY similar to last month's (Brachypodium sylvaticum or Wood False-brome):-

  • both grow in woods (and occasionally limestone pavement)
  • both are tufted and medium big
  • both have blades that are narrower at the base than at the middle
  • both have flowerheads that are a spike.
  • both have some hairs on the leaves..

The Elymus has taller sheaths and then especially the top blade comes off stiffly almost and right angles and then droops

Whereas the Brachypodium is MUCH narrower at the base of the blades, the blades grow up at an angle and then droop.

Elymus sheaths are virtually hairless whereas Brachypodium sheaths and nodes are hairy

Elymus Spikes are fairly stiff and the spilkelets (excluding glumes) are about 1cm long and overlap
Brachypodium spikes droop slightly and the spikelets re about 1.5cm long and overlap only slightly. Sometimes the spikelets are on short (1mm) stalks

Elymus caninus - near road bridge of Mole at
Box Hill 16 May 2010 10.26 

21 July 2004 -forget where

The photo above has one shoot of Elymus canuns in the foreground whilst the shoots behind are Brachypodium. It was taken at the viewpoint a th National Trust o fScotlan Centre at Killiecrankie looking down to the river Garry. To the left of the river as we look at it is a railway. The next hoto is of a railway arch, almost directly below these people,
Grasses course students from Kindgrogan -rest overlooking the Garry

Shoot of Elymus caninus.
There is also Elymus caninus shoots behind,
next to the sycamore shrub.

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