Saturday, 20 August 2016

Agrostis canina - Velvet Bent

Velvet Bent has a typical Agrostis "Christmas tree panicle with tiny spikelets", but the spikelets usually have awns  (Use a lens).  The leaves are narrow, usually less than 2mm wide, and the ligules are long and narrow. 

The emerging leaf is rolled and hairless (as in nearly all other Agrostis species)

Agrostis canina grows in damp/wet low nutrient places, - 
often with rushes.  

It has stolons with several shoots growing at each node- so the shoots and leaves are slender and tiny. With so many shoots and leaves growing close together it looks like velvet.

It is easier to observe this late in the summer, when the stolons with their side shoots have had time to grow.

A. canina at Thornton Ellers (Lower Derwent Valley NNR)
20 July 2016

A. canina at Thornton Ellers

Comparison with similar species:- 

Agrostis stolonifera also has stolons. It has one side shoot per stolon node, and its blades are usually greater than 2mm wide, whereas:
  Agrostis canina has several shoots per stolon node and the blades are less than 2mm wide.

A. canina at Straloch Moraine, Kindrogan July 2016,
growing amongst rushes.

Closer view

From my experience the panicles are often a little more  open than the extremely similar panicles of Agrostis vinealis.
However A vinealis has short rhizomes, with about 3 white scales on the rhizome before it turns upwards and forms a new  green leafy shoot.

Agrostis vinealis - Brown Bent


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