Bearded Couch - Elymus caninus


    A tufted grass without runners or creeping rhizomes, 30 to 100 cm tall. It is distinguished by the long (7 to 20 mm) awns to its lemmas.

    Similar Species

    Brachypodium sylvaticum, Lolium. Couch grass (Elymus repens) is usually in a different habitat

    Identification difficulty
    ID guidance

    Simple spike with 1 spikelet per node.  Spikelet strongly flattened, alternating up the rhachis with the broad flat side against it (unlike Lolium which has spikelets narrow edgewise to the rhachis, and Brachypodium which is slightly flattened, and often narrow edge wise to rhachis.  Lemmas with long awns..


    Recording advice

    The County Recorder has asked for a specimen of this plant to be retained for verification


    Wooded and shaded areas and river banks.

    When to see it

    June to August.

    Life History


    UK Status

    Much less frequent than the related Elytrigia repens it is widespread in Britain but less so around the south-east coast of England and the far north of Scotland.

    VC55 Status

    Fairly frequent in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 105 of the 617 tetrads.

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    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

    Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
    Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

    UK Map