Common Bent - Agrostis capillaris


20 to 50 cm tall, tufted with creeping rhizomes but no leafy stolons. Panicle is purplish brown and always spreading, with whorled branches.

Similar Species

Creeping Bent (Agrostis stolonifera) and Black Bent (Agrostis gigantea)

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

The panicle is branched. Each spikelet contains only one floret usually completely enclosed by its glumes. The inflorescence is very open with widely spaced spikelets which are not awned. The tiller ligule is shorter than wide - i.e. on the non-flowering shoot.

Recording advice

Look at the tiller ligules, not those on a flowering stem.  Photograph whole plant in flower and detail of tiller ligules if possible


Drier and more acid grassland.

When to see it

June to August.

Life History


UK Status

Quite a common grass throughout Britain.

VC55 Status

Quite common in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 388 of the 617 tetrads.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


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

UK Map