Water Bent - Polypogon viridis

Alternative names
Beardless Rabbitsfoot Grass

A sturdy grass with dense but interrupted panicles of pale green to purplish flowers, the glumes and lemma without awns. Trailing stems, 60 to100 cm, rooting at nodes. Ligule is oblong with a lobed membrane.

Similar Species

Creeping Bent, Agrostis stolonifera

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

The panicle is branched. Each spikelet contains only one floret usually completely enclosed by its glumes. The inflorescence branches close together after flowering, and have closely spaced spikelets which are not awned. It is in a different genus from Creeping Bent, with even more crowded spikelets that sometimes lead to the description that the panicle is lobed.

Recording advice

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


Found as a casual on tips and damp waste ground, it is spreading as a weed of nurseries, gardens and pavement cracks often favouring main roads and urban areas.

When to see it

Flowering June to September.

Life History

A short-lived, stoloniferous perennial, often flowering in first year.

UK Status

An alien that is swiftly spreading in Britain.

VC55 Status

Increasingly common in Leicestershire and Rutland. It was not recorded in the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire.

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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