Wild-oat - Avena fatua

    Alternative names
    Wild Oat

    A tall plant with a loose panicle of large spikelets that droop in fruit. The spikelets are 18 to 25 mm long, mature plants have their lemmas clothed at the base with silky brown hairs, and at least the lowest with a bent awn.

    Similar Species

    Avena sativa.  Other Avena may be cultivated and present as rare aliens.  This is a difficult genus; refer to Stace (4th edn.) for details.

    Identification difficulty
    ID guidance

    Strongly bent awns and lemmas usually hairy at maturity

    Recording advice

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


    Wild Oat is a casual annual of arable land and a pest amongst cereal crops.

    When to see it

    June to September.

    Life History


    UK Status

    Frequent throughout much of Britain.

    VC55 Status

    Common in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 462 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