Wood Small-reed - Calamagrostis epigejos


A stout, tall plant (60 to 200 cm), its leaves up to 10 mm wide, flat, rough, long-pointed and hairless, with long (to 12 mm), membranous, jagged tipped ligules. Panicles are dense, purplish brown, 15 to 30 cm long. Lemmas awned, with a large basal tuft of hairs longer than lemma

Similar Species

Calamagrostis canescens - Purple Small-reed - a rare woodland plant in VC55 - with hairy not rough leaf uppersides, shorter ligules and shorter basal hair-tuft to lemmas

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

Tall plant, with conspicuous long hair tuft at base of lemma; rough upper-sides to leaves


Damp open woodland and heath grassland - but also brownfield and waste ground 

When to see it

Flowers July and August.

Life History


UK Status

Local frequent in southern and eastern England, more scattered elsewhere and scarce in Scotland.

VC55 Status

Very local in Leicestershire and Rutland, but may be fairly frequent in the areas where it occurs. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 56 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