Yorkshire-fog - Holcus lanatus

Alternative names
Yorkshire Fog

Tufted grass to 100 cm, softly greyish hairy throughout, the inflorescence often with a purplish pink tinge, especially when young. The base of the stem has a striped pink appearance, known jokingly as 'pink striped pyjamas'

Similar Species

Similar to Holcus mollis but that species has more or less hairless stems whereas Holcus lanatus has downy stems. The node hairs of Holcus lanatus are not as long as those of Holcus mollis. The two species do hybridise to give Holcus x hybridus.

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

The panicle is branched. Each spikelet contains two florets which when closed are completely enclosed by the glumes, one of which is shortly awned. The whole plant is softly downy.


In all types of grassland, roadside verges and waste ground.

When to see it

May to July.

Life History


UK Status

Very common throughout Britain.

VC55 Status

Very common in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 596 of the 617 tetrads.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


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

UK Map