Red Top Bent Grass

March 19th, 2012

Latin:  Agrostis gigantea


This is a native species that grows in tilled fields and waste areas.  It occurs primarily in the East of the country and is quite rare in the West.  It grows to about 1.0m tall and spreads by underground rhizomes.  Some plants begin to head (flower) in June but others flower during July and August.


The flowering head is a green to purplish, oblong to ovate, loose panicle that is usually very loose and much branched.


There are several Agrostis species that are used widely in golf course tees and greens but Agrostis gigantea, which has a coarser leaf than many of the other bent species, does not appear to have found favour for this purpose, in Europe at least.


It is not favoured as an agricultural species either but it is important as a constituent of rough, unimproved, grassland.  This is reflected in the name “Agrostis” which comes from the Greek word meaning forage plant which, in turn, stems from “agros” meaning “a field”.

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