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The Gigantic Grass Identification Quiz (UK)

How many UK native grasses can you identify?? Are you a Giant Fescue or a Hairy Brome? 40 questions to test, tease and entertain. The Field Guide to Grasses, Sedges and Rushes is now available to order from The Species Recovery Trust.

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  1. 1. A spiky flower. But which grass does it belong to?

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Sweet Vernal Grass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Common Bent
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Red Fescue
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Squirrel-tail Fescue
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Sweet Vernal Grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum)

    Sweet Vernal Grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum)
  2. 2. Another spiky one. This grass is found on good quality calcareous grassland and occasionally dunes

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Common Bent
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Common Couch
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Crested Hairgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Annual beard-grass
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Crested Hairgrass (Koeleria macrantha)

    Crested Hairgrass (Koeleria macrantha)
  3. 3. Bit harder...

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Common Bent
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Tufted Hairgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Wood Millet
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Quaking Grass
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Common Bent (Agrostis capillaris)

    Common Bent (Agrostis capillaris)
  4. 4. A funny little stiff thing...

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Crested dog's-tail
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Sheep's Fescue
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Fern Grass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Italian Ryegrass
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Fern Grass (Catapodium rigidum)

    Fern Grass (Catapodium rigidum)
  5. 5. This one doesn't always look this closed up...

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Cock's-foot
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Crested Dog's-tail
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Sweet Vernal-grass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Timothy
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Cock's-foot (Dactylis glomerata)

    Here it is when it's open...

    Cock's-foot (Dactylis glomerata)
  6. 6. Not much to go on with this one...

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Rough Meadow-grass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Red Fescue
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Yellow Oatgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Tufted Hairgrass
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Red Fescue (Festuca rubra)

    Red Fescue (Festuca rubra)
  7. 7. Not rare, but you don't see it that often...

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Meadow Barley
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Sweet Vernal-grass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Annual Beardgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Yellow Oatgrass
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Meadow Oatgrass (Hordeum secalinum)

    Meadow Oatgrass (Hordeum secalinum)
  8. 8. Bit of a northerly one...

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Purple Moor-grass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Reed Canary-grass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Blue Moor-grass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Smaller Cat's-tail
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Blue Moor-grass (Sesleria caerulea)

    Blue Moor-grass (Sesleria caerulea)
  9. 9. This one is spectacular when it opens up...

    Correct
    Incorrect
    False Oatgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Reed Sweetgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Smooth Meadow-grass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Yellow Oatgrass
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Yellow Oatgrass (Trisetum flavescens)

    Here it is closed up...

    Yellow Oatgrass (Trisetum flavescens)
  10. 10. No clues here...

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Wood Melick
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Wood Millet
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Tufted Hairgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Rough Meadowgrass
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Wood Millet (Milium effusum)

    Wood Millet (Milium effusum)
  11. 11. Common, but still lovely...

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Crested Hairgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    False Oatgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Yorkshire Fog
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Smooth Meadow-grass
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Yorkshire Fog (Holcus lanatus)

    Yorkshire Fog (Holcus lanatus)
  12. 12. Something a bit spiky!

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Perennial Ryegrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Common Couch
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Italian Ryegrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Mat-grass
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Common Couch (Elytrigia repens)

    Common Couch (Elytrigia repens)
  13. 13. This one's gone a bit over...

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Heath Grass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Blue Moor-grass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Timothy
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Perennial Ryegrass
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Heath Grass (Danthonia decumbens)

  14. 14. Ignore the blurry object in the background (no offence to my youngest)

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Yorkshire Fog
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Annual Meadow-grass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Red Fescue
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Smooth Meadow-grass
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Annual Meadow-grass (Poa annua)

    Open head with slightly clumpy florets makes it a Poa, the one-sidedness makes it annua.

    Annual Meadow-grass (Poa annua)
  15. 15. This one has been bent over to help... the head is longer than 6cm.

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Meadow Foxtail
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Cock's-foot
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Timothy
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Sweet Vernal-grass
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Timothy (Phleum pratense)

    See all those little Devil's horns? The Foxtails have just one awn instead of a pair.

    Timothy (Phleum pratense)
  16. 16. Right, so you can do it when they're flowering. What about when they're not?

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Sheep's Fescue
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Wavy Hairgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Fine-leaved Fescue
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Mat-grass
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Mat-grass (Nardus stricta)

    That's Mr. Grass to you...

    Mat-grass (Nardus stricta)
  17. 17. Who are you calling hairy knees?

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Soft Brome
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Creeping Soft-grass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Downy Oatgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Yorkshire Fog
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Creeping Soft-grass (Holcus mollis)

    Creeping Soft-grass (Holcus mollis)
  18. 18. A wet one...

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Reed Sweet-grass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Bulbous Rush
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Creeping Bent
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Floating Sweet-grass
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Floating Sweet-grass (Glyceria fluitans)

    Floating Sweet-grass (Glyceria fluitans)
  19. 19. A fine leaved grass with a sheath like this...

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Sheep's Fescue
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Red Fescue
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Wavy Hairgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Bristle Bent
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Sheep's Fescue (Festuca ovina)

    The sheath is cloaked around the stem rather than forming a perfect tube in the way Red Fescue does.

    Sheep's Fescue (Festuca ovina)
  20. 20. No clues here!

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Yorkshire Fog
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Common Couch
    Correct
    Incorrect
    False Oatgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Creeping Bent
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    False Oatgrass (Arrhenatherum elatius)

    One of the few grasses with orange tinted roots, plus a distinctive onion like bulge at tis base

    False Oatgrass (Arrhenatherum elatius)
  21. 21. Check out the auricle on that! (you might want to cross-reference with the next question)

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Sweet Vernal-grass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Tall Fescue
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Yorkshire Fog
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Heath-grass
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Sweet Vernal-grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum)

    An auricle with a fringe of hairs (best seen at the start of the growing season)

    Sweet Vernal-grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum)
  22. 22. Another hairy fella...

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Sweet Vernal-grass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Heath-grass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Downy Oatgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Quaking Grass
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Heath-grass (Danthonia decumbens)

    In this grass the auricle is more or less replaced by hairs - looking rather like the nose hairs of an ageing Tory politician/Radio DJ/insert other tired cliché

    Heath-grass (Danthonia decumbens)
  23. 23. Deliberately hard - all in the shape of the leaf

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Purple Moorgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Perennial Ryegrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Smooth Meadowgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Common Bent
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Common Bent (Agrostis capillaris)

    No noticeable central vein, leaf tapers off to a spearlike tip...

    Common Bent (Agrostis capillaris)
  24. 24. Looks like a fescue, until you see those mighty ligules!!

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Mat-grass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Heath-grass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Bristle Bent
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Wavy Hairgrass
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Bristle Bent (Agrostis curtisii)

    Bristle Bent (Agrostis curtisii)
  25. 25. Not much to work with!

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Meadow Foxtail
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Smaller Cat's-tail
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Timothy
    Correct
    Incorrect
    False Oatgrass
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Meadow Foxtail (Alopecurus pratensis)

    A single awn, unlike the double ones of Timothy and Cat's-tail

    Meadow Foxtail (Alopecurus pratensis)
  26. 26. There's not many things this big and purple!

    Emily Drinkwater
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Tall Fescue
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Perennial Ryegrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Giant Fescue
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Purple Moorgrass
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Giant Fescue (Schedonorus giganteus)

    Giant Fescue (Schedonorus giganteus)
  27. 27. You only have to get this to genus...

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Bent
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Meadowgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Oatgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Brome
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Meadowgrass (Poa)

    The mythical 'double tramline' central groove runs down the middle of the leaf. There's quite a few impostors to this diagnostic; Glyceria, Meadow Oatgrass to name but two...

    Meadowgrass (Poa)
  28. 28. I don't think anything can be muddled with this!

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Heath-grass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Wood Millet
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Bristle Bent
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Wood Melick
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Wood Melick (Melica uniflora)

    Wood Melick (Melica uniflora)
  29. 29. Not the most exciting grass, but definitely the most dazzling stem base!

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Perennial Ryegrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Yorkshire Fog
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Purple Moorgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    False Oatgrass
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Perennial Ryegrass (Lolium perenne)

    Perennial Ryegrass (Lolium perenne)
  30. 30. Looks hairy, but is it called hairy?

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Hairy Brome
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Tall Fescue
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Downy Oatgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Tufted Hairgrass
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Downy Oatgrass (Avenula pubescens)

    Downy Oatgrass (Avenula pubescens)
  31. 31. Aah, the camel's eyelashes... 'Les cils de chameau' as they call them in Morroco (which I just made up)

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Hairy Brome
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Soft Brome
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Upright Brome
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Downy Oatgrass
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Upright Brome (Bromopsis erecta)

    Upright Brome (Bromopsis erecta)
  32. 32. And we couldn't leave vegetative ID without this little gem

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Perennial Ryegrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Yorkshire Fog
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Creeping Soft-grass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Little Gem
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Yorkshire Fog (Holcus lanatus)

    Yorkshire Fog (Holcus lanatus)
  33. 33. Right, now you get to see the whole plant! In theory that might be easier, except often it isn't!

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Wood Melick
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Tufted Hairgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Wood Millet
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Purple Moorgrass
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Wood Millet (Milium effusum)

    Wood Millet (Milium effusum)
  34. 34. Fido?

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Barren Brome
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Meadow Barley
    Correct
    Incorrect
    False Oatgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Wall Barley
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Wall Barley (Hordeum murinum) aka Dogwee Grass

    Wall Barley (Hordeum murinum)
aka Dogwee Grass
  35. 35. Distinctive late season colour...

    Correct
    Incorrect
    False Oatgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Yellow Oatgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    False Brome
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Tor-grass
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    False Brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum)

    False Brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum)
  36. 36. On heavier soils...

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Tufted Hairgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Purple Moorgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Meadow Oatgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Wood Small-reed
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Tufted Hairgrass (Deschampsia cespitosa)

    Tufted Hairgrass (Deschampsia cespitosa)
  37. 37. Our only native deciduous grass

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Tufted Hairgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Blue Moor-grass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Purple Moor-grass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Reed Canary-grass
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Purple Moor-grass (Molinia caerulea)

    Purple Moor-grass (Molinia caerulea)
  38. 38. The most widely distributed grass in the world!

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Heath-grass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Perennial Ryegrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Annual Meadowgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Creeping Bent
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Annual Meadowgrass (Poa annua)

    Annual Meadowgrass (Poa annua)
  39. 39. Another yellow one...

    Correct
    Incorrect
    False Brome
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Yellow Oatgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Tufted Hairgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Tor-grass
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Tor-grass (Brachypodium pinnatum)

    Tor-grass (Brachypodium pinnatum)
  40. 40. Deliberately arty and not very helpful photo to finish with!

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Early Hairgrass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Squirrel-tail Fescue
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Heath-grass
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Mat-grass
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Early Hairgrass (Aira praecox)

    Early Hairgrass (Aira praecox)

If you'd like to learn more about grasses, why not come on one of our day courses? All proceeds go to saving rare species! Images and facts all from our forthcoming Grass ID guidebook. Find us on the web for more info!

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