Holcus lanatus L.

common velvet grass

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Common velvet grass is native to Eurasia and northwest Africa, and introduced in both eastern and western North America. It is found in all New England states.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), meadows and fields

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Leaf blade width
3–10 mm
Inflorescence branches
the flowers are attached to branches rather than to the main axis of the inflorescence
Spikelet length
3–6 mm
Glume relative length
both glumes are as long or longer than all of the florets
Awn on glume
  • the glume has an awn
  • the glume has no awn
One or more florets
there is more than one floret per spikelet
Lemma awn length
0–2 mm
Leaf sheath hair type
there are hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath, but the hairs do not have blisters at their bases
Leaf ligule length
1–4 mm
Anther length
1.2–2.5 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Anther length
    1.2–2.5 mm
    Anther number
    3
    Awn on glume
    • the glume has an awn
    • the glume has no awn
    Floret lower bract texture
    the lemma is thin and flexible
    Glume relative length
    both glumes are as long or longer than all of the florets
    Glume veins
    • 1
    • 3
    Inflorescence arrangement
    the spikelets are uniform
    Inflorescence axis orientation
    the inflorescence axis is straight
    Inflorescence branches
    the flowers are attached to branches rather than to the main axis of the inflorescence
    Inflorescence type (general)
    the spikelets are borne on stalks or on branches
    Inflorescence type (specific)
    the inflorescence is branched, and the branches do NOT both grow from the same side of the plant AND look like spikes
    Inforescence position
    the spikelets are mainly carried at the end of the stem
    Lemma awn base
    • NA
    • the awn is attached at the upper half of the lemma
    Lemma awn length
    0–2 mm
    Lemma awn number
    • the lemma has no awn
    • the lemma has one awn on it
    Lemma awn orientation
    the awn of the lemma on dried or older plants is curved or bent outwards
    Lemma cross-section
    the lemma is flat or rounded if you cut across the midpoint
    Lemma surface
    the surface of the lemma is relatively smooth (not counting any longitudinal veins or hairs)
    Lemma vein number
    • 3
    • 5
    One or more florets
    there is more than one floret per spikelet
    Palea relative length
    palea is one half to fully as long as lemma
    Spikelet length
    3–6 mm
    Spikelets spiny
    the spikelets do not appear spiny
  • Growth form
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Roots
    there are only slender roots on the plant
  • Leaves
    Leaf auricles
    the leaves do not have auricles
    Leaf blade width
    3–10 mm
    Leaf ligule length
    1–4 mm
    Leaf ligule type
    the leaf ligule is in the form of a membrane with fine hairs
    Leaf sheath closed around stem
    the margins of the leaf sheath are overlapping and not fused together except in the basal half (or less)
    Leaf sheath hair type
    there are hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath, but the hairs do not have blisters at their bases
    Leaf sheath hairs
    there are hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Stem hairs
    the stem has hairs on it
    Stem spacing
    the stems grow close together in compact clusters or tufts

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but occasionally in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACU)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

No

Sometimes Confused With

Holcus mollis:
lower internodes of stem glabrous and awn of upper lemma 3–5 mm long, bent but not hooked, well exserted beyond the glumes (vs. H. lanatus, with the lower internodes of stem softly villous and awn of upper lemma 1–2 mm long, hooked, scarcely, if at all, exserted from the glumes).

Synonyms

  • Nothoholcus lanatus (L.) Nash

Family

Poaceae

Genus

Holcus

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Holcus lanatus L. E

common velvet grass. Nothoholcus lanatus (L.) Nash • CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Fields, roadsides, disturbed soil.