Phleum phleoides   Purple-stem Cat's-tail RRR DD N

Phleum phleoides immature Phleum phleoides immature Phleum phleoides immature

In New Flora of the British Isles Edition 3 by Clive Stace, this plant is now classified as very rare species but it has been reduced in some ratings emanating from BSBI as merely "Rare" which almost certainly as a result of diligent monitoring over the years by keen botanists in the area. It is a good example of the problem of interpretation of distributions of plants: often the maps are really showing the distribution of botanists not the plants themselves.

This one is locally frequent and on the verge where these photos were taken that was certainly the case. There were literally thousands of plants to be seen. It is not too difficult to identify either. Clearly from the shape of the flower head you would expect it to be a Phleum (Cat's-tails) or an Alopecurus (Foxtails) and the obvious purple stem gives the game away. Like many of these two groups of grasses, the anthers could be white, pale yellow or purple.

Phleum phleoides is found in East Anglia but rarely anywhere else in the British Isles.

Roadside verge, Breckland, 18th June 2005

Added on June 19th 2005, updated 1st April 2011

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