The vegetation consists of species rich, semi-natural grassland containing abundant Molina caerulea or Purple Moor Grass, rushes (Sharp-flowered rush Juncus acutiflorus, jointed rush Juncus articulatus, blunt flowered rush Juncus subnodulosus).
The Natural England Higher Level Stewardship Farm Environmental Plan handbook considers that the habitat exists if at least 2 of the following indicator species are found frequently, and another 2 are found occasionally.
Natural England Guidance 29-31 advocates an average grass height of 7cm and 8cm for rush during April and May, increasing to 10 and 13 cm in June to October, a quarter of the sward no more than 15 cm for grass and 40cm for rushes - a diverse sward of shorter areas interspersed by taller tussocks.
Areas of dense litter are beneficial to over-wintering insects and small mammals, but should be less than 25% of the total area in October.
In the UK there are a number of initiatives to help prevent deterioration and restore these sites. These include designation as SSSI, National Nature Reserve's, voluntary entry into the Environmental Stewardship Scheme by landowners, or work by voluntary conservation organisations such as the Devon Wildlife Trust.
Nature On The Map website showing Purple Moor and Rush Pasture locations in the UK