korean velvet grass

Creeping Soft Grass

Creeping Soft Grass or Creeping Velvet Grass (Holcus mollis) is a species of grass, native to Europe and western Asia. It is a rhizomatous perennial grass found in woods and hedgerows, growing to 50 cm tall. It has rhizomes that occur around 5 cm deep in soil or sometimes deeper. Rhizome growth occurs in the period May to November but is fastest from mid-June to mid-July. The rhizomes have many dormant buds that do not develop unless the rhizomes are disturbed and then fresh aerial shoots may arise from the broken fragments. It flowers from June to July.

It is favoured by conditions in woodland clearings and at the early stages of coppicing. Growth and flowering are restricted as the tree canopy develops. It is often a relict of former woodland vegetation, surviving in open grassland and grassy heaths after woodland clearance despite being a shade lover. It is found mostly on moist, freely-drained acid soils, normally light to medium texture and high in organic matter; it is absent from areas of calcareous or base rich soil, and often grows with bracken.

The caterpillars of some Lepidoptera use it as a foodplant, e.g. the Essex Skipper (Thymelicus lineola).

In a survey of weeds in conventional cereals in central southern England in 1982, it was found in 1% of winter barley but not at all in winter wheat or spring barley.

A pentaploid variant of Creeping Soft Grass is common in Britain, it is sterile but spreads vegetatively.

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