Monday, June 22, 2020

Midsummer grasses

The largest number of grasses is in flower at the moment giving a very high pollen count.  In The Green Sanctuary sweet vernal-grass and rough meadow grass are already over but Yorkshire fog  is anthesising now and seems to be having a good year.  

Another grass currently in flower is the tall false oat-grass, Arrhenatherum elatius.  This spike is hanging over the Square Metre itself from a plant in Troy Track so maybe it will drop some seed in M3.

Still to come are the bent grasses (Agrostis spp.) of which I think I have several.  One species has leaf blades that stick out at right angles from the main stalks making a very pleasing 3D array of horizontals and verticals.  The clich√© that nature abhors a straight line does not seem to apply in this case.

I wondered about the name 'bent' for these Agrostis grasses and, while I have not found any specific evidence, I think it must come from the word 'benedict' meaning 'blessed' in Latin.  This is sometimes given to plants of high worth in the shortened form 'bennett' as in 'herb bennet' (usually spelt with one t).  It is also contracted to 'bent' in other contexts as in the Danish name 'Bent' which derives from 'Benedict'.