False Oat-grass

Arrhenatherum elatius

  1. Wildlife
  2. Grasses
  3. False Oat-grass


False Oat-grass is a tall, fluffy-looking perennial of grasslands, roadside verges and disturbed grounds. Perhaps one of the most common grasses of these often overlooked places, it may well be familiar as the grass that so many of us catch in our hands and absent-mindedly strip of its seeds as we walk along. In fact, it can play an important role in stabilising dunes and cliffs.

How to identify

The loose flower heads of False Oat-grass have groups of brownish, oval spikelets (containing the flowers) with bristles at their tips. The long stem often turns brown after flowering. False Oat-grass mainly flowers from May to September, but can continue until the first frosts.

Where to find it



When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many grassland habitats for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife. Careful grazing with traditional breeds, hay-cutting at the right time and scrub clearance are just some of the ways these fragile habitats are kept in good condition - supporting wildflowers and grasses, along with the invertebrates that feed on them and, in turn, the larger animals that prey on the invertebrates. By volunteering for your local Trust you can help too, and you'll make new friends and learn new skills along the way.

Species information

Common name
False Oat-grass
Latin name
Arrhenatherum elatius
Height: up to 1.5m
Conservation status