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Agrostis capillaris - L

Common Name Browntop Bent Grass
Family Poaceae
USDA hardiness 3-10
Known Hazards None Known
Habitats Grasslands and pastures. Dominant on poor and acidic soils and is well adapted to grazing pressure. Invades ruderal, disturbed areas, heathland, woodland, scrub and sand dune habitats. Abundant in wetlands and cultivated areas. In Australia, it is reported from dry coastal vegetation, heathy woodlands, lowland grasslands, grassy woodlands, dry and damp sclerophyll forests, riparian vegetation and alpine and sub-alpine vegetation, including montane peatlands and swamps [1-8].
Range Native to Eurasia, from Ireland and Britain in the west, through Siberia and Central Asia, as far east as China and from Scandinavia south to the Mediterranean, including Tunisia in North Africa. Introduced and naturalized in the Americas (USA, Canada, Greenland, Brazil, Argentina and Chile), southern Africa, Australia and New Zealand [1-8].
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Wet Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Agrostis capillaris Browntop Bent Grass

Agrostis capillaris Browntop Bent Grass
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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Agrostis capillaris is an evergreen Perennial growing to 0.4 m (1ft 4in) by 0.1 m (0ft 4in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 4. The flowers are pollinated by Wind.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and saline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil. It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


A. alba var. vulgaris (With.) Coss. & Durieu. A. capillaris subsp. castellana (Boiss. & Reut.) O.Bol?s, Masalles & Vigo. A. capillaris subsp. olivetorum (Godr.) O.Bol?s, Masalles & Vigo. A. capillaris subsp. oreophila (O.Schwarz) Soj?k. A. capillaris subsp. repens (Laest.) Soj?k. A. capillaris var. alpigena (Schur) Druce. A. capillaris var. aristata (Parnell) Druce. A. capillaris var. aristulata Hitchc. A. capillaris var. capillaris. A. capillaris var. humilis (Asch. & Graebn.) Druce. A. capillaris var. nigra (With.) Druce. A. capillaris var. olivetorum (Godr. & Gren.) Kergu?len. A. capillaris var. pumila (L.) Druce. A. capillaris var. stolonifera (L.) Druce. A. sylvatica Huds. A. tarda Bartl. A. tenuis Sibth. A. vulgaris With.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

None Known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

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None Known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses


Forest garden path mix [1-9]. Environmental Uses: Amenity, Erosion control or dune stabilization, Landscape improvement, Revegetation, Soil conservation. Ornamental: garden plant, Seed trade [1-8]. Agronomically valuable fodder and pasture grass for livestock production, occasionally cut for hay. Used in garden lawn mixtures and in particular for tennis courts and golf course fairways. Widely grown in mild (cool-humid) summers, including some parts of Australia, northern Europe, the USA and New Zealand. Compared to A. stolonifera, A. capillaris has a more upright growth habit and does not spread aggressively. Used outside its native range for erosion control and in rehabilitation work. A food source for herbivores, including rabbits [1-8].

Special Uses

Dynamic accumulator

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A rhizomatous and stoloniferous attractive, relatively short perennial grass. Ranging from 10 to 70 cm high. Soil drainage: free or impeded. Soil reaction: acid, alkaline, neutral. Dominant on poor and acidic soils. Soil texture: light or medium [1-8]. Found on a wide range of soils both damp and dry and from neutral to acidic. A hardy grass forming short grazed turf on poor soils on hills and mountains. Common and widespread in both lowland and upland pasture, meadows, heaths, open woodlands, road verges and banks. Upper elevation limit = 945m. Lower elevation limit = 0m.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation


Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Astoria bent; black couch; brown bentgrass; browntop; browntop bentgrass; burden's grass; colonial bent; colonial bentgrass; common bentgrass; common bentgrass; dew grass; English bent; furzetop; New Zealand bentgrass; Prince Edward Island bent grass; Rhode Island bent; Rhode Island bent grass; Waipu bent. Spanish: agr?stide com?n; agr?stide tenue; ch?pica alemana; heno ahumado; hierba fina; pasto quila. French: agrostide commune; agrostide fine; agrostide t?nue; agrostide vulgaire; agrostis capillaire; agrostis commun; agrostis delicat. Russian: polevitsa tonkaya. Chinese: xi ruo jian gu ying. Portuguese: agrostide-tenue. Local Common Names:Czech Republic: psinecek obecn_; psinecek tenk_. Germany: gemeines Straussgras; rotes Straussgras; Rotstraussgras. Italy: capellini delle praterie; capellini esile; capellini volgare. Netherlands: gewoon struisgras. Poland: mietlica pospolita. Slovakia: psincek tenuck_. Sweden: roedven. Turkey: kus otu [1-8].

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Native Extant (resident): Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Andorra; Austria; Belarus; Belgium; Bhutan; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Chad; China (Anhui, Gansu, Yunnan, Xinjiang, Tibet [or Xizang], Shanxi, Shandong, Shaanxi, Ningxia, Nei Mongol, Heilongjiang, Guizhou); Colombia; Costa Rica (Costa Rica (mainland)); Croatia; Cyprus; Czechia; Denmark; Egypt (Sinai); Estonia; Faroe Islands; Finland; France (France (mainland), Corsica); French Polynesia (Marquesas); French Southern Territories (Kerguelen, Crozet Is., Amsterdam-St. Paul Is.); Georgia; Germany; Greece (Kriti, Greece (mainland)); Guernsey; Hungary; Iceland; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Ireland; Isle of Man; Italy (Italy (mainland), Sardegna, Sicilia); Jersey; Kazakhstan; Korea, Republic of; Latvia; Lebanon; Libya; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Malta; Moldova; Monaco; Mongolia; Montenegro; Morocco; Nepal; Netherlands; North Macedonia; Norway; Pakistan; Palestine, State of; Poland; Portugal (Madeira, Portugal (mainland)); Romania; Russian Federation (South European Russia, Northwest European Russia, North European Russia, Kaliningrad, East European Russia, Central European Russia, Krasnodar, Irkutsk, Yakutiya, Tuva, Chita, Buryatiya, West Siberia, Altay); Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain (Spain (mainland), Baleares); Sri Lanka; Sweden; Switzerland; Tunisia; Turkey (Turkey-in-Europe, Turkey-in-Asia); Turkmenistan; Ukraine; United Kingdom. Extant & Introduced (resident):Australia (Victoria, Tasmania, Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia); Canada (Saskatchewan, Qu?bec, Prince Edward I., Ontario, Nova Scotia, Northwest Territories, Newfoundland I, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Labrador, Alberta, British Columbia); Chile (Easter Is.); Greenland; Mexico (Zacatecas, Yucat?n, Veracruz, Tlaxcala, Tamaulipas, Tabasco, Sonora, Sinaloa, San Luis Potos?, Rocas Alijos, Revillagigedo Is., Quintana Roo, Quer?taro, Puebla, Oaxaca, Nuevo Le?n, Nayarit, Morelos, Michoac?n, M?xico State, M?xico Distrito Federal, Jalisco, Hidalgo, Guerrero, Guanajuato, Guadalupe I., Durango, Colima, Coahuila, Chihuahua, Chiapas, Campeche, Baja California Sur, Baja California, Aguascalientes); New Zealand (Antipodean Is., Chatham Is., North Is., South Is.); Portugal (Azores); Russian Federation (Sakhalin, Primoryi, Magadan, Kuril Is., Kamchatka, Khabarovsk); Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha (Tristan da Cunha); South Africa (Marion-Prince Edward Is.); Spain (Canary Is.); United States (Wyoming, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Washington, Virginia, Vermont, Utah, Texas, Tennessee, South Dakota, South Carolina, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Ohio, North Dakota, North Carolina, New York, New Mexico, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Nevada, Nebraska, Montana, Missouri, Mississippi, Minnesota, Michigan, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Louisiana, Kentucky, Kansas, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Idaho, Hawaiian Is., Georgia, Florida, District of Columbia, Delaware, Connecticut, Colorado, California, Arkansas, Arizona, Alaska, Alabama); Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

A. capillaris has been intentionally introduced as a pasture grass and as a turf grass for lawns, in particular for golf courses, into a number of countries and has become widespread in North America, Australia, New Zealand and parts of South America. It has been recorded as invading native grasslands in part of its exotic range, including prairies in North America [1-8].

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Least Concern ver 3.1

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Agrostis perennansUpland Bent, Upland bentgrassPerennial0.9 0-0  LMHSNDM102
Eragrostis carolinianaTufted lovegrassAnnual0.5 0-0  LMHNDM10 
Eragrostis curvulaWeeping Love GrassPerennial1.2 6-9  LMHNM103
Eragrostis pilosaSoft Love Grass, Indian lovegrassAnnual0.6 6-9  LMNM110
Eragrostis tefTefAnnual1.0 8-11  LMHNDM30 
Stipagrostis pungensDrinnPerennial1.0 10-12 FLMNDM312

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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