Quaking-grass

┬ęBruce Shortland

Quaking-grass

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Scientific name: Briza media
As its name suggests, quaking-grass can be seen quivering or 'quaking' in a breezy, summer wildflower meadow. Its purple-and-green, heart-shaped flower heads hang from delicate stems.

Top facts

Stats

Height: up to 40cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

June to September

About

Gently shivering in the breeze, the loose heads of quaking-grass are a distinctive feature of meadows and grasslands, particularly those on chalky soils. Its heart-shaped flower heads dance on delicate stems from June to September, giving the plant many different common names, including 'Totter Grass', 'Dithery Dock', 'Wigwams' and 'Toddling Grass'.

What to look for

The pendulous, heart-shaped, green-and-purple spikelets that contain the flowers of quaking-grass are distinctive - they look a little like miniature hops. They are held in loose clusters on fine stems that quake in the breeze

Where to find

Found in England and Wales.

Did you know?

The seeds of quaking-grass are an excellent source of food for all kinds of farmland birds, including yellowhammers, linnets, greenfinches and house sparrows.