Cut-grass (Leersia oryzoides)

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Cut-grass plants in flower
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Cut-grass fact file

Cut-grass description

KingdomPlantae
PhylumAnthophyta
ClassLiliopsida
OrderCyperales
FamilyPoaceae
GenusLeersia

Cut-grass is a creeping perennial with flat, pale yellowish-green leaves that have rough edges. Its inflorescence is usually enclosed within a cowl-like sheath at first, and the branches when they emerge are wavy.

Size
Stem height: to 100 cm
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Cut-grass biology

This species flowers from August to October and has a habit of climbing over other plants on the river banks and ditches where it is found. It seems to tolerate quite acid conditions but needs stagnant or slow-moving water with a regular seasonal rainfall or water-level rise.

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Cut-grass range

This species is found over a large part of central Europe and also ranges across Asia and North America. In Britain, it is limited to five sites, only one of which has a population of reasonable size.

You can view distribution information for this species at the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.
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Cut-grass habitat

Cut-grass is found in wet meadows, on river-sides and in ditches. It requires nutrient-rich mud and regularly trampled bare areas in which to germinate.

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Cut-grass status

Classified as Endangered in the UK. Protected under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, as amended.

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Cut-grass threats

Whilst thought to have always been a rare plant in Britain, cut-grass is declining through the loss of traditional forms of water-course management, and the grazing that controls competitor species. There may also have been a reduction in the areas of wet grassland available for colonisation.

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Cut-grass conservation

Cut-grass is listed under the UK Biodiversity Action Plans and included in English Nature's Species Recovery Programme. The largest remaining population of this plant has been monitored for over twenty years, and the information from this extended survey will be used to influence the management at all the other sites. It may also be possible to reintroduce the plant to suitable sites in the future.

There may be further information about this species available via the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.
The UK Biodiversity Action Plan for this species is available at UK BAP.
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Authentication

Information supplied by English Nature.

http://www.english-nature.org.uk

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Glossary

Inflorescence
The reproductive shoot of the plant, which bears flowers (See http://www.rbgkew.org.uk/ksheets/pdfs/flower.pdf for a fact sheet on flower structure).
Perennial
Plants that live for at least three seasons; after an initial period they produce flowers once a year.
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References

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Image credit

Cut-grass plants in flower  
Cut-grass plants in flower

© Ron D. Porley

Ron D. Porley
Foxhold House
Crookham Common
Thatcham
RG15 8EL
United Kingdom
ron.porley@english-nature.org.uk

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