Woodland Trust

Nature's CalendarNature Detectives

Have you spotted the first flowering of elder yet?

Meadow Foxtail. Amanda Sharpmeadow foxtail

Alopecurus pratensis

  • An early flowering grass
  • Flower head forms a soft, compact cylindrical spike up to 9cm long
  • Look out for the purple or orange anthers drooping from the flower head to indicate it is flowering.

Where found

Meadows and other grassy areas. It prefers rich, damp neutral soil.

When to look for

Fabulous meadow foxtail facts

  • One of the earliest grasses to flower

  • Often confused with timothy (Phleum pratense), which is a coarser grass and flowers later

  • Found on moist fertile soils (avoiding very wet or very dry conditions) often on arable land, roadside verges and woodland edges

  • Native to the UK, throughout England and Wales but not northern Scotland or western Ireland

  • Forms a dense sward that allows few other grasses or herbaceous plants to thrive within it