Narrow Small-reed

Latin name: Calamagrostis stricta

Family: Poaceae

This species is one for the experts. A challenge to identify at the best of times this species is also thought to hybridise with its close relatives, which makes identification even more tricky. The Botanical Society for the British Isles (BSBI) has some of their best brains carrying out research on it.

It is a tufted rhizomatous perennial with a scattered distribution in Northern Britain, South to West Suffolk, Cheshire and County Antrim in Northern Ireland. It is native of near neutral marshes, fens and lakesides at an altitude of 0-340m. In the Yorkshire Dales National Park it has been recorded recently on Malham Tarn National Nature Reserve.

The on-going morphometrics research includes comparing Calamagrostis stricta with its close relative C. scotica. We are looking forward to the findings and hope they will shed new light on this national priority species.

At risk?

Within recording history this species has always had a limited distribution but nevertheless its population has declined in recent decades. Its status on the Vascular Plant Red Data List for Great Britain (2005) is Vulnerable. It is a UKBAP priority species, in the BSBI’s National Threatened Plants Project and is a Local BAP species in Nature in the Dales: 2020 Vision.

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Still summer’s song beats in my blood Alan Hartley

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