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Common Bent

Agrostis capillaris

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Poaceae (Grass)
Also in this family:
Alpine Catstail, Alpine Foxtail, Alpine Meadow-grass, Annual Beard-grass, Annual Meadow-grass, Arrow Bamboo, Barren Brome Grass, Bearded Couch Grass, Bearded Fescue, Bermuda Grass, Black Bent, Black Grass, Blue Fescue, Blue Moor-grass, Bog Hair-grass, Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass, Bread Wheat, Bristle Bent, Brown Bent, Brown Sedge, Bulbous Foxtail, Bulbous Meadow-grass, California Brome Grass, Canary Grass, Carnation Sedge, Cocksfoot, Cockspur, Common Cord-grass, Common Millet, Common Reed, Common Saltmarsh Grass, Compact Brome Grass, Corn, Couch Grass, Creeping Bent, Creeping Soft-grass, Crested Dog's-tail, Crested Hair-grass, Cultivated Oat, Curved Hard Grass, Cut Grass, Dense Silky Bent, Downy Oat-grass, Drooping Brome Grass, Drooping Tor Grass, Dune Fescue, Early Hair-grass, Early Meadow-grass, Early Sand-grass, False Brome Grass, False Oat-grass, Fern Grass, Fine-leaved Sheep's Fescue, Flattened Meadow-grass, Floating Sweet-grass, Foxtail Barley, French Oat, Giant Fescue, Glaucous Meadow-grass, Great Brome Grass, Greater Quaking Grass, Grey Hair-grass, Hairy Brome Grass, Hairy Finger-grass, Hard Fescue, Hard Grass, Harestail Grass, Heath Grass, Holy Grass, Hybrid Marram Grass, Italian Rye Grass, Knotroot Bristlegrass, Lesser Hairy Brome Grass, Lesser Quaking Grass, Loose Silky Bent, Lyme Grass, Marram Grass, Marsh Foxtail, Mat Grass, Mat-grass Fescue, Meadow Barley, Meadow Fescue, Meadow Foxtail, Meadow Oat-grass, Mountain Melick, Narrow-leaved Meadow-grass, Narrow-leaved Small-reed, Neglected Couch Grass, Nit Grass, Orange Foxtail, Pampas Grass, Perennial Rye Grass, Plicate Sweet-grass, Purple Moor-grass, Purple Small-reed, Purple-stem Catstail, Quaking Grass, Ratstail Fescue, Red Fescue, Reed Canary Grass, Reed Sweet-grass, Reflexed Saltmarsh Grass, Rescue Grass, Rough Meadow-grass, Rush-leaved Fescue, Sand Catstail, Sand Couch Grass, Scandinavian Small-reed, Scottish Small-reed, Sea Barley, Sea Couch Grass, Sea Fern Grass, Sheep's Fescue, Silver Hair-grass, Six-rowed Barley, Slender Brome Grass, Small Cord-grass, Small Sweet-grass, Smaller Catstail, Smooth Brome Grass, Smooth Cord-grass, Smooth Finger-grass, Smooth Meadow-grass, Soft Brome Grass, Somerset Hair-grass, Sorghum, Spreading Meadow-grass, Squirreltail Fescue, Stiff Brome Grass, Stiff Saltmarsh Grass, Sweet Vernal Grass, Tall Fescue, Timothy Grass, Tor Grass, Tufted Hair-grass, Two-rowed Barley, Upright Brome Grass, Velvet Bent, Viviparous Fescue, Wall Barley, Wavy Hair-grass, Wavy Meadow-grass, Whorl Grass, Wild Oat, Wood Barley, Wood Fescue, Wood Meadow-grass, Wood Melick, Wood Millet, Yellow Oat-grass, Yorkshire Fog
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
70 centimetres tall
Grassland, heathland, lawns, meadows, moorland, mountains, riverbanks, roadsides, wasteland, woodland.

Green, no petals
Each plant has hundreds of tiny spikelets with only one flower per spikelet.
Seed heads are in open, loose clusters.
Very short grass despite often being called the tallest of the Bent species. Very flat, thin and ribbed leaves which taper to a point. Hairless.
Other Names:
Black Quitch, Brown Top Bent Grass, Browntop, Colonial Bent, Colonial Bentgrass, Common Bent Grass, Herd's Grass, Monkey's Grass, New Zealand Bent Grass, Prince Edward Island Bent Grass, Red Top Grass, Rhode Island Bent, Rhode Island Bent Grass.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Agrostis capillaris, also known as common bentgrass or colonial bentgrass, is a species of grass native to Europe, Asia, and North America. It is a perennial species that is often found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, meadows, and pastures. Common bentgrass is a low-growing species that forms dense tufts or clumps and is often used in landscaping and as a turf grass. It is characterized by its small, inconspicuous flowers and long, narrow leaves. Agrostis capillaris is tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions and is resistant to many common turf grass diseases. It is also known for its ability to recover quickly from damage, making it a good choice for use in high-traffic areas.


Common Bent (Agrostis capillaris) is a widespread and abundant grass species found in temperate regions across the world. It is also commonly known as hair bentgrass or annual bentgrass, and it belongs to the family Poaceae.

Identification: Common Bent is a tufted grass that grows up to 50 cm tall. The leaves are narrow and folded, and the blades are smooth and shiny with a pale green color. The flowers are arranged in a dense spike-like inflorescence and bloom from June to September. The seeds are small and light brown.

Habitat: Common Bent is a versatile grass species that can grow in various habitats, from coastal dunes to upland moors and meadows. It is particularly well adapted to sandy soils and is often found in grasslands, pastures, and disturbed areas.

Ecology: Common Bent is a key species in many ecosystems, providing important food and habitat for a wide range of wildlife, including insects, birds, and small mammals. It is also a valuable forage grass for livestock and is used in the production of hay and silage.

Cultural significance: Common Bent has been used for many centuries for its medicinal and culinary properties. The young shoots were once eaten as a vegetable, and the roots were used to make a medicinal tea. In some cultures, it was also believed to have magical properties and was used in rituals and ceremonies.

Conservation status: Although Common Bent is a common and widespread species, it is facing increasing threats from habitat loss and degradation, as well as from the intensification of agriculture and urbanization. In some areas, it is also threatened by invasive species and changing land use practices.

In conclusion, Common Bent is a versatile and ecologically important grass species that plays a crucial role in many ecosystems. Despite its widespread distribution, it is facing increasing threats from human activities and is in need of greater conservation efforts to ensure its continued survival.

Management: Common Bent can be managed for forage production or for conservation purposes by maintaining a diverse grassland community, avoiding overgrazing, and controlling invasive species. It can also be used in conservation planting projects, such as the restoration of degraded habitats, to provide food and habitat for wildlife.

In horticulture, Common Bent is not commonly used for ornamental purposes due to its tendency to form dense, spreading tufts and its relatively low-growing habit. However, it can be useful in erosion control and soil stabilization projects, as it is well adapted to poor, dry soils and can quickly colonize disturbed areas.

In sports turf, Common Bent is widely used as a golf course turfgrass due to its fine texture, high tolerance to heavy traffic, and its ability to maintain a dense, even turf. In golf courses, it is typically managed using a combination of mowing, fertilization, and pest control practices to maintain its high-quality appearance and playing characteristics.

Overall, Common Bent is a valuable species with a wide range of uses and applications. Whether used for forage production, conservation, horticulture, or sports turf, its versatility and ecological importance make it a species worth preserving and protecting for future generations.

In the past, Common Bent was used for soil stabilization and erosion control, as its fibrous root system helps to hold the soil in place. The plant has been used on slopes and embankments to prevent soil from washing away. Additionally, its deep root system can help to absorb water and prevent soil from becoming compacted, which can lead to erosion.

Another use of Common Bent is as a biofuel crop. It has been found to have high energy content and a high yield potential, making it an attractive option for bioenergy production. In addition to being used as a source of biofuel, Common Bent has also been explored as a feedstock for biogas production, as it can be converted into methane through anaerobic digestion.

Common Bent is also used in the production of paper and paper-based products. Its fibers are long and strong, making it a suitable raw material for the production of paper products such as cardboard, tissue, and paper towels. Additionally, its low lignin content makes it easy to process, which can reduce production costs.

Finally, Common Bent has been found to have potential as a phytoremediation agent, as it has been shown to be able to remove heavy metals and other contaminants from contaminated soils. Its ability to absorb and accumulate heavy metals, such as lead and cadmium, make it a useful tool for the remediation of contaminated soils.

In conclusion, Common Bent is a versatile and ecologically important grass species that has a wide range of uses, from forage production and soil stabilization, to biofuel production and phytoremediation. Its high value as a resource and its ability to support wildlife and ecosystems make it an important species to preserve and protect.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map