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Yellow Oat-grass

Trisetum flavescens

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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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 Bent, 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, Yorkshire Fog
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
1 metre tall
Grassland, meadows, roadsides, rocky places.

Yellow, no petals
Yellowish-green spikelets (sometimes tinged purple) with bent awns, each having between 2 and 4 florets.
The fruit of grasses are known as caryopses. These are dry, one-seeded fruits.
A compact, erect, clump-forming grass with soft, flat leaves, up to 6mm wide. Perennial.
Other Names:
Golden Oatgrass.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Trisetum flavescens, commonly known as Yellow Oatgrass, is a species of grass native to Europe, Asia, and North America. It is a perennial grass that typically grows to be around 40-100 cm tall. It has a tufted habit and the leaves are flat and 2-8 mm wide. It blooms in summer and its inflorescence is a narrow panicle, 15-30 cm long and 4-5 mm wide, with spikelets that are yellow-green in color. This plant is commonly found in meadows, pastures, and along roadsides and it can be used for forage and erosion control. It is also considered as a weed in some parts of the world.


Yellow oat-grass, also known by its scientific name Trisetum flavescens, is a perennial grass species that is native to Europe, Asia, and North America. It is a member of the Poaceae family, which includes many of the world's most important cereal crops, such as wheat, rice, and corn.

Appearance and Habitat

Yellow oat-grass is a medium-sized grass that typically grows to be between 30 and 100 centimeters tall. It has narrow, flat leaves that are usually between 1 and 3 millimeters wide and up to 30 centimeters long. The flowers are borne in dense, spikelike clusters at the top of the stems and are usually yellow or greenish-yellow in color. The seeds are small and oval-shaped, and are often eaten by birds and other wildlife.

Yellow oat-grass is typically found in dry, rocky habitats such as grasslands, meadows, and forest clearings. It is also found in disturbed areas such as roadsides and abandoned fields. The plant is tolerant of a wide range of soil types and can grow in both acidic and alkaline soils.


Yellow oat-grass is commonly used as a forage crop for grazing livestock, especially in Europe. It is also used in habitat restoration projects to help prevent erosion and to provide food and cover for wildlife.

In addition to its practical uses, Yellow oat-grass is also a popular ornamental grass in gardens and landscaping. Its fine texture and yellow-green color make it an attractive addition to any garden, and it is often used in mass plantings or as a specimen plant.

Benefits to the Environment

Yellow oat-grass is an important plant species in many ecosystems because it provides a wide range of benefits to the environment. For example, it helps to prevent soil erosion by anchoring the soil with its extensive root system. It also helps to improve soil quality by adding organic matter to the soil and promoting the growth of beneficial soil microorganisms.

Yellow oat-grass is also an important source of food and cover for many species of wildlife, including birds, mammals, and insects. The plant's seeds are a particularly important food source for many species of songbirds.

Conservation Status

Yellow oat-grass is a common and widespread species that is not currently considered to be at risk of extinction. However, like many other native plant species, it is threatened by habitat loss and degradation due to human activities such as development, agriculture, and logging.

To help protect Yellow oat-grass and other important plant species, conservation efforts are needed to preserve and restore their natural habitats. This can include actions such as creating protected areas, reducing human impacts on sensitive ecosystems, and promoting sustainable land use practices.

In conclusion, Yellow oat-grass is an important plant species that provides a wide range of benefits to the environment and is valued for its practical and ornamental uses. By taking steps to protect and conserve this and other important plant species, we can help to ensure a healthy and vibrant natural world for generations to come.

Additional Information

Yellow oat-grass plays an important role in soil conservation and restoration. Its deep root system helps to prevent soil erosion and improves soil structure and fertility by increasing water-holding capacity and nutrient availability. The plant is also tolerant of drought, making it a valuable species for dryland reclamation projects.

Yellow oat-grass is also used in traditional medicine as a natural remedy for a variety of ailments. In some cultures, the plant is used to treat digestive issues, fever, and respiratory problems. It has also been used topically to treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

In addition to its ecological and medicinal benefits, Yellow oat-grass is a valuable source of inspiration for artists and poets. The plant's graceful form and delicate flowers have been celebrated in literature and art throughout history.

Yellow oat-grass is also known for its ability to support biodiversity in grassland ecosystems. Its presence in grasslands has been shown to increase the diversity of other plant species, which in turn supports a wider range of insect and animal species. This makes Yellow oat-grass a key species in promoting healthy and resilient grassland ecosystems.

Furthermore, Yellow oat-grass has been used in bioenergy production as a potential source of biomass for biofuels. Its high productivity and ability to grow in a range of conditions make it a promising candidate for sustainable bioenergy production.

In some cultures, Yellow oat-grass has also been used in traditional crafts such as basket weaving and thatching. The plant's long, flexible leaves are well-suited for weaving and can be used to make a variety of baskets and other woven goods.

Yellow oat-grass is also known for its potential role in carbon sequestration. As a perennial grass, it has the ability to store carbon in its roots and in the soil, which can help to mitigate the impacts of climate change. This makes Yellow oat-grass a potentially valuable species for carbon farming and climate-smart agriculture.

In addition, Yellow oat-grass has been shown to have phytoremediation potential, meaning it can help to clean up contaminated soils. The plant's deep root system can help to absorb and store heavy metals and other pollutants, making it a potentially useful species for restoring degraded or contaminated lands.

Yellow oat-grass is also an important species for research in plant biology and ecology. Its relatively simple genome and well-characterized physiology make it a useful model organism for studying plant growth and development, as well as plant responses to environmental stress.

Overall, Yellow oat-grass is a fascinating and important plant species that has a wide range of ecological, economic, and cultural values. Its versatility and resilience make it a valuable species for a variety of applications, and its conservation and sustainable use are important for maintaining healthy and resilient ecosystems and communities.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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