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Wavy Hair-grass

Deschampsia flexuosa

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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 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:
60 centimetres tall
Fields, gardens, grassland, heathland, moorland, woodland.

Purple, no petals
Flowers appear in panicles with silvery-purple spikelets on wavy, thread-like stalks. Long bent awns.
The fruit is a caryopsis which is a kind of dry fruit containing one seed.
A carpet-forming perennial grass with thread-like, yellowish-green leaves. Short, blunt ligules.
Other Names:
Bent Grass, Common Hair Grass, Crinkled Hair-grass.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Deschampsia flexuosa, also known as Wavy Hairgrass, is a species of grass in the Poaceae family. It is native to cool temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, including Europe, Asia, and North America. It is a perennial grass that forms dense tufts, with a height of up to 60 cm. The leaves are narrow and fine, green or bluish-green in color and have a distinctive auricles (small ear-like appendages) at the base. The flowers are formed in loose, open panicles, which are greenish or purplish in color and appear in summer. The inflorescences are often drooping, which gives the plant its common name. This grass species is commonly used in ornamental gardening and landscaping, and also as a forage grass for livestock. It is known to be tolerant of heavy grazing and of poor soil. It prefers moist, well-drained soils and partial shade to full sun.


Wavy Hair-grass, scientifically known as Deschampsia flexuosa, is a perennial grass that belongs to the Poaceae family. It is native to the temperate regions of Europe, Asia, and North America and can grow in a variety of soil types, including acidic, nutrient-poor soils. The plant is characterized by its dense clumps of fine, wavy leaves that can reach up to 60cm in height, with flower stalks that grow up to 120cm tall.

One of the unique features of Wavy Hair-grass is its ability to adapt to a wide range of environmental conditions. It is commonly found in open woodlands, heathlands, moors, and rocky outcrops, as well as in disturbed areas such as roadsides and old fields. This adaptability makes it an important species for ecosystem restoration and rehabilitation projects.

Wavy Hair-grass also plays an essential role in ecosystem functioning. It has a deep root system that helps to stabilize soils, prevent erosion, and improve water quality by absorbing excess nutrients and pollutants. The plant also provides habitat and food for a variety of wildlife species, including birds, small mammals, and insects.

In addition to its ecological importance, Wavy Hair-grass has several practical uses. It has been traditionally used in Europe for thatching and weaving, and its seeds are an important food source for many bird species. The plant has also been used in folk medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including stomach problems and respiratory infections.

Despite its many benefits, Wavy Hair-grass faces threats from habitat loss and degradation, invasive species, and climate change. As a result, conservation efforts are crucial to ensure the long-term survival of this important species.

Wavy Hair-grass, Deschampsia flexuosa, is a valuable and versatile plant species that plays an important role in ecosystem functioning and has numerous practical uses. Its adaptability and ecological significance make it an essential component of many natural and human-altered environments. However, ongoing conservation efforts are necessary to protect this plant from the threats it faces and to ensure its continued contribution to the health and well-being of ecosystems and communities.

Wavy Hair-grass is an attractive ornamental plant that is popular in gardens and landscaping projects. It is known for its delicate, wavy leaves and feathery flower stalks, which add texture and interest to any landscape. The plant can be grown in a variety of settings, from meadows and wildflower gardens to rock gardens and borders. It also works well as a filler plant, providing contrast and height to other flowering plants.

One of the benefits of Wavy Hair-grass is its low maintenance requirements. The plant is drought-tolerant and can thrive in low-nutrient soils, making it an ideal choice for sustainable landscaping projects. It also requires little pruning or care and can self-seed, which helps to establish and maintain healthy populations of the species.

In addition to its aesthetic and ecological value, Wavy Hair-grass has been the subject of scientific research due to its potential use in phytoremediation. This is the process of using plants to remove pollutants from soil or water. Wavy Hair-grass has been found to be effective in removing heavy metals, such as lead and cadmium, from contaminated soils. This makes it a promising species for use in environmental restoration projects and for cleaning up industrial sites.

Wavy Hair-grass is a versatile and valuable plant species that has numerous benefits for both humans and the environment. Its adaptability, ecological importance, and practical uses make it a plant worth knowing and appreciating. With continued conservation efforts, this plant will continue to contribute to the health and well-being of ecosystems and communities around the world.

Another interesting aspect of Wavy Hair-grass is its role in carbon sequestration. Carbon sequestration is the process of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in plants and soils. Wavy Hair-grass is known to have a high potential for carbon sequestration due to its deep root system and ability to grow in nutrient-poor soils. This makes it a valuable species for mitigating climate change by helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Wavy Hair-grass has also been used in traditional medicine for a variety of purposes. In Europe, it has been used to treat stomach problems, while in North America, it has been used as a diuretic and to treat respiratory infections. Studies have shown that Wavy Hair-grass contains compounds that have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, which may contribute to its medicinal benefits.

Interestingly, Wavy Hair-grass has also been found to have cultural significance in some regions. In Norway, it is known as "kruspels" and is used to make brooms and brushes. In Scotland, it is commonly found in traditional Highland dress, where it is used as a decorative element in kilts and bonnets.

In conclusion, Wavy Hair-grass is a remarkable plant species with a wide range of benefits and uses. Its adaptability, ecological importance, low maintenance requirements, and cultural significance make it a valuable plant for both natural and human-altered environments. With ongoing conservation efforts, Wavy Hair-grass will continue to play an important role in maintaining the health and well-being of ecosystems and communities.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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