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Smaller Catstail

Phleum bertolonii

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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, 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
Fields, grassland, meadows, mountains, roadsides, wasteland.

Green, no petals
Cylindrical flowerheads, up to 7cm long. Shorter awns than the similar looking Timothy Grass (Phleum pratense).
A dry, one-seeded fruit called a caryopsis.
A perennial grass mainly found in limestone grassland. The leaves are flat, linear, hairless and greyish-green. The ligules are pointed. The similar looking species Timothy Grass is a shorter plant than the Smaller Catstail.
Other Names:
Bertoloni's Cat's Tail, Bertoloni's Timothy, Small Timothy, Small-leaved Timothy Grass.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Phleum bertolonii, also known as Bertoloni's timothy or Bertoloni's cat's tail, is a species of grass in the Poaceae family. It is native to Europe and is widely distributed in mountainous regions. The plant is known for its narrow, cylindrical flower heads and hairy leaves. It grows well in a variety of habitats, including meadows, grasslands, and alpine regions. Phleum bertolonii is a herbaceous plant that can grow up to 80 cm in height. It is commonly found in grasslands and meadows, and is often used as forage for livestock. The plant is also used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments.


Smaller Catstail (Phleum bertolonii) is a small, annual grass that is commonly found in meadows and grasslands throughout Europe and Asia. It is a member of the Poaceae family and is known for its distinctive, cylindrical spikes that resemble the tail of a cat.

This grass species is a valuable food source for many animals, including livestock, deer, and small mammals. It is also a popular choice for use in landscaping, as it is hardy, low-maintenance, and has a natural, attractive appearance.

One of the key features of smaller catstail is its ability to tolerate a wide range of soil types and growing conditions. It can grow in soils that are sandy, loamy, or clay, and can also withstand harsh environmental conditions such as drought or extreme temperatures. This makes it a versatile plant that can be grown in a variety of landscapes.

Another advantage of smaller catstail is its low-growing habit, which makes it an excellent choice for planting in areas where it will not obstruct views or interfere with other plants. It is also relatively low-maintenance, with little need for fertilization or pruning, and is not typically affected by pests or diseases.

In addition to its practical benefits, smaller catstail also has a number of ornamental uses. Its cylindrical spikes, which can range in color from green to reddish-brown, make it an attractive addition to floral arrangements and bouquets. It can also be used in landscaping to create natural-looking meadows or to add texture to rock gardens or xeriscapes.

Overall, smaller catstail is a versatile, attractive, and low-maintenance grass that is well-suited to a wide range of growing conditions. Whether you're looking for a food source for your livestock, a hardy addition to your landscaping, or a unique element for your floral arrangements, smaller catstail is definitely worth considering.

Smaller catstail is also known for its ecological importance. It provides habitat and shelter for numerous insects and other small creatures, which in turn provide food for larger animals. Additionally, it helps to control erosion and improve soil structure by adding organic matter and binding the soil.

In some regions, smaller catstail is considered a nuisance due to its ability to quickly colonize disturbed areas and outcompete other plants. However, with proper management, it can be controlled and even used to restore degraded lands.

One interesting characteristic of smaller catstail is its ability to flower and produce seeds in its first year of growth. This makes it well-suited for areas with short growing seasons and allows it to quickly establish itself in new habitats.

Smaller catstail is also a great choice for attracting wildlife to your garden. Its seeds are a popular food source for birds and other small animals, and its flowers provide nectar for bees and other pollinators.

Smaller catstail is a unique and valuable plant species that is often overlooked in the world of horticulture. Its small size and understated appearance make it an excellent choice for planting in small spaces or for use in meadow and wildflower gardens.

In addition to its ornamental value, smaller catstail is also a valuable source of forage for livestock and wildlife. Its tender stems and leaves are a nutritious food source, and its high seed production makes it a valuable source of food for birds and other small animals.

Smaller catstail is also known for its medicinal properties. Its seeds have been used to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory problems, digestive issues, and skin conditions. Its roots have also been used to make teas that are believed to have anti-inflammatory properties.

It is important to note that smaller catstail is not a commonly cultivated plant and is often collected from the wild. If you are interested in growing smaller catstail in your garden, it is best to purchase seeds from a reputable supplier or to collect seeds from established populations in the wild. This will help to conserve this valuable plant species and ensure that it is not over-harvested.

In conclusion, smaller catstail is a unique and valuable plant species that is well-worth considering for inclusion in your garden. With its attractive appearance, versatility, and numerous benefits, it is sure to be a valuable addition to any landscape.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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