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Annual Beard-grass

Polypogon monspeliensis

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Poaceae (Grass)
Also in this family:
Alpine Catstail, Alpine Foxtail, Alpine Meadow-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, Yellow Oat-grass, Yorkshire Fog
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
90 centimetres tall
Fields, grassland, seaside, wasteland.

White, no petals
A dense, long, one-flowered spike (up to 15cm or 6 inches). The spike looks fluffy/silky and greenish-white due to its compactly-spaced awns (each up to 7mm long). Pollinated by the wind.
The fruit is a caryopsis. A caryopsis is a kind of dry, one-seeded fruit common in grasses. The seeds ripen from July to September.
An annual grass with typical-looking linear, grass-like leaves. Leaf blades are minutely hairy or hairless and about 6mm wide.
Other Names:
Annual Rabbitsfoot Grass.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Polypogon monspeliensis, also known as annual beard grass or annual rabbitfoot grass, is a species of grass that is native to Europe, Africa, and Asia. It is a common weed that is found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, meadows, fields, and along roadsides. Polypogon monspeliensis is an annual plant that grows up to 1 meter (3 feet) tall and has thin, upright stalks. The leaves are long and narrow, with a bright green color. The plant produces small, inconspicuous flowers that are followed by small seeds that are contained in a hull. Polypogon monspeliensis is considered a weed in many areas because it can outcompete native plants for resources and can alter the structure and function of natural ecosystems. It is also an important food source for a variety of birds and animals.


Annual Beard-grass, Polypogon monspeliensis, is a species of grass that is native to the Mediterranean region but has since spread globally. It is a popular choice for landscaping and horticulture due to its attractive appearance and adaptability to a variety of growing conditions.

One of the unique features of Polypogon monspeliensis is its bushy, bearded spikes, which provide a striking contrast to the typical blade-like structure of most grasses. The spikes contain the plant's seeds, which are a food source for birds and other wildlife. This makes annual beard-grass a valuable addition to any wildlife-friendly garden.

The plant is known for its fast growth and quick establishment, making it an ideal choice for erosion control and landscaping. It can be planted in mass to form dense cover, or in clusters as an accent in a garden bed. It is also tolerant of a wide range of soil types and can be grown in full sun or partial shade.

In addition to its ornamental qualities, Polypogon monspeliensis also has several practical uses. The plant is a valuable source of hay and forage for livestock, and its leaves can be used for weaving baskets and mats. The seeds can be ground into flour and used for cooking, making it a useful crop for subsistence agriculture in some parts of the world.

One thing to be aware of when growing annual beard-grass is its tendency to become invasive in certain areas. It is important to plant it in a location where it won't spread and cause problems for native vegetation. In regions where it is invasive, it is often listed as a noxious weed.

Overall, Annual Beard-grass is a versatile and attractive grass species that offers a range of benefits for gardens, wildlife, and agriculture. Its adaptability, fast growth, and attractive appearance make it a valuable addition to any landscape.

In terms of maintenance, annual beard-grass is a low-maintenance plant that does not require much attention. It is drought-tolerant and can withstand periods of dry weather, making it a good choice for low-water landscapes. It is also resistant to disease and pests, which further adds to its low-maintenance profile.

The plant can be propagated from seeds or by division of clumps. Seeds can be sown directly into the ground or started in pots and then transplanted. Division of clumps is best done in the spring or fall, when the plant is actively growing.

Polypogon monspeliensis is also a good choice for use in landscaping in areas with heavy foot traffic, as it can withstand trampling and remains upright even in high-traffic areas. This makes it ideal for planting along walkways or in areas where people may walk.

In addition to its ornamental and practical uses, annual beard-grass is also a popular choice for use in bioremediation. This is the use of plants to clean up contaminated soil and water. Polypogon monspeliensis has been found to effectively absorb heavy metals and other pollutants from contaminated soil, making it a valuable tool in the cleanup of contaminated sites.

The plant is also known for its ability to stabilize soil and reduce erosion, making it an important tool in the management of soil and water resources. It is commonly used in the construction of berms, slopes, and retaining walls, where its fast growth and ability to withstand heavy traffic can help to prevent soil erosion.

When it comes to design, annual beard-grass can be used in a variety of ways in the landscape. Its distinctive appearance makes it an ideal choice for use as a specimen plant, where it can be used to draw the eye and add interest to a garden bed. It can also be used in groupings or as a groundcover, where its dense growth habit can help to provide visual interest and stability to a slope or bank.

Overall, annual beard-grass is a versatile and valuable plant that has a wide range of uses and benefits. Whether you are looking to add interest to your garden, establish a low-maintenance groundcover, or support soil and water management, Polypogon monspeliensis is an excellent choice.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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