E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Holcus lanatus L.
common velvet-grass (common velvetgrass; Yorkshire fog)
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Adolf Ceska  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #13804)

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Distribution of Holcus lanatus
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Species Information

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Perennial, tufted grass from fibrous roots; stems erect (sometimes becoming decumbent and creeping in lawns), hollow, hairy above and below the nodes, (20) 50-100 cm tall.
Sheaths open, velvety-hairy, greyish; blades 3-10 mm wide and up to 25 cm long, flat, velvety-hairy, greyish; ligules strongly hairy, eroded-jagged and more or less fringed with fine hairs, blunt to sharp-pointed, 1-2 mm long.
Inflorescence a greyish, purplish-tinged panicle, 4-15 cm long; spikelets 2-flowered, the upper floret male, tawny, short-stalked, 5-6 mm long; glumes 3-4 mm long, more or less stiff long-hairy, especially on the nerves, the upper ones much wider than the lower ones, often with very short awns almost at the tips; lemmas about 2 mm long, smooth or slightly short-hairy above, shiny, the lower ones unawned, the upper ones awned, the awns hooked, shorter than the glumes; rachillas sparsely stiff-hairy or sometimes smooth, anthers about 1.5 mm long; lodicules broadly lanceolate, nearly entire, up to 0.5 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Yellow
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry lawns, fields, roadsides, railways and waste areas; common in coastal BC, rare elsewhere in BC; introduced from Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Holcus lanatus

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 0 161 1620
Slope Gradient (%) 0 14 120
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
45 137 315
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CDF(24), CWH(48), IDF(1)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-intolerant, sub montane to montane, European grass introduced to North America (transcontinental in North America). Occurs on fresh to very moist, nitrogen-medium soils within temperate, cool semiarid, and mesothermal climates; its occurrence decreases with increasing elevation. Commonly inhabits exposed mineral soil; scattered to plentiful in early-seral communities on water-shedding and water-receiving sites. Characteristic of disturbed sites.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Nothoholcus lanatus (L.) Nash

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References