Yorkshire-fog

©Philip Precey

Yorkshire-fog

Scientific name: Holcus lanatus
The soft, downy look of Yorkshire-fog makes it an attractive plant, even if it is considered a weed of cultivated land! It is also attractive to the caterpillars of the Small Skipper butterfly as a foodplant.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 1m

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

January to December

About

Yorkshire-fog is a tufted, grey-green and downy plant of meadows, woodland rides, waste ground and lawns. Its purple-tinged flower heads appear from May to August. It can produce dense stands that push out other species and is can be considered a weed of arable land.
However, it is still valuable to wildlife and is the main foodplant of the caterpillars of the small skipper butterfly.

How to identify

Yorkshire-fog has grey-green leaves and cylindrical, tightly packed flower heads that have a purple-red tinge to their tips. Both the leaves and the flowers have a 'soft' appearance.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

Because of its soft look, Yorkshire-fog is known as 'velvet grass' in North America. Here, it probably got its name from a description of how it looks at a distance: misty and grey with a purple tinge, which is something between northern smoke-billowing factories and heather moorland!