Purple moor-grass

Grass profile

  • Latin name: Molinia caerulea
  • Molina: the name goes back to the Chilean missionary and plant expert Juan Ignacio Molina.
  • Caeruleus: lat. blue
  • Family: Sweetgrasses/Poaceae
  • Type of forage: Grasses

Purple moor-grass (Molinia caerulea)

The purple moor-grass is a persistent and quite multiform grass, and forms loose eyries. It usually reaches a height of 50 to 100 cm. The blades of grass only have closely spaced knots at the base and therefore appear knotless in contrast to the other sweet grasses.

The typical grass-like leaves are up to approx. 10 mm wide and have a hair wreath instead of a ligula. The spikelets are about 4 to 8 mm long. Due to the striking blue-violet colouring, the entire inflorescence also appears dark.

The spikelets are grouped into panicles, often with upright branches lying close to the main axis. With a main flowering period from July to September (October), it is one of the latest flowering native sweet grass species.

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Occurrence of purple moor-grass

The purple moor-grass is a typical species on light soils, from humid to wet, slightly acidic to neutral, but rich in bases and poor in nutrients.

In addition to light forests, the species is often found in low moor meadows and nutrient-poor wet meadows, forming stands. Purple moor-grass  gives its name to the society of Pipe Grass Meadows (“scattered meadow”).

Mowing tolerance is rather low, more than two mowings per year are hardly tolerated. The plant survives occasional drought with roots up to 100 cm deep and with the leaves rolling in.

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