Holcus mollis

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaPoaceaeHolcusHolcus mollis


A creeping, rhizomatous perennial of well-drained acidic or neutral soils, found in Quercus and Betula woods, open conifer plantations, hedge banks, on heathland, and under Pteridium. It is capable of spreading into damper grassland and is locally a troublesome weed of arable land. H. mollis tolerates occasional mowing or light grazing but is a poor competitor with more vigorous grasses. 0-580 m (Greygarth Fell, W. Lancashire).



World Distribution

European Temperate element.

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 6

Moisture (Ellenberg): 6

Reaction (Ellenberg): 3

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 3


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.4

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.5

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1101

Life form information

Height (cm): 100

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Rhizome far-creeping

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 2537

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 575

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 11

Atlas Change Index: 0.8

Weighted Changed Factor: 6

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


Distribution information

JNCC Designations


PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references

Atlas (394c)
Grime JP, Hodgson JG, Hunt R
1988.  Comparative Plant Ecology.
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Meusel H, Jäger E, Weinert E
1965.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 1. 2 vols.
Ovington JD, Scurfield G
1956.  Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 54. Holcus mollis L. Journal of Ecology. 44:272-280.