Cock's-foot

©Ross Hoddinott/2020VISION

Cock's-foot

Scientific name: Dactylus glomerata
Cock's-foot is a common, tussocky grass of grasslands, woodland rides and cultivated ground - its fluffy, pinky-beige flower heads are quite distinctive.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 1m

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

January to December

About

Cock's-foot is an abundant, tussocky grass of grasslands, woodland rides and cultivated ground. It flowers between May and July, its rounded flower heads appearing on long stalks and giving the impression of a bird's foot, hence the common name.
It leaves have sharp edges, giving a nasty cut if pulled the wrong way. This perennial plant grows vigorously, colonising quickly and overshadowing smaller, more delicate flowers and grasses.

How to identify

Cock's-foot has slim stems with stalked, rounded, purplish flower heads that are very loosely clustered. Its leaves are rough and have sharp edges.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

People used to regularly chew grass, such as Cock's-foot, for its sweet flavours and as a pastime.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many grassland habitats sympathetically for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife. Careful grazing with traditional breeds, hay-cutting at the right time and scrub clearance are just some of the ways grasslands are kept in good condition. By volunteering for your local Trust you can help too, and you'll make new friends and learn new skills along the way.