Devon Wildlife Trust Purple moor-grass and rush pasture

This distinctive type of damp pasture is generally found on commons, as a component of lowland fen, or in undeveloped corners of otherwise intensively farmed landscapes.

In late spring and summer, the dark rushes contrast against the soft green of young purple-moor grass, and the sward is speckled yellow and purple with wildflowers; an important nectar source for a variety of uncommon insects. In the west of the country, look for the rare marsh fritillary butterfly where there is a mix of short grass and taller tussocks. Its caterpillars spin distinctive webs on or near its food plant (devil’s-bit scabious), which are easy to see in late summer. The elusive day-flying narrow-bordered bee-hawkmoth, a bumblebee mimic, may also be seen hovering at flowers on sunny days. 




Left: File:Molinia.caerulea.2.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Top Right: File:Molinia.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Lower Right: File:Molinia.caerulea.jpg - Wikimedia Commons


Devonshire Association The Botany Section was founded in 1908 to promote the study and enjoyment of Devon’s wild plants, including bryophytes (mosses), lichens and fungi.

A New Flora of Devon (pg.779)


Devon Biodiversity Record Centre Submit your sightings of Purple Moor Grass and other species in Devon 


Plantlife - Exploring Greena Moor with Radio 4!

It was the first day of December, and the Cornish weather was bracing but playful. I was at Greena Moor, one of Plantlife's nature reserves, to meet Sarah from the BBC, who was to record an interview with me on culm grassland and experience it first-hand... 


Royal Horticultural Society 'Purple moor grass'. Clump-forming deciduous grass to 1.2m in height with thin, linear bright green leaves. Slender airy plumes of tiny dark purple flowers, (spikelets) on dainty yellow-tinted, arching stems, are held high above the foliage from summer to autumn. Stems and leaves turn orange and gold by late autumn 


National Biodiveristy Network Molinia caerulea 


Wikipedia Molinia caerulea, known by the common name purple moor-grass, is a species of grass that is native to Europe, west Asia, and north Africa. It grows in locations from the lowlands up to 2,300 m (7,546 ft) in the Alps. Like most grasses, it grows best in acid soils, ideally pH values of between 3.5 and 5, however, it can continue to live under more extreme conditions, sometimes to as low as 2. It is common on moist heathland, bogs and moorland throughout Britain and Ireland. Introduced populations exist in northeastern and northwestern North America.

The specific epithet caerulea means "deep blue" and refers to the purple spikelets. 

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