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Silver Hair-grass - Aira caryophyllea

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Species Description

Stace 4:

Aira caryophyllea L. (A. multiculmis Dumort., A. armoricana F. Albers) - Silver Hair-grass.

Stems erect to decumbent, to 25(50)cm; sheaths slightly rough; panicle diffuse, with conspicuous suberect to erecto-patent branches; (2n=28). Native; dry sandy, gravelly or rocky ground, on walls, heaths and dunes; frequent throughout British Isles. 3 segregates are sometimes recognised but are not consistently separable on external characters and are doubtfully worth maintaining even as sspp. Ssp. caryophyllea has spikelets 2.5-3mm; anthers 0.3-0.45mm; caryopsis 1.2-1.6mm; and some pedicels >5mm. Ssp. multiculmis (Dumort.) Bonnier & Layens has spikelets 2.2-2.6mm; anthers 0.3-0.5mm; caryopsis 1.1-1.5mm; and all pedicels usually <5mm. Ssp. armoricana (F. Albers) Kerguélen, recorded only from West Cornwall, has spikelets 3-3.5mm; anthers 0.3-0.5mm; caryopsis 1.5-1.9mm; and all pedicels usually <5mm. The relative distributions of sspp. caryophyllea and multiculmis are disputed.