Early sand-grass in Norfolk

early sand grass
Early sand-grass Mibora minima Photo: Jo Parmenter

On Saturday, I was shown a colony of around 150 plants of Early sand-grass growing in lawns, gutters and pavement cracks on light sandy soils. Records for this stunningly pretty little grass are restricted to a handful of dune systems on the south and west coast of the UK, so I was surprised to find it in Norfolk. After interviewing some of the local residents I was able to establish that the main population, on a lawn, is immediately adjacent to where the householder’s brother sometimes leaves his campervan; and in that campervan he tours the UK and Europe, so this appears to be a likely source.

This is a winter-flowering annual, starting in December in mild spots, and continuing until May or June, and has been claimed as a contender for the world’s smallest grass; apparently it can be no more than 15mm tall, but these plants were growing on reasonably good soils, and were closer to 150mm.  It is readily identifiable by the 1-sided flower spike, and by the gorgeous metallic-iridescent glumes.


Jo Parmenter