Sand-grass (Mibora minima)
Saw this little grass growing on the top of a wall in Charente-Maritime at the weekend and then spotted more growing in between rows of grapes. It is very small and has purple coloured flowers which make it quite attractive. Now I am not an expert on grasses. I know a reasonable number of the more common English grasses but this one was a bit of a mystery. However the miracle which is the internet has enabled me to put a name to it and it only took about an hour. Along the way I discovered quite a good grass identification site which I have bookmarked for future reference. It is http://www.british-wild-flowers.co.uk/index%20grasses.htm
I also discovered that this grass is really rare in the UK and has only been found recently at one place. Here is a quote from another site.
‘Early Sand-grass is confined to the Sefton Coast in north Merseyside. It was first discovered by D.P. Earl and J. Buckley-Earl in April 1996, growing in a small area of dunes on the west side of Southport Marine Lake. The plant’s distribution was mapped by P.H. Smith on 12th April 1999 when it was found to be dominant in many patches over a distance of about 100 metres, some of the patches being up to 10 metres in diameter but many much smaller. Most of the population was associated with the south to south-east facing slope of a low (3 metre-high) dune ridge. Some small patches were also found on a plateau area to the west of the ridge. All patches of Early Sandgrass were in poorly vegetated areas with a high proportion of bare sand, often on the fringes of sandy, informal footpaths. The most abundant of 16 associated plants were Kidney Vetch, Little Mouse-ear and Common Whitlow-grass. A repeat survey in 2004 showed the plant’s area had increased by 47% to 2158 square metres. Regular visits from 2005 to 2007 suggest the grass is doing well and continuing to spread.’
Here is the same plant growing in between the grapes where there was loads of it….. eat your hearts out D.P Earl and J Buckley-Earl!!!
Click on the photos to get a close up of these beautiful grasses.