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Alopecurus pratensis

Alopecurus pratensis(*)

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Monocots
Cladus: Commelinids
Ordo: Poales

Familia: Poaceae
Subfamilia: Pooideae
Tribus: Poeae
Subtribus: Alopecurinae
Genus: Alopecurus
Species: A. pratensis
Subspecies: A. p. subsp. alpestris – A. p. subsp. laguriformis – A. p. subsp. pratensis

Alopecurus pratensis L., 1753

Alopecurus pratensis Bourg. ex Lange = Alopecurus arundinaceus Poir.


Tozzettia pratensis (L.) Savi, Mem. Mat. Fis. Soc. Ital. Sci. 8: 477 (1798).
Tozzettia vulgaris Bubani, Fl. Pyren. 4: 276 (1901), nom. superfl.

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Eurasia
Afghanistan, Albania, Altay, Austria, Azores, Baltic States, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Buryatiya, Central European Rus, Chita, Corse, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, East European Russia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Inner Mongolia, Iran, Ireland, Irkutsk, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Krasnoyarsk, Krym, Manchuria, Mongolia, Netherlands, North Caucasus, North European Russi, Northwest European R, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sardegna, Sicilia, South European Russi, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tadzhikistan, Turkey-in-Europe, Turkmenistan, Tuva, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, West Himalaya, West Siberia, Xinjiang, Yakutskiya, Yugoslavia
Introduced into:
Alabama, Alaska, Alberta, Amur, Argentina Northeast, Argentina South, Bermuda, British Columbia, California, Chile South, Colombia, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, East Himalaya, Føroyar, Georgia, Greenland, Iceland, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Japan, Kamchatka, Kansas, Kentucky, Kerguelen, Khabarovsk, Korea, Labrador, Magadan, Maine, Manitoba, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Brunswick, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New South Wales, New York, New Zealand North, New Zealand South, Newfoundland, North Dakota, Northwest Territorie, Nova Scotia, Ohio, Ontario, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Primorye, Prince Edward I., Québec, Rhode I., Sakhalin, Saskatchewan, South Australia, South Dakota, Taiwan, Tasmania, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Victoria, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Western Australia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Yukon

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
Primary references

Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum. Tomus I: 60. Reference page.

Additional references

Govaerts, R. et al. 2022. Alopecurus pratensis in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2022 August 13. Reference page.
Hassler, M. 2022. Alopecurus pratensis. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2022. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published online. Accessed: 2022 August 13. Reference page. 2022. Alopecurus pratensis. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 13 August 2022.
International Plant Names Index. 2022. Alopecurus pratensis. Published online. Accessed: August 13 2022.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Alopecurus pratensis in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service.

Vernacular names
العربية: ثعلبية المروج
azərbaycanca: Çəmən tülküquyruğu
català: Cua de rabosa
čeština: Psárka luční
Cymraeg: Cynffonwellt y maes
Deutsch: Wiesen-Fuchsschwanz
English: Meadow Foxtail
eesti: Aas-rebasesaba
suomi: Nurmipuntarpää
français: Vulpin des prés
hornjoserbsce: Łučny liščak
magyar: Réti ecsetpázsit
íslenska: Háliðagras
lietuvių: Pievinis pašiaušėlis
latviešu: Pļavas lapsaste
Nederlands: Grote Vossenstaart
polski: Wyczyniec łąkowy
русский: Лисохвост луговой
svenska: Ängskavle
Türkçe: Çayır tilkikuyruğu
中文: 狐尾草

Alopecurus pratensis, known as the meadow foxtail[1] or the field meadow foxtail, is a perennial grass belonging to the grass family (Poaceae). It is native to Europe and Asia.

This common plant is found on grasslands, especially on neutral soils. It is found on moist, fertile soils, but avoids waterlogged, light or dry soils. The species forms dense swards leading to low botanical diversity.

This species is widely cultivated for pasture and hay, and has become naturalised in many areas outside its native range, including Australia and North America.


It flowers from April until June – one of the earliest grasses to do so. Any survey work carried out in mid-summer may miss the grass as a result of this.

It can grow to a height of about 110 centimetres (43 in). The stem is erect and hard at the shaft, the sheathes being smooth and cylindrical. The leaves are about 5 millimetres (0.20 in) wide and hairless. Meadow foxtail has a cylindrical inflorescence with glumes about 5–10 millimetres (0.20–0.39 in) wide and spikelets about 4–6 millimetres (0.16–0.24 in) long.

The ligule is 1–2.5 millimetres (0.039–0.098 in) long, with a slightly tattered top.[2]
ligule has a slightly tattered top
Similarity to other grassland species

Alopecurus pratensis has two common relatives, marsh foxtail (Alopecurus geniculatus) and black grass (A. myosuroides). It is often confused with timothy (Phleum pratense). Timothy flowers later, from June until August. Its spikelets have twin hornlike projections arranged in cylindrical panicles, while meadow foxtail has a single soft awn.

The caterpillars of some lepidopterans use it as a foodplant, e.g. the Essex skipper (Thymelicus lineola). Additionally, male mosquitoes can often be found on this flower drinking the nectar out of it.

BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
BSBI Description Archived 17 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine retrieved 1 December 2010.

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