Grasses AIDGAP

A guide to identification using vegetative characters

This groundbreaking new AIDGAP guide uses vegetative characters to identify the 90 most common grass species found in the UK.

Unlike most grass keys, it does not require examination of the flower heads, so it will help surveyors carry out fieldwork throughout the year. Tested extensively before publication by beginners and specialists alike, this Grasses AIDGAP guide is suitable for everyone.

Grasses form the matrix of a wide range of habitats. They also provide important cover in urban landscapes, including road verges, parklands and playing fields. As a result, grasses are an essential component of most habitat survey protocols. These include Phase I Habitat surveys, National Vegetation Classification (NVC), farm stewardship surveys and Habitat Condition Assessments.

Unfortunately most keys to grasses require examination of the flower heads, potentially limiting field surveys to only a few months of the year. This is a particular problem in practice.

  • Habitat surveys are carried out all year round.
  • Species have different flowering periods.
  • Cutting, grazing and other management can remove the flowers.
  • Flowering is inhibited by competition.

The key is intended for use in the field. Users do not need expensive or specialist equipment. A hand lens (x10 or x20) and a ruler are enough.

This Grasses guide is part of the FSC’s AIDGAP series (Aids to Identification in Difficult Groups of Animals and Plants). Our AIDGAP guides are accessible identification keys,  suitable for non-specialists from age 16+. Since 1976 the AIDGAP project has produced over 40 keys to many different groups.