Polypogon monspeliensis

There is much written about the spread of Polypodon viridis in Britain and Ireland but its close relative Polypogon monspeliensis may also be spreading. I am posting here a few pictures of P. monspeliensis, observed as a casual in a car park during my recent family holiday in Sussex (plants located at TQ452172). Note the resemblance with P. viridis inflorescences – apart from the long awns!


2 thoughts on “Polypogon monspeliensis

  1. Hi Ambroise,

    yes, here on the Isle of Wight it’s rapidly colonising inland sites away from native maritime habitats. We have 22 records from 14 sites since 1999, mostly from the relatively acidic Tertiary sand and gravel deposits across the Island and increasingly in ruderal situations where the vector might be agricultural machinery, as with Gaudinea fragilis.

    On the Isle of Portland it has established on open Carboniferous Limestone spoil and across a sheltered quarry floor and is spreading to disturbed grassland by a construction site, which argues rather against pH as a limiting factor. It seems to prefer disturbed, open, nutrient-poor, winter-wet but not necessarily saline habitats. The supposedly alien source (bird seed, etc.) of the new records on both islands could in each case simply represent vectoring out from native sites allowed by climatic conditions over recent decades. I wonder whether, as an in-breeder, there are any useful taxonomic differences to be found?

    Polypogon viridis is all over the shop on Portland and Wight; considering it’s not as well equipped for travel as monspeliensis I assume it is more tolerant of winter cold and is forming the vanguard!

    happy hunting,


    1. Hi Geoff,
      Great to hear from the Isle of Wight! and thanks for giving an detailed update on Polypogon spread in the area. I have actually also found a colony of P. m. this summer in Sheffield and I am hoping to write a post about this soon.
      Best Wishes

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