Scientific name Festuca rubra – Plantago lanceolata – Carex arenaria duneland
Common name Red Fescue – Ribwort Plantain – Sand Sedge duneland
Community code DU2C


DU2C: Festuca rubra – Plantago lanceolata - Carex arenaria duneland  DU2C: Festuca rubra – Plantago lanceolata - Carex arenaria duneland  DU2C map: Festuca rubra – Plantago lanceolata - Carex arenaria duneland

Download full pdf synopsis: DU2C



In this dune grassland community the main sward species is Festuca rubra with other constant graminoids being Poa pratensis/humilis and Carex arenaria. The chief forb species to be found are Plantago lanceolata, Galium verum, Trifolium repens and Lotus corniculatus. Other frequent or occasional plants tend be characteristic of mesotrophic soils, including Bellis perennis, Senecio jacobaea, Luzula campestris, Achillea millefoliium and Taraxacum officinale agg. Bryophytes are not always present but can be very abundant when they are, with the moss layer most usually containing Rhytiadelphus squarrosus, Homalothecium lutescens, Syntrichia ruraliformis, Brachythecium albicans and Calliergonella cuspidata. Apart from Carex arenaria, psammophilic (sand-loving) species are infrequent.


This community represents the standard type of dune grassland found on fixed dunes and machair plains, occurring on sandy soils which have developed some mor-humus.



No sub-communities are described.


Similar communities

This community lacks the tussocks of Ammophila arenaria found in the DU2A Ammophila arenaria – Festuca rubra duneland. Bryophytes are less frequently abundant here than they are in the DU2B Festuca rubra – Syntrichia ruraliformis where Hypochaeris radicata is more commonly encountered and Plantago lanceolata and Trifolium repens less commonly so.  The DU2D Festuca rubra – Thymus praecox grassland contains a suite of calcicole species not often found in the DU2C. The GL3C Festuca rubra – Plantago lanceolata grassland community is also closely aligned, but supports meadow species such as Dactylis glomerata, Centaurea nigra and Trifolium pratense not found here, whilst Galium verum is much less common.

Conservation value

Most examples of this vegetation correspond to EU HD Annex I habitat *2130 Fixed dunes (grey dunes). On the northwest coast, this assemblage can be a component of priority habitat *21A0 Machair.



This dune grassland is often grazed by livestock and rabbits, and overgrazing or undergrazing can be a problem, as can recreation in popular coastal areas.