Scientific name Festuca rubra – Rhinanthus minor grassland
Common name Red Fescue – Yellow Rattle grassland
Community code GL3E

 

GL3E: Festuca rubra – Rhinanthus minor grassland  GL3E: Festuca rubra – Rhinanthus minor grassland  GL3E map: Festuca rubra – Rhinanthus minor grassland

Download full pdf synopsis: GL3E

 

Vegetation

The main grass species in this rather attractive community are Anthoxanthum odoratum, Holcus lanatus, Festuca rubra, Agrostis capillaris and Cynosurus cristatus. Forb cover tends to be high with Plantago lanceolata and Trifolium pratense being abundant, while other constant forbs include Trifolium repens, Ranunculus acris, Cerastium fontanum, Rumex acetosa and the hemi-parasite Rhinanthus minor. Forbs are tall-growing in comparison to the other drier grassland communities. Filipendula ulmaria occurs on wetter sites. Several common moss species form the bryophyte layer with Calliergonella cuspidata and Brachythecium rutabulum being the most frequent.

 

Ecology

The Festuca rubra – Rhinanthus minor grassland is significant for being a community of neutral lowland hay meadows, generally occurring on well-draining, mineral soils of fairly average fertility.

 

Sub-communities

No sub-communities are described

 

Similar communities

This grassland differs from the other main meadow community, GL3C Festuca rubra – Trifolium pratense grassland, by being less base-rich and less fertile. Coarse grasses such as Agrostis stolonifera, Dactylis glomerata and Arrhenatherum elatius are less common here, but it is the high frequency of Rhinanthus minor which is the chief indicator for this community and this species is often plentiful.

 

Conservation value

This is a grassland community of medium species richness. It is the community which corresponds most closely with the EU HD Annex I habitat 6510 Lowland hay meadows, but has some minor affinity with the EU HD Annex I priority habitat 6210 Orchid-rich calcareous grassland*.

 

Management

These swards are managed as grazing land (typically for cattle) and/or mown for hay. Cutting may occur once or twice a year between May and September. The main threats to these grasslands include improvement and abandonment.