Scientific name Festuca rubra Lotus corniculatus grassland
Common name Red Fescue – Bird’s-foot-trefoil grassland
Community code GL3F

 

GL3F: Festuca rubra – Lotus corniculatus grassland  GL3F: Festuca rubra – Lotus corniculatus grassland  GL3F map: Festuca rubra – Lotus corniculatus grassland

Download full pdf synopsis: GL3F

 

Vegetation

Included in this community are swards grouped due to the common dominance of Festuca rubra. The only other constant species are Agrostis stolonifera and Trifolium repens. Plantago lanceolata and Lotus corniculatus are the most frequent of the other plants. Species indicative of calcareous grassland may occur (e.g. Carex flacca, Euphrasia officinalis agg. and Koeleria macrantha) but are typically not plentiful. Further variation is discussed under ‘Sub-communities’ below.

 

Ecology

The Festuca rubra Lotus corniculatus grassland community is a lowland community found along the coast and inland. Soils are dry-humid, rather base-rich, of average fertility and fairly high organic content.

 

Sub-communities

Festuca rubra Lotus corniculatus grassland comprises two sub-communities. The Plantago maritima Plantago coronopus sub-community (GL3Fi) is a maritime vegetation assemblage, found on cliff tops around the coast. The sward is typically very low and tight due to grazing or exposure, and there is a high cover of Plantago spp. Other maritime species encountered include Armeria maritima and Anthyllis vulneraria, but these are less frequent. The Festuca rubraPoa pratensis agg. sub-community (GL3Fii) lacks these maritime indicators and may occur in a coastal or inland context. It usually occurs as a rank, ungrazed sward in which Festuca rubra forms a dense springy mat.

 

Similar communities

This is a fairly distinct community. Festuca rubra seldom achieves in other communities the abundance that is displayed in community GL3F. The aforementioned maritime plants are rarely found with abundance in other grasslands.

 

Conservation value

This is a species-poor grassland community but the maritime assemblage does support a number of coastal specialists. A few swards on soils containing heavy metals and generally found in association with old mine workings in coastal areas, correspond with the EU HD Annex I habitat 6130 Calaminarian grassland.

 

Management

Sub-community GL3Fi may be grazed by sheep or cattle, or ungrazed. The rank sward of sub-community GL3Fii is usually ungrazed, occurring in inaccessible areas along the coast and abandoned fields inland. Coastal erosion is a threat to maritime communities. Inland communities could gradually be lost if abandonment becomes long-term or if intensive management is introduced.