Yorkshire Fog

Saturday, 25th June 2005

Yorkshire Fog flowers
Panicle of flowers

Yorkshire Fog, Holcus lanatus, turns patches of waste ground and meadows to a pinkish haze at this time of year as the grass comes into flower. It grows as an elegant weed in corners of our garden by the pond and the shed. It was called Velvet Grass in North America, where it was introduced, because of the soft downy hairs that cover its leaf sheaths and leaves.

As pen and ink seemed too emphatic for the delicate panicle of flowers, I used a propelling pencil, a Staedtler Mars micro with a 0.3 mm lead, for the drawing, then added watercolour.

Yorkshire Fog flowers
Yellow anthers hang from the spikelet; the flower of the grass which has two outer scales; the glumes. There are two more scales, known as the lemma and the palea, which are often important in the identification of grasses, hidden inside each flower.

Staedtler Mars micro
Staedtler Mars micro propelling pencil with 0.3 mm lead

I had put the grass in a narrow vase to draw it and when I looked at it again next morning I found that yellow anthers had appeared on each flower. These are the male parts of the flower, hanging there to distribute pollen on the wind. Next Page

Richard Bell, richard@willowisland.co.uk