Holcus lanatus

Holcus lanatus_common velvet grass_Barry Breckling_cropped
Photo: Barry Breckling

Common names: common velvet grass; Yorkshire fog

Holcus lanatus (common velvet grass) is a tufted perennial grass (family Poaceae) that is native Europe, western Asia, northwestern Africa, and the Canary Islands. It is naturalized across most of North America and most commonly grows in moist meadows and pastures.  Plants have soft, hairy leaves and stems, an erect stature, and compact panicles that can reach up to 15 cm in length. Flowers are self-fertile and spikelets are commonly 2-flowered.  Common velvet grass plants are prolific seed producers and can also reproduce via tillers.  They can establish monocultures that exclude other species, show evidence of allelopathic properties, and can grow in a variety of habitats, including in poorly drained, low nutrient soils.

Cal-IPC Rating: Moderate?

CDFA Rating: None?


Plant Assessment Form - Information gathered by Cal-IPC on the impacts, rate of spread, and distribution of invasive plants in California. Does not include management information.

Weed Management Notes

  • Management Notes - Information on management techniques and effectiveness from the University of California Cooperative Extension’s Weed Research & Information Center.

Cal-IPC Newsletter Articles

Cal-IPC Symposium Presentations

Presentations are linked where available. Where a presentation is not available, find more information by reading the abstract in the Cal-IPC Symposia Archive.

Other Holcus lanatus Information

  • Bugwood - National database from the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health at the University of Georgia.
  • CalPhotos - Images of plants taken mostly in California.
  • Calflora - Distribution map and records of this species in California.
  • CalWeedMapper - Distribution map of this species in California with ability to determine regional priorities.
  • EDDMapS - Distribution of this species in North America.
  • Jepson Interchange - Information on this plant's taxonomy, biology, and distribution from UC Berkeley's Jepson Herbarium.
  • USDA PLANTS Database - Information on identification and distribution, with links to websites in individual states.
  • Additional photos

    Holcus lanatus_common velvet grass leaf sheath_Trent Draper_cropped
    Holcus lanatus (common velvet grass) leaf sheath. Photo: Trent Draper
    Holcus lanatus_common velvet grass_Trent Draper_cropped
    Holcus lanatus (common velvet grass) immature inflorescence. Photo: Trent Draper