Crested dog's-tail

Crested Dog's-tail

©Richard Burkmarr

Crested dog's-tail

Scientific name: Cynosurus cristatus
Growing in tufts, Crested dog's-tail is a stiff-looking grass, with a tightly packed, rectangular flower spike. Look for it in lowland meadows and grasslands.

Species information


Height: up to 75cm

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


Once grown as a crop and used for making bonnets, Crested dog's-tail is a common, tufted, perennial grass of grasslands and meadows. It tolerates many different kinds of soils, but is generally a lowland species and does not like to be waterlogged.

How to identify

Growing in compact tufts, Crested dog's-tail is a rather stiff-looking grass with narrow, green leaves. It has short, upright flower spikes with a tightly packed cluster of spikelets (containing the flowers) arranged in a long, rectangular shape.



Did you know?

Crested dog's-tail is the foodplant of caterpillars of several butterfly species in the brown and skipper families.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts look after many meadow habitats using traditional methods, such as hay-cutting, reseeding and grazing, for the benefit of local wildlife. We are also working closely with farmers and landowners to promote wildlife-friendly practices in these areas. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from stockwatching to surveying meadow flowers.