Fern, Grass, Sedge and Rushes

Ferns: Ferns are non-flowering plants. They reproduce with spores instead of seeds. Ferns typically have large, feathery fronds (leaves) that unfurl from a central fiddlehead.

Grasses: Grasses have hollow, round stems with joints (nodes) that allow them to bend easily. Their leaves have parallel veins and a distinctive sheath at the base where the leaf meets the stem. Grasses produce small, wind-pollinated flowers that are often inconspicuous.

Sedges: Sedges can be distinguished from grasses by their solid, triangular stems. Their leaves also have parallel veins, but they may feel rougher or more edged than grass leaves. Sedge flowers are usually inconspicuous and arranged in spikes or clusters.

Rushes: Rushes have round, solid stems similar to grasses, but they are typically stiffer and lack the joints found in grasses. Rush leaves are usually round or have a v-shaped cross-section, and they may be absent altogether in some species. Rush flowers are also small and wind-pollinated.




Pteridium aquilinum.

Bracken is the UK’s most widespread Fern. Plants are knee-high in summer and it dies back in winter, leaving a rusty brown blanket until spring unfurls its tightly curled new leaves.

Common Polypody

Common Polypody
Wall between car entrance and exit

Polypodium vulgare.

According to the 1988 “Plants of Nottingham” this is one of only two sites where this fern is recorded in Nottingham.


Ha-Ha between Hall and Golf Course

Asplenium ruta-muraria.

The Common Wall-rue is a small fern that grows on limestone rocks and in crevices in old walls.

It’s also known as Maidenhair Spleenwort.

Hart’s Tongue Fern

Hart's Tongue Fern
Beeston Lodge and Ha-Ha

Asplenium scolopendrium.

An evergreen fern, with a single undivided frond (leaf)


Ha-Ha, east of Hall.

Equisetum arvense.

Horsetail is a prehistoric plant with two types of stems: green, hollow shoots for summer and brown, spore-covered ones in spring.


Identifications are subject to confirmation.

Crested Dog’s-tail

Grass: Crested Dog's-tail
Cambridge Road Field

Cynosurus cristatus.

Meadow Foxtail

Meadow Foxtail

Alopecurus pratensis

Marsh Foxtail

Marsh Foxtail

Alopecurus geniculatus

Common Reed

Common Reed
Reed bed

Phragmites Australia


Conservation Field

Genus Hordeum.


Grass: Fescue
Cambridge Road Field

Genus Festuca.

Foxtail Family

Foxtail Grasses
Cambridge Field

Genus Alopecurus


Genus Holcus
Cambridge Road

Genus Holcus

Orchard Grass Family

Sweet Grass Family

Rush family

Soft Rush

Parkside & Pilkingtons

Juncus effusus.


Duck Decoy

Typha latifolia.

Common Club-rush

Common Club-rush
Duck Decoy

Schoenoplectus lacustris.

Common Spike-rush

Common Spike-rush
Pilkingtons Field

Eleocharis palustris.

Sedge Family

Wood clubrush

Wood Clubrush
Duck Decoy

Scirpus sylvaticus.

Despite its name, it’s a Sedge, not a Rush! This is down to the triangular stem.

Photographs used on these Wildflower pages were taken in Wollaton Park and are reproduced with the original artist’s permission. 

Credits:  Colin Robbins, Gila Taylor, Chris Golightly, Kiyoko Naish, Michael Hayes, Unni Williams, Kyle Heesom, Wendy Martin.

Copyright © for each picture remains with the original artist, who is duly acknowledged and credited for each image.