There may be a great deal of overlap, between the grass species found in hay and water
meadows. The exact species mix will depend on such factors as how often the meadow is
flooded and for how long, together with the degree of saturation of the soil at other
times of the year. Cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerata), Timothy (Phleum pratense),
Sweet Vernal-grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum) and Crested Dog's-tail (Cynosurus
cristatus) may all be present, together with species such as Meadow Foxtail (Alopecurus
pratensis), Yorkshire Fog (Holcus lanatus), Meadow Fescue (Festuca
pratensis) and Tufted Hair-grass (Deschampsia caespitosa).
In very wet areas, Purple Moor-grass (Molinia caerulea) may be
dominant. This grass has little agricultural value as it is only palatable to sheep and
cattle when young. It can become a problem as it will tend to dominate the habitat to the
detriment of other more palatable species, also reducing species diversity overall.
||Sedges and rushes are characteristic of
damp areas and are common on wet meadows. Soft Rush in particular is a common component of
wet meadows (the tall dark green spikes of foliage in the picture on the left), together
with Creeping Buttercup and Lady's-smock which both thrive in the damp conditions.
A variety of other herbs such as Marsh Marigolds, Ragged Robin, Marsh
Bedstraw, Marsh Thistles, Bugle and Forget-me-nots intermingle with the grasses and
rushes. Southern Marsh-orchids may also be found.