Velvet Grass (Holcus lanatus)

Velvet Grass

By William T. Hathaway

The Velvet Grass (Holcus lanatus) is widely scattered throughout Pittsylvania County in small isolated clumps or as individual plants. In the early morning dew the grass may have silvery reflections from sunlight that set it apart from other grasses in an environmental setting.

It is interesting that Velvet Grass occasionally produces prussic acid in amounts that may cause poisoning when eaten fresh or in wilted conditions. Most browsing cattle are safe from this toxic effect, since this weedy introduced grass from Europe is somewhat rare.

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