Information on Quaking-grass

Common Name: Quaking-grass
Scientific Name: Briza media
Irish Name: Féar gortach
Family Group: Poaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Quaking-grass is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.


This is such a delicate and most attractive perennial grass which is commonly found throughout the country.  It is easy to identify it as it has quivering, pendulous little triangular panicles of up to twelve really tiny flowers which tremble and shiver in the wind from June to August.  Initially the flowerheads are pale green but they gradually fade to a golden brown.  It has pale green, hairless, slender, blunt-tipped leavesand grows mainly on calcareous soils, reaching a height of about 25-30cm.  It is a native plant which belongs to the family Poaceae.

I first identified this beautiful grass in the Burren, Co Clare in 1980 and photographed it there in 2005.  

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Quaking-grass
Quaking-grass

Legend has it that this plant was named 'Féar gortach' – hungry grass – as it has very little nutritional value.