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I have simplified the keys made in the earlier posts to make them more like crib notes that can be taken in the field and checked with a more detailed guide such as a flora or Averis. The species chosen are those in the NVC for the more common heathland associations in particular H10/H12 and H18 (I have added A curstsii). The keys are vegetative so they can be used throughout the year. No attempt made to separate Festuca complex or Agrostis canina/vinealis.  

Woody / shrub plants

1) Leaves obviously tiny, up to 2mm      Calluna vulgaris

2) Leaves obviously whorled in 3 or 4s   Erica

3s  E cinerea

4s  E tetralix

3) Leaves alternating

Stem bright green                  Vaccinium myrtillus

Leaves strongly folded T/S   Empetrum nigrum

Hairy buds, pinnate lvs          Sorbus aucuparia

(N.B. Dwarf shrubs not included as they are unlikely to be found in this area are Vaccinium vitis idaea, V uliginosum, Arctostaphylos uva ursi, Cornus suecica and Juniperis communis)

Fine leaved Grasses up to 1.2mm T/S

1) Ligule very short, less than 0.3mm     Festuca

Open sheaths/ all lvs narrow    F ovina agg(vivipara/filiformis)

Closed sheaths/ culm lvs wider  F rubra complex

2) Ligule 0.3-2mm

Persistent clustered sheaths/ lvs rough/white in winter

          Nardus stricta

Tufted plant/ lvs smooth/ purplish sheaths

            Deschampsia flexuosa

3)  Ligule, acute  1.5-4mm. lvs grey /green     Agrostis curtsii

Wide leaved Grasses, usually flat and + 1.2mm

1) No membranous ligule

Ligule fringe of short hairs only                     Molinia caerula

Long whiskery hairs at leaf junction               Danthonia decumbens

2) Membranous ligule +long hairs                    Anthoxanthemum odoratum

3) Membranous ligule + stiff/very rough lvs   Deschampsia cespitosa

4) Membranous ligule + soft lvs  Agrostis

Ligule shorter than wide A capillaris

Ligule longer than wide a) Tufted                A vinealis

b) Stolons               A canina 

(N.B. A canina/vinealis v diff to differentiate if growth form not obvious)

 

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