The name derives from the Greek alopékuros “foxtail”, referring to the appearance of the cylindrical spike inflorescences. This genus includes rustic herbs, some annuals, other perennials. There are many spontaneous species in Italy, widespread throughout the peninsula, in meadows and in humid places, generally appetites from livestock as fodder, but not sufficiently ornamental to deserve a crop.

Alopecurus (Graminaceae)
Alopecurus (Graminaceae)

Cultivated species of Alopecurus:

Alopecurus pratensis (50-100 cm) grows spontaneously in Europe; the var. aureo-variegatus, lower than the species, is used in the flowerbeds for the variegated foliage; Alopecurus lanatus (15-20 cm) has fluffy leaves and a silvery-white appearance; in summer it produces green or purple spikes. They are both perennial species.


the species that are cultivated do not have particular needs of soil, provided this is well drained; they thrive in full sun. They multiply by dividing the tufts in spring or by sowing outdoors as soon as the seeds are ripe.

Also read: Alonsoa (Scrophulariaceae).