Molinia caerulea (L.) Moench




Author: Alain Peeters

Common names

Purple moor-grass (English), Molinie or molinie bleue (French), Keifengras (German).


Perennial plant, glabrescent, cespitous. Stems erect, 10 - 100 cm (-150) high (in some subspecies up to 200 - 250 cm). Long stems without leaves, with no visible node (all nodes are located close to the tillering level). Blade rolled when young, wide, rough. Ligule reduced to a hairy row. No auricles. Panicle - like elongated inflorescence, erect, contracted after flowering. Spikelets with 2 - 3 spaced flowers. The weight of 1000 seeds is 0.50 to 0.70 g (small seeds). Chromosome number: 2n = 18 or 36 or 96.


Large climate range. There are several subspecies with particular ecology.


Optimum on cool, wet to boggy soils. Restricted to soils very poor in nutrients (oligotrophic species) and very acid. The subspecies arundinaceae (Schrank) K. Richts grows however on calcareous or marl soils. Particularly sensitive to the soil phosphorus content. Mainly on peat soils, also on humus - rich sands (podzols).


Native to Europe, West Asia, North Africa and to the East of North America. From the lowlands up to 2300 m in the Alps.