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Wood Melick

Scientific name: Melica uniflora
Wood Melick is a slender, drooping grass that grows in dense patches in ancient woodlands and along shady banks. It has nodding flower heads, with brown, egg-shaped spikelets that contain the flowers.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 70cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

January to December

About

The delicate, nodding heads of Wood Melick can be seen from May to July in shady banks and woodlands, often on chalk soils and under Common Beech trees. It merrily grows alongside other wild plants that indicate the ancient age of a woodland, such as Bluebells and Ramsons. All these plants provide vital food and shelter for various woodland creatures.

How to identify

Wood Melick has bright green, drooping leaves that grow in dense patches, and thin stems with loose flower heads. The flower heads are not particularly branched and have open, brown, egg-shaped spikelets that contain the flowers.

Distribution

Mainly found in England and Wales, scarce elsewhere.

Did you know?

Certain plants, such as Wood Melick, are used as indicators of how old a woodland is, although these plants may differ from region to region, simply because habitats, soils and conditions change the flora present.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves sympathetically for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife. A mix of coppicing, scrub-cutting, ride maintenance and non-intervention all help woodland wildlife to thrive. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from traditional forest crafts to surveying for woodland plants.