Today I was lucky to get a place on a grass identification workshop hosted by Reading University and run by Nick Law. It was free to 15 volunteers on the National Plant Monitoring Scheme and aimed at complete beginners to relative parvenus such as myself. Despite an early start after a broken night's sleep (on-call) I managed to concentrate as we were taken through keying out various specimens. Although I've keyed out a few grasses myself in the past it was great to do it with an expert and learn the variations of different definitions (especially the range of what is considered to be a 'panicle'!).
At the end of the session we were given a tour around the University's herbarium which, coincidentally, houses the collection of Charles Edward Hubbard, one of the fathers of modern grass study and the author of a book on the identification of British grasses we'd used in the workshop.
At the end of the class we were given two specimens to take away and have a go at identifying on our own. This was one of them and I reckon it's Catapodium rigidum or fern grass.
An added bonus stemmed from the fact that my old chum Prof Hilson was in his office: we had lunch in the Harris gardens and Anna cooked a delicious dinner before I headed back down the motorways having missed the awful rush-hour(s) traffic.