Downy oat-grass is a loosely tufted perennial with an attractive inflorescence growing to about 90cm. The leaf blades are soft and covered with soft hairs although these can rub off with age.
It can be confused with false oat-grass (Arrhenatherum elatius) and its cousin, meadow oat grass (Avenula pratensis) and details on how to distinguish the three are given on the meadow oat-grass page.
NB Until recently this species was know by the old botanical name of Helictotrichon pubescens.
Downy oat-grass is a native perennial found in a wide range of moist or dry, neutral to calcareous grasslands. It can be found in meadows and pastures, on roadsides and railway banks and in open woodlands and rides. It is particularly characteristic of old, floristically diverse meadows and, although reasonably tolerant of manuring, is quickly lost if artificial fertilisers are used allowing competition from more vigorous fodder-grasses
Probably best sown in the autumn but can be sown at any time of the year.