Agrostis (bent or bentgrass) is a large and very nearly cosmopolitan genus of plants in the grass family, found in nearly all the countries in the world. It has been bred as a GMO creeping bent grass.
Hundreds of species were listed in the Agrostis genus, but are now considered better suited to other genera: Achnatherum, Aira, Alloteropsis, Apera, Arundinella, Calamagrostis, Chaetopogon, Chionochloa, Chloris, Cinna, Colpodium, Crypsis, Cynodon, Deschampsia, Dichelachne, Digitaria, Eremochloa, Eriochloa, Eustachys, Gastridium, Graphephorum, Gymnopogon, Lachnagrostis, Leptochloa, Muhlenbergia, Pentameris, Phippsia, Piptatherum, Poa, Polypogon, Puccinellia, Reimarochloa, Relchela, Schismus, Sporobolus and Zingeria.
Some species of bents are commonly used for lawn grass. This is a desirable grass for golf course tees, fairways and greens.
Bentgrass is used in turf applications for its numerous advantages: it can be mowed to a very short length without damage, it can handle a great amount of foot traffic, it has a shallow root system that is thick and dense allowing it to be seeded and grow rather easily, and it has a pleasing, deep green appearance. The name "bent" refers to the shallow roots, which bend just below the surface of the soil to propagate laterally.
(Agrostis stolonifera) is the most commonly used species of Agrostis. Historically, it was often called Orcheston long grass, after a village on Salisbury Plain, England. It is cultivated almost exclusively on golf courses, especially on putting greens. Creeping bent aggressively produces horizontal stems, called stolons, that run along the soil's surface. These allow creeping bent to form dense stands under conducive conditions and outcompete bunch-type grass and broadleaf weeds. As such, if infested in a home lawn, it can become a troublesome weed problem. The leaves of the bentgrass are long and slender.
Creeping bentgrass has been genetically engineered to be glyphosate tolerant, as "one of the first wind-pollinated, perennial, and highly outcrossing transgenic crops". In 2003 the Scotts Company planted it as part of a large (about 160 ha) field trial in central Oregon near Madras, Oregon. In 2004, its pollen was found to have reached wild growing bentgrass populations up to 14 kilometres away. Cross-pollinating Agrostis gigantea was even found at a distance of 21 kilometres. The grower could not remove all genetically engineered plants and in 2007, the U.S. Department of Agriculture fined the grower $500 thousand for non-compliance with regulations in 2007.
(Agrostis capillaris or Colonial bent) was brought to America from Europe. This was the type of grass that was used on the lawns of most estates. It is the tallest of the bents with very fine texture and like most bent grasses grows very dense. Although this species has been used on golf courses and sporting fields it is better suited for lawns. Colonial bent is fairly easy to grow from seeds and fertilization of the lawn is not as intense. This grass also takes longer to establish than creeping bent. However it does not require the intense maintenance.
(Agrostis canina) gets it name for the velvet appearance that this grass produces. It has the finest texture of all the bent grasses. This grass was used in Europe for estate lawns and golf courses because it could be cut so short. Velvet bent grass requires similar upkeep and maintenance to creeping bent. Velvet bent has recently had a resurgence in the UK due to the high demands on greens from inclement weather and speed expectations. This species also has a lighter color than the two previous species.
Butterflies whose caterpillars feed on Agrostis include: