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Specimen numbers are hyperlinked to records in the Consortium of California Herbaria data view where possible. Taxa are hyperlinked to entries in the Jepson Interchange via the "[Online Interchange]" link.

 

FESTUCA FESCUE, RYE GRASS

James P. Smith, Jr. & Susan G. Aiken


Annual, perennial herb, loosely to densely cespitose, generally ± glabrous, rhizomes present or 0; bisexual, dioecious in Festuca kingii. Stem: decumbent, ascending to erect, to 2 m. Leaf: basal and cauline; sheath generally persisting; collar generally glabrous; ligule generally < 1 mm, membranous, truncate, minutely fringed; blade flat or rolled, claw-like basal auricles generally 0. Inflorescence: panicle-like, branches dense and appressed to open and spreading or spike-like. Spikelet: glumes 2, < lowest floret, unequal, lower sometimes minute, 1–3-veined, upper 3–5-veined; axis breaking above glumes and between florets, florets (1)2–10(17), generally bisexual; lemma 3–5(7)-veined, base generally glabrous, tip entire, occasionally minutely 2-toothed, awn 0 or terminal, generally straight, glabrous; palea ± = lemma; stamens 3 or 1. Fruit: obovoid to elongate, free from or ± adhering to palea and lemma.
500+ species: cosmopolitan. (Latin: straw, stem or straw-like weed) [Darbyshire 2007 FNANM 24:443–448; Darbyshire & Pavlick 2007 FNANM 24:389–443; Lonard 2007 FNANM 24:448–454] As treated here, including ×Festulpia, ×Festulolium, Leucopoa, Lolium, ×Schedolium, ×Schedololium, Schedonorus, and Vulpia. Lolium rigidum Gaudin (combination in Festuca evidently not available), native to Europe and Africa, has been found sporadically as an urban and agricultural weed, but has not been collected in recent years and is doubtfully naturalized.
Unabridged references: [Aiken et al. 1996 onwards @ http://biodiversity.uno.edu/delta/festuca/index.htm [broken 21.vii.2010]; Lonard & Gould 1974 Madroño 22:217–230; Wilson 1999 Ph.D. Dissertation Oregon State Univ]

Key to Festuca

1. Inflorescence spike-like (sometimes sparingly branched); glume 1 except 0 in uppermost spikelet (subg. Lolium)

2. Glume < rest of spikelet; lower lemma firmly membranous, flat to rounded at base ..... F. perennis

2' Glume >= rest of spikelet; lower lemma becoming hard and thick at base ..... F. temulenta

1' Inflorescence panicle-like, branches dense and appressed to open and spreading, or raceme-like; glumes 2, lower sometimes minute

3. Dioecious; spikelets staminate or pistillate; reduced, sterile pistils sometimes present (subg. Leucopoa) ..... F. kingii

3' Bisexual; florets generally bisexual

4. Leaf blade with prominent claw-like or clasping basal auricles (subg. Schedonorus)

5. Auricles hairy (sometimes reduced to only 1 or 2 hairs); lemma generally minutely hairy, awn 0.5–4 mm or 0 ..... F. arundinacea

5' Auricles glabrous; lemma generally smooth, awn << 0.5 mm or 0 ..... F. pratensis

4' Leaf blade generally without prominent claw-like, clasping basal auricles (inconspicuous flap-like auricles sometimes present)

6. Annual; stamen 1 (subg. Vulpia)

7. Lower glume generally < 2 mm, < 1/2 upper glume, sometimes minute ..... F. myuros

7' Lower glume generally > 3 mm, >= 1/2 upper glume (2–3 mm, < 1/2 upper glume in some Festuca microstachys)

8. Florets (5)7–12, closely overlapping, spikelet axis hidden; lemma awn 0.5–5 mm ..... F. octoflora

8' Florets generally 1–7, loosely overlapping, spikelet axis visible, each internode > 1 mm; lemma awn 3.5–12 mm

9. Lowest inflorescence branches appressed to erect at maturity; branches without basal swellings ..... F. bromoides

9' Lowest inflorescence branches spreading or reflexed at maturity; branches with basal swellings ..... F. microstachys

6' Perennial herb; stamens generally 3 (subg. Festuca)

10. Leaf sheath closed, ± red, hairs ± downward-pointing ..... F. rubra

10' Leaf sheath open at least 1/2 its length, generally green, glabrous or hairy, hairs not downward-pointing

11. Florets long-stalked, spikelet axis jointed below florets ..... F. subuliflora

11' Florets not long-stalked, spikelet axis not jointed

12. Leaf blade generally (1)2–10 mm wide, flat or rolled longitudinally

13. Collar generally densely hairy (glabrous); lemma awn (0)1.5–2.5 mm, generally < 1/3 lemma; plants densely cespitose, with persistent dead leaf sheaths at base ..... F. californica (2)

13' Collar glabrous; lemma awn 2–20 mm, generally > 1/3 lemma; plants loosely cespitose, dead leaf sheaths inconspicuous or 0

14. Lemma distinctly 5-veined, awned from between 2 short teeth ..... F. elmeri

14' Lemma indistinctly veined, awn terminal ..... F. subulata

12' Leaf blade < 2.5 mm wide, folded or rolled inward toward upper side

15. Collar generally densely hairy, rarely glabrous; plants densely cespitose, with persistent dead leaf sheaths at base ..... F. californica (2)

15' Collar glabrous; plants loosely to densely cespitose, without persistent dead leaf sheaths at base (except Festuca idahoensis)

16. Lemma awns 3–12 mm

17. Ovary tip glabrous; awn < lemma body; leaf blade often glaucous or ± blue ..... F. idahoensis

17' Ovary tip hairy; awn generally > lemma body; leaf blade green ..... F. occidentalis

16' Lemma awns 0–2.5 mm

18. Spikelets 9–12 mm; lower cauline leaf blades much shorter and stiffer than the upper ..... F. viridula

18' Spikelets 2.5–9 mm; upper and lower cauline leaf blades similar

19. Anthers when dry 2–3.5 mm; plants of forested sites, generally 1100–1800 m ..... F. trachyphylla

19' Anthers when dry 0.5–2 mm; plants of subalpine or lower alpine habitats, generally > 3000 m

20. Anthers 0.9–1.2 mm when dry ..... F. saximontana

20' Anthers 0.4–0.8(0.9) mm when dry

21. Inflorescence branches at lowest node 0–1; ovary tip glabrous ..... F. brachyphylla subsp. breviculmis

21' Inflorescence branches at lowest node (1)2 or 3; ovary tip sparsely short-hairy ..... F. minutiflora

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Citation for an individual treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] [year]. [Taxon name] in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, [URL for treatment]. Accessed on [month, day, year].
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