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Common (vernacular) names applied to California vascular plants

compiled by Elizabeth Painter

up to date as of May 1, 2016

Common names (also referred to as vernacular names) are applied differently at different times and places by different users. This list is compiled from many sources and is intended to be as comprehensive as possible. It is not intended to indicate which common name is correct or preferred. Please send comments about this page to Elizabeth Painter (

TaxonFestuca microstachys
Family common name(s)grass; true grass
Genus common name(s)fescue; fescue-grass; fescue grass; fescuegrass; festuce
Species common name(s)Nuttall's fescue; Nuttall's vulpia; Nuttall fescue; small six-weeks grass; small sixweeks grass; two-flower fescue; twoflower fescue; three-weeks fescue; three weeks fescue; three-week fescue; three week fescue; hairy-leaved fescue; hairy-leaf fescue; hairyleaf fescue; small fescue
Common name(s) specific to synonym; taxon noted in bracketsEastwood's fescue [Vulpia microstachys var. ciliata]; Eastwood fescue [Vulpia microstachys var. ciliata]; Gray's fescue [Vulpia microstachys var. ciliata]; Gray fescue [Vulpia microstachys var. ciliata]; hairy fescue [Vulpia microstachys var. ciliata]; confusing fescue [Vulpia microstachys var. confusa]; Tracy's fescue [Vulpia microstachys var. confusa]; Tracy fescue [Vulpia microstachys var. confusa]; Pacific fescue [Vulpia microstachys var. pauciflora]; few-flowered fescue [Vulpia microstachys var. pauciflora]; few flowered fescue [Vulpia microstachys var. pauciflora]; few-flower fescue [Vulpia microstachys var. pauciflora]; small-flowered reflexed vulpia [Vulpia microstachys var. pauciflora]; common hairy-leaf fescue [Vulpia microstachys var. pauciflora]; common hairy leaf fescue [Vulpia microstachys var. pauciflora]; common hairleaf fescue [Vulpia microstachys var. pauciflora]
Common name(s) generally applied to other taxa or multiple taxanative annual fescue, fringed fescue, ciliate fescue, zorro grass are applied to multiple Vulpia [Festuca] taxa; little fescue, gray fescue, grey fescue are applied to multiple Festuca s.l. taxa; rat-tail fescue, rat tail fescue, rattail fescue are more commonly applied to Festuca [Vulpia] myuros; mousetail grass, mouse-tail grass, mouse tail grass, six-weeks grass, six weeks grass, sixweeks grass, sixweeks-grass, six-week grass are applied to multiple Poaceae taxa; silver grass, silvergrass, rat-tail, rat tail, rattail, rat's tail are applied to taxa in multiple families
NotesEastwood, Gray (when referring to a person, e.g., A. Gray), Nuttall are proper names, so upper case preferable; Eastwoods, Grays, Grey, Nuttalls, Nuttal, Nuttals, Nuttal's, Nuttals' are errors
Synonymy: The Jepson Manual (1993), FNA, PLANTS, etcvar. ciliata A. Gray ex Beal; var. pauciflora Scribn. ex Beal; simulans (Hoover) Hoover; Festuca arida Elmer; Festuca confusa Piper; Festuca eastwoodiae Piper; Festuca grayi (Abrams) Piper; Festuca pacifica Piper; Festuca reflexa Buckley; Festuca tracyi Hitchc; Vulpia microstachys (Nutt.) Munro var. ciliata (Beal) Lonard & Gould; Vulpia microstachys (Nutt.) Munro var. confusa (Piper) Lonard & Gould; Vulpia microstachys (Nutt.) Munro var. microstachys; Vulpia microstachys (Nutt.) Munro var. pauciflora (Beal) Lonard & Gould.
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