Description: Tufted perennials, rarely with slender creeping rhizomes.
Leaves with ligule membranous, usually short; blade flat or bristle-like, rolled or folded in the bud, sometimes auriculate (or with hairs at blade base).
Inflorescence a narrow or open panicle.
Spikelets solitary, often borne on long pedicels, the rachilla disarticulating above the glumes and between the florets, few–several-flowered, the uppermost florets reduced. Glumes unequal, narrow, acute, lower glume 1-nerved, upper glume 3–5-nerved. Lemma acute or rarely obtuse, membranous or stiff, rounded on back, usually at least at the base, obscurely 5-nerved; apex awnless, or mucronate, or awned from the tip, or rarely awned from a minutely 2-fid apex; callus and rachilla glabrous. Palea slightly shorter than lemma, 2-keeled. Ovary sometimes hairy on top; hilum linear.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 80 species, America, Asia & Europe. Australia: 10 species (5 species native, 5 species naturalized), all States except N.T.
Mostly from temperate regions of both hemispheres but extending into mountain areas of the tropics. Some species used as lawn and pasture grasses. Three Australian species have been transferred to Austrofestuca. F. glauca Vill. is a small tufted grass with fine leaves intensely blue-grey in colour owing to the 'bloom' on the surface. A native of Europe, it is often grown in rock gardens but flowers only rarely in N.S.W.
Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & K. L. McClay
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Leaves with blade 3 mm or more wide||2|
|Leaves with blade 1 mm wide or less||4|
|2||Auricles (at base of blade) hairy or reduced to short hairs along margins of blade base||Festuca arundinacea|
|Auricles, if present, glabrous|
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|3||Leaves blades and culms extremely scabrous on both surfaces; auricle(s) if present, often on 1 side of sheath apex only||Festuca muelleri|
|Leaves blades smooth and shiny below (sometimes slightly scabrous above) culms smooth; auricles stem clasping (on both sides of sheath apex)|
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|4||Leaves blades scabrous; sheath open to base; plants tufted||Festuca asperula|
|Leaves blades smooth; sheath tubular when young; plants tufted or rhizomatous|
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|5||Rhizomes present; plants forming a turf (often only scattered shoots visible); mature inflorescences sometimes scarcely exserted||Festuca rubra|
|Rhizomes absent; plants tufted, also forming a turf; mature inflorescences always well exserted|
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