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Genus Festuca Family Poaceae

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
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Leaves with blade 3 mm or more wide2
Leaves with blade 1 mm wide or less4
2Auricles (at base of blade) hairy or reduced to short hairs along margins of blade baseFestuca arundinacea
Auricles, if present, glabrous
                       Back to 1
3Leaves blades and culms extremely scabrous on both surfaces; auricle(s) if present, often on 1 side of sheath apex onlyFestuca muelleri
Leaves blades smooth and shiny below (sometimes slightly scabrous above) culms smooth; auricles stem clasping (on both sides of sheath apex)
                       Back to 2
Festuca pratensis
4Leaves blades scabrous; sheath open to base; plants tuftedFestuca asperula
Leaves blades smooth; sheath tubular when young; plants tufted or rhizomatous
                       Back to 1
5Rhizomes present; plants forming a turf (often only scattered shoots visible); mature inflorescences sometimes scarcely exsertedFestuca rubra
Rhizomes absent; plants tufted, also forming a turf; mature inflorescences always well exserted
                       Back to 4
Festuca nigrescens

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