FESTUCA L. Fescue
Plants hermaphroditic, caespitose or rhizomatous or stolonioferous, perennial. Culms erect or ascending or
decumbent, glabrous or glaucous; internodes hollow or solid, terete. Leaves basal or basal and cauline;
not distinctly distichous; sheaths terete, margins open; auricles present or absent; ligules membranous
(rarely a ciliate membrane); blades flat or folded or involute, stiff or lax. Panicles open or narrow or
contracted, primary branches spreading or ascending or appressed. Spikelets solitary, laterally
compressed, disarticulation above glumes, awned or awnless, pedicellate; florets 3-12, reduced
florets at apex, rachilla not extended above upper floret; glumes 2, 1-3-veined, unequal (narrow and
acuminate), shorter than first floret, glabrous, awned and awnless; lemmas 5-7-veined
(inconspicuous), membranous to coriaceous, glabrous, apex obtuse or acute or acuminate,
usually awned or awnless, awn straight; paleas 2-veined, awnless, glabrous. Stamens 3; anthers yellow.
Caryopses with pericarp free, ovoid or elliptic or fusiform. Base chromosome number x=7.
A genus of about 100 species from temperate and other cool regions of the world. A few European species
of Festuca have been introduced into the United States for pastures or lawns. The native species are important for
livestock forage in more arid zones. The plants occur on hills, mountains, prairies, or in meadows.