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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 73–74. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 8/27/2009)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Introduced


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2. Festuca ovina L. (sheep fescue)

Pl. 177 g; Map 714

Plants without rhizomes, forming dense tufts or small clumps, dark bluish green. Flowering stems 20–60 cm long. Leaves mostly basal. Leaf sheaths open nearly to the base, glabrous, persistent at maturity, sometimes turning light brown at maturity, but not becoming shredded into fibers, the ligule 0.2–0.5 mm long. Leaf blades 1–15 cm long, 0.3–0.6 mm wide, folded or with inrolled margins, without auricles, glabrous. Inflorescences 3–10 cm long, narrow or somewhat open, the branches ascending at maturity, the lowermost branches with 3–7 mostly strongly overlapping spikelets. Spikelets 5–7 mm long, 2–4 mm wide, elliptic‑lanceolate before flowering (oblong‑elliptic at maturity), with 3–8 florets. Lower glume 2.0–3.5 mm long, narrowly lanceolate, sharply pointed at the tip. Upper glume 3.0–4.5 mm long, narrowly lanceolate, sharply pointed at the tip, 3‑nerved. Lemmas 3–4 mm long, oblong‑elliptic, tapered to an awn 0.5–2.5 mm long at the tip, not toothed, very faintly 5‑nerved, usually glabrous. Anthers 2.0–2.5 mm long. Fruits 2.2–2.8 mm long, reddish brown. 2n=14. May–July.

Introduced, known only from St. Louis County and city (native of Europe and Asia; introduced widely in temperate portions of the world). Railroads and disturbed, grassy areas.

As with the closely related F. trachyphylla, this species was once a common component of turf grass seed mixes but has mostly been replaced commercially by other, more drought‑tolerant species.



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