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Published In: Contributions from the United States National Herbarium 1(5): 197. 1913. (Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb.) 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: Native


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Plants with short rhizomes, forming loose tufts, green or dark green. Flowering stems 60–130 cm long, usually dark purple at the base. Leaf sheaths open nearly to the base, roughened, persistent or sometimes rupturing between the veins, the ligule 0.5–1.2 mm long. Leaf blades 10–30 cm long, 3–7 mm wide, flat, without auricles, roughened along the margins and veins. Inflorescences 10–25 cm long, open, the branches loosely ascending, spreading, or sometimes drooping at maturity, the lowermost branches with clusters of 3–6 mostly strongly overlapping spikelets toward the tip. Spikelets 8–11 mm long, 2–4 mm wide, lanceolate before flowering (narrowly ovate to obovate at maturity), with 3 or 4(5) florets. Lower glume 3–4 mm long, narrowly lanceolate, sharply pointed at the tip. Upper glume 4.5–6.0 mm long, lanceolate, sharply pointed at the tip, 3‑nerved. Lemmas 5–9 mm long, lanceolate, tapered to a sharp point or an awn 0.3–1.0 mm long at the tip, not toothed, 5‑nerved, the lateral nerves sometimes faint, roughened. Anthers 1.8–2.3 mm long. Fruits 3.5–4.2 mm long, reddish brown. 2n=28. April–May.

Known only from a single historical collection from Jasper County (Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico; disjunct in Missouri). Dry, rocky ledges.

The identity of the single Missouri specimen was determined by Susan Aiken (Canadian Museum of Nature), who also provided a detailed morphological analysis of this and related taxa to the author. The occurrence is more than 1,100 km to the east of the main distribution of this relatively uncommon species and also at a much lower elevation. Its presence in the state cannot be explained easily, but examination of the field notebooks of its collector, E. J. Palmer, preserved at the University of Missouri’s Dunn‑Palmer Herbarium, indicates that the specimen was not mislabeled. Unfortunately, most of the area around Carthage, where the plant was collected, was subsequently impacted heavily by lead mining, and it seems unlikely that the species is extant in Missouri.

Festuca sororia resembles F. subverticillata in general aspect but differs most noticeably in its larger spikelets in denser clusters toward the branch tips. It also has the rachillas densely roughened, vs. glabrous in F. subverticillata.



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