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Published In: Flora Anglica (Hudson) 37. 1762. (Fl. Angl.) Name publication detail

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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4. Festuca pratensis Huds. (meadow fescue)

Pl. 176 f–h; Map 716

F. elatior L.

F. elatior var. pratensis (Huds.) A. Gray

F. elatior f. aristata E. Holmb.

Lolium pratense (Huds.) Darbysh.

Plants usually with short rhizomes, forming tufts or clumps, green to dark green. Flowering stems 30–100(120) cm long, sometimes dark purple at the base. Leaf sheaths open nearly to the base, the basal sheaths turning brown and becoming shredded into fibers at maturity, the ligule 0.2–0.5 mm long. Leaf blades 5–25 cm long, 3–7 mm wide, flat, glabrous, with a conspicuous pair of auricles at the tip (sometimes worn off or folded inward in older materials), these glabrous. Inflorescences 6–22 cm long, open or narrow, the branches loosely to strongly ascending at maturity, the lowermost branches with clusters of 4–7 mostly strongly overlapping spikelets toward the tip. Spikelets 9–15 mm long, 2.5–5.5 mm wide, elliptic‑lanceolate before flowering (oblong‑elliptic at maturity), with 4–10 florets. Lower glume 2.5–4.5 mm long, narrowly lanceolate, bluntly to sharply pointed at the tip. Upper glume 4–8 mm long, narrowly lanceolate, bluntly to sharply pointed at the tip, 1‑ or 3‑nerved. Lemmas 5–8 mm long, oblong‑elliptic, tapered to a sharp point or rarely an awn 0.5–2.0 mm long at the tip, not toothed, 5‑nerved, glabrous. Anthers 2–4 mm long. Fruits 2.5–3.5 mm long, reddish brown. 2n=14, 28, 42, mostly 2n=14. April–July (sometimes through October).

Scattered to common nearly throughout Missouri (native of Europe and Asia; widely planted and naturalized throughout most of the temperate portions of the world). Upland prairies and banks of streams, less commonly bottomland prairies and fens; also pastures, roadsides, railroads, levees, ditches, and moist, disturbed areas.

This species is planted in pastures and along roadsides but is not as commonly used as it once was, having been replaced by the more drought‑resistant F. arundinacea. For a discussion of the differences between the two, see the treatment of that species.

Terrell (1967) summarized the nomenclature of this species and agreed with other authors that application of the name F. elatior was ambiguous. Subsequently, this epithet was added to the list of officially rejected names in the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (Greuter et al., 1994).



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