Festuca of North America


S. G. Aiken, M. J. Dallwitz, C. L. McJannet, and L. L. Consaul

Character List

Nomenclature #1. <Common name>/

#2. <Place of valid publication and synonymy based on the type>/

#3. Type: <specimen>/

Habit #4. <Synonymy>/

#5. Plants <sexuality>/

1. bisexual /

2. dioecious/

#6. Plants <colour>/

1. yellowish green/

2. bluish gray green/

3. deep green/

Plant colour yellowish green refers to the lighter grass green colour common in pasture grasses. Deep green is seen after Poa lawn has been fed nitrogen and often in shade species. Bluish gray green refers to the typical glaucous colouring that results from a waxy surface. It is conspicuous in Festuca "glauca" of the turf trade, but common in several species.

#7. Plants <height>/

cm high/

#8. Plants <habit at base>/

1. densely tufted/

2. not densely tufted/

Densely tufted was originally intended to distinguish bunch grasses from other species, but it applies to Arctic caespitose species in subgenus Festuca. Species which are normally loosely tufted may appear densely tufted when growing in confined spaces.

#9. Tiller bases <whether erect>/

1. stiffly erect/

2. not stiffly erect <loosely curving or decumbent>/

The character was originally to distinguish bunch grasses, but is useful in distinguishing some other taxa, e.g. erect F. brachyphylla from somewhat decumbent F. edlundiae.

#10. Bases <of plant, pigmentation>/

1. purplish/

2. not purplish/

This character was included to test its usefulness in distinguishing the rough "royal fescue" of Alberta, so called because of its deep purple sheaths. It has been found to be rather variable.

#11. Horizontal rooting stems <presence>/

1. present/

2. absent <or very short>/

Species which normally have well developed rhizomes may not develop them when growing in rock crevices. Also, rhizomes may be absent from young plants, or specimens collected without sufficient root material.

#12. <Secondary> vegetative shoots <position>/

1. arising from within existing sheaths/

2. arising outside, or breaking through the base of existing sheaths/

See Aiken and Darbyshire 1990, Plate 1. State 1: Figs. 3–4. State 2: Figs. 1–2.

Sheaths #13. Sheaths <pubescence>/

1. glabrous/

2. glabrescent/

3. with trichomes/

#14. Sheaths <longevity>/

1. not conspicuous at the base of the plant/

2. conspicuous at the base of the plant, persisting for more than 1 year/

#15. Sheaths <whether splitting when dead>/

1. splitting between the veins/

2. remaining entire, not conspicuously splitting between the veins/

See Aiken and Darbyshire 1990, Plate 1. State 1: Fig. 1. State 2: Fig. 3.

#16. Sheaths <opening>/

1. closed more than half their length/

2. open more than half their length /

State 1: see Aiken and Darbyshire 1990, Plate 2.

Collars and ligules #17. Collars <pubescence>/

1. glabrous /

2. villous/

#18. Auricles <presence, form>/

1. present, claw-like/

2. represented by distinct, erect, swellings <i.e. ligules higher on the sides than in the centre>/

3. absent <the auricle positions rounded but without distinct swellings>/

#19. Auricular cilia <presence, on the auricles or at the auricular positions>/

1. present/

2. absent /

#20. Auricular cilia <type>/

1. short and scabrous-like/

2. long and pilose-like/

#21. Ligules <length>/

mm long/

#22. Ligules <pubescence>/

1. without cilia/

2. ciliate/

Leaf blades #23. Leaf blades <length>/

cm long/

#24. Leaf blades <texture when mature and dried>/

1. erect, stiffish/

2. more or less lax/

#25. Adaxial blade surfaces <vestiture>/

1. glabrous/

2. with trichomes/

#26. Abaxial blade surfaces <vestiture>/

1. glabrous/

2. with trichomes/

#27. Leaf blades <shape>/

1. flat/

2. plicate/

#28. <Flat> leaf blades <width>/

mm wide/

#29. <Plicate> leaf blades <width>/

mm wide/

See Aiken et al. 1985, Can. J. Bot. 63: 998, Fig. 1, position 1. Aiken and Darbyshire 1990, Plate 3.

#30. <Plicate> leaf blades <depth>/

mm deep/

See Aiken et al. 1985, Can. J. Bot. 63:998, Fig. 1, position 2. Aiken and Darbyshire 1990, Plate 3.

Leaf blade anatomy #31. Veins <total number of large and small veins (vascular bundles) in the leaf blade>/

#32. Adaxial to abaxial sclerenchyma strands <presence>/

1. present/

2. absent/

State 2: see Aiken and Darbyshire 1990, Plate 3.

#33. Abaxial sclerenchyma <development in plicate leaves>/

1. poorly developed <usually only at the outer leaf margin and midrib, along less than 10% of the leaf surface>/

2. well developed <present opposite large bundles, always along more than 10% of the margin>/

#34. Abaxial sclerenchyma <character of strands>/

1. in discrete, relatively narrow strands opposite the veins/

2. in broad bands or continuous/

#35. Ribs <number> /

Some species, such as the rough fescues and F. rubra have very strongly defined ribs. In other species, especially Arctic and alpine taxa the degree of development of the ribs appears to be somewhat related to the age of the leaf.

Culms #36. Uppermost culm leaf sheaths <whether inflated>/

1. somewhat inflated/

2. not inflated/

The "somewhat inflated" condition was used to test a character suggested by Frederiksen (1977) to distinguish F. hyperborea. It is of limited use.

#37. Flag leaf blades <length>/

cm long/

#38. Culm nodes <whether exposed>/

1. never exposed <sheaths longer than the internode>/

2. becoming exposed <sheaths shorter than the internode>/

#39. Culm nodes <number visible>/

#40. Culm internodes <vestiture on culm below the inflorescence>/

1. glabrous/

2. scabrous-hirsute/

3. densely pubescent/

Inflorescence #41. Inflorescence <type>/

1. spicate <spikelets sessile>/

2. paniculate <or spike-like panicle spikelets pedicilate> /

#42. Inflorescence <length>/

cm long/

#43. Rachis internodes <whether cuneate in cross section>/

1. cuneate in cross section/

2. not cuneate in cross section /

#44. Inflorescence branches at the lowest node <number>/

#45. Inflorescence branches <deportment>/

1. appressed after anthesis <but may be spreading during anthesis>/

2. spreading <or the lower ones reflexed>/

#46. Inflorescence branches <length>/

cm long/

#47. Rachis <branches shape in cross section>/

1. rounded in cross section/

2. angular in cross section/

#48. Rachis <vestiture>/

1. trichomes mainly on the ridges/

2. trichomes over the entire surface/

Spikelets #49. Spikelets <arrangement> /

1. loosely scattered in an open panicle with slender branches/

2. aggregated towards the ends of the branches/

3. evenly distributed along the branches/

#50. Spikelets <whether alternate>/

1. alternating on opposite sides of the rachis/

2. not alternating on opposite sides of the rachis /

#51. Spikelet edges <whether fitting into the rachis>/

1. fitting into the rachis/

2. not fitting into the rachis /

#52. Spikelets <number>/

on the longest branches <or rachis>/

#53. Spikelets <length>/

mm long/

#54. Spikelets <width at, or after, anthesis>/

mm wide/

#55. Proliferating spikelets <presence>/

1. <usually> present/

2. <usually> absent/

Considers condition where most spikelets of an inflorescence are vegetatively proliferating.

#56. <Number of> florets/

Glumes #57. First glumes <presence>/

1. present /

2. absent/

#58. Glumes <relative length>/

1. subequal/

2. unequal /

#59. Glumes <vestiture presence>/

1. glabrous/

2. with trichomes <scaberulous or puberulent>/

#60. Glumes vestiture <position>/

1. at the apex only/

2. over most of the outer surface/

#61. Glumes margins <whether ciliate>/

1. ciliate/

2. not ciliate/

#62. First glume <length>/

mm long/

#63. First glume veins <number>/

#64. Second glume <length relative to first lemma>/

1. shorter than the first lemma/

2. as long as the first lemma, or almost as long/

#65. Second glume <length>/

mm long/

#66. Second glume veins <number>/

Rachilla #67. Rachilla internodes <length>/

mm long/

#68. Rachilla internodes <vestiture>/

1. glabrous, or nearly so/

2. antrorsely scabrous /

Lemma #69. Lemma callus <whether elongated>/

1. elongated with a tuft of stiff hairs at the base/

2. not elongated /

Character refers to elongated lemma callus of F. subuliflora.

#70. Lemma <length>/

mm long/

#71. Lemma <venation>/

1. with 5 distinct veins in dorsal view/

2. nerveless in dorsal view or sometimes with only the centre vein distinct /

#72. Lemma <epidermis vestiture presence>/

1. glabrous/

2. with trichomes/

#73. Lemma trichomes <vestiture position>/

1. on the upper portion only/

2. over the entire surface/

#74. Lemma apex <shape>/

1. entire/

2. apically cleft <bifid>/

3. erose/

#75. Lemma awn <presence>/

1. present /

2. absent/

#76. Lemma awn <length>/

mm long/

#77. Lemma and palea <whether becoming indurate>/

1. becoming indurate/

2. not becoming indurate /

Palea #78. Palea <length>/

mm long/

#79. Palea <vestiture>/

1. distinctly pubescent between the keels/

2. glabrous <not distinctly pubescent> between the keels/

See Aiken and Darbyshire 1990, Plate 4. State 1: Figs. 1–3. State 2: Figs. 4–6.

Lodicules #80. Lodicules <teeth>/

1. with <one or more> marginal teeth/

2. without marginal teeth/

State 1: see Aiken and Darbyshire 1990, Plate 5, Fig. 5.

#81. Lodicules <whether ciliate>/

1. glabrous/

2. ciliate <i.e. with one or more marginal cilia>/

State 2: see Aiken and Darbyshire 1990, Plate 5, Fig. 5.

#82. Lodicules <length>/

mm long/

Anthers and ovary apex #83. Anthers <length>/

mm long/

#84. Ovary apex <pubescence presence>/

1. glabrous/

2. pubescent/

See Aiken and Darbyshire 1990, Plate 5. State 1: Fig. 1. State 2: Figs. 2–5.

#85. Caryopsis <length>/

mm long/

Cytology #86. <Cytology> 2n =/

Habitat and Distribution #87. <Whether introduced>/

1. native /

2. introduced/

#88. <Status of introductions>/

1. naturalized/

2. cultivated crop/

3. cultivated ornamental/

4. limited, probably accidental introduction/

5. grown experimentally, but not extensively/

#89. <Habitat>/

1. arctic/

2. alpine/

3. forest and woodland/

4. rangeland, prairie, dry habitats/

5. meadows/

6. wet habitats/

#90. <Habitat comment>/

#91. <Country>/

1. Greenland/

2. <Canada>/

3. <United States>/

#92. <USA: distribution>/

1. <Northwestern USA>/

2. <Southwestern USA>/

3. <Rocky Mountains USA>/

4. <North Central USA>/

5. <South Central USA>/

6. <Northeastern USA>/

7. <Southeastern USA>/

#93. Canada: <distribution>/

1. Labrador/

2. Nfld. <Newfoundland>/

3. NS <Nova Scotia>/

4. P.E.I. <Prince Edward Island>/

5. NB <New Brunswick>/

6. Que. <Quebec>/

7. Ont. <Ontario>/

8. Man. <Manitoba>/

9. Sask. <Saskatchewan>/

10. Alta. <Alberta>/

11. B.C. <British Columbia>/

12. Franklin District (NWT)/

13. Keewatin District (NWT)/

14. Mackenzie District (NWT)/

15. Yukon/

#94. Northwestern USA: <distribution>/

1. Alaska/

2. Oreg. <Oregon>/

3. Wash. <Washington>/

#95. Southwestern USA: <distribution>/

1. Ariz. <Arizona>/

2. Calif. <California>/

3. Nev. <Nevada>/

#96. Rocky Mountains USA: <distribution>/

1. Colo. <Colorado>/

2. Idaho <Idaho>/

3. Mont. <Montana>/

4. Utah <Utah>/

5. Wyo. <Wyoming>/

#97. North Central USA: <distribution>/

1. Iowa/

2. Ill. <Illinois>/

3. Kansas/

4. Minn. <Minnesota>/

5. Mo. <Missouri>/

6. Nebr. <Nebraska>/

7. N. Dak. <North Dakota>/

8. Okla. <Oklahoma>/

9. S. Dak. <South Dakota>/

10. Wis. <Wisconsin>/

#98. South Central USA: <distribution>/

1. N. Mex. <New Mexico>/

2. Tex. <Texas>/

#99. Northeastern USA: <distribution>/

1. Conn. <Connecticut>/

2. Ind. <Indiana>/

3. Mass. <Massachusetts>/

4. Maine <Maine>/

5. Mich. <Michigan>/

6. N.H. <New Hampshire>/

7. N.J. <New Jersey>/

8. N.Y. <New York>/

9. Ohio/

10. Pa. <Pennsylvania>/

11. R.I. <Rhode Island>/

12. Vt. <Vermont>/

#100. Southeastern USA: <distribution>/

1. Ala. <Alabama>/

2. Ark. <Arkansas>/

3. Del. <Delaware>/

4. Fla. <Florida>/

5. Ga. <Georgia>/

6. Ky. <Kentucky>/

7. La. <Louisiana>/

8. Md. <Maryland>/

9. Miss <Mississippi>/

10. N.C. <North Carolina>/

11. S.C. <South Carolina>/

12. Tenn. <Tennessee>/

13. Va. <Virginia>/

14. W.Va <West Virginia>/

Classification #101. <Subgenus of Festuca, or genus>/

1. Subg. Festuca L. <FE>/

2. Subg. Leucopoa (Griseb.) Hack. <LE>/

3. Subg. Schedonorus (Beauv.) Peterm. <SC>/

4. Subg. Subulatae Tzvelev, sect. Subulatae Tzvelev <SS>/

5. Subg. Subulatae (Tzvelev) E. B. Alexeev, sect. Obtusae E. B. Alexeev <SO>/

6. Lolium L. <LO>/

7. Poa L./

8. Puccinellia Parl./

9. Vulpia L./

Abbreviated names #102. <15-letter abbreviated name>/

#103. <4-letter abbreviated name>/


#104. <Brief nomenclatural/taxonomic comments>/

#105. <Full nomenclatural/taxonomic comments>/

The interactive key provides access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting specified attributes, and summaries of attributes within groups of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Aiken, S.G., Dallwitz, M.J., McJannet, C.L. and Consaul, L.L. 1996 onwards. Festuca of North America: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. Version: 19th October 2005. http://delta-intkey.com’. Aiken, Dallwitz, McJannet, and Consaul (1997) should also be cited (see References).