Festuca of North America


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

Festuca frederikseniae E. B. Alexeev


Novosti Sist. Vyssh. Rast. 22: 28. 1985. F. vivipara var. hirsuta Schol. in Devold & Schol., Skr. om Svalbard og Ishavet 56: 139. 1933. F. vivipara subsp. hirsuta Frederiksen Nord. J. Bot. 3: 287. 1981. Type: Greenland: Fredriksdal, Juli 1828, Vahl s.n. Lectotype: C. (Frederiksen 1981).

Habit. Plants bluish gray green, 15–25(–30) cm high, densely tufted, tiller bases stiffly erect, bases not purplish, horizontal rooting stems absent. Vegetative shoots arising from within existing sheaths.

Vegetative morphology. Sheaths glabrous or glabrescent or with trichomes, conspicuous at the base of the plant, persisting for more than 1 year, remaining entire, not conspicuously splitting between the veins, open more than half their length. Collars glabrous. Auricles represented by distinct, erect, swellings. Auricular cilia absent. Ligules 0.25–0.5 mm long, ciliate. Leaf blades 4–11 cm long, erect, stiffish (from underlying, almost continuous sclerenchyma). Adaxial blade surfaces with trichomes, abaxial blade surfaces glabrous or with trichomes. Leaf blades plicate; 0.3–0.49–0.75 mm wide, 0.65–0.84–0.95 mm deep. Veins 5–7. Adaxial to abaxial sclerenchyma strands absent. Abaxial sclerenchyma well developed, in broad bands or continuous. Ribs 1 (well defined, 2–4 variously defined lateral ribs). Uppermost culm leaf sheaths not inflated. Flag leaf blades 15–30 cm long. Culm nodes becoming exposed (rarely) or never exposed, 1 (when visible); internodes glabrous, or densely pubescent (often hirsute near the inflorescence).

Floral morphology. Inflorescence 1.5–4 cm long. Inflorescence branches at the lowest node 1, appressed after anthesis, 0.2–0.7 cm long. Rachis angular in cross section, trichomes mainly on the ridges or trichomes over the entire surface. Spikelets evenly distributed along the branches; 1–2 on the longest branches; 10–35 mm long (almost all proliferating), 2–3.5 mm wide. Proliferating spikelets present. Florets 1–5. Glumes unequal, with trichomes, vestiture over most of the outer surface (densely pubescent), margins ciliate. First glume 2–3 mm long, veins 1. Second glume shorter than the first lemma, 3–4.6 mm long, veins 3. Lemma callus not elongated. Lemma 4.3–5.5 mm long, with 5 distinct veins in dorsal view, with trichomes, trichomes over the entire surface (densely pubescent); apex entire. Lemma awn present or absent. Lemma awn 0–0.2 mm long. Palea 5.3 mm long (only one palea found after a detailed search of five herbarium sheets), distinctly pubescent between the keels. Lodicules with marginal teeth (one sample), glabrous, 0.9 mm long. Anthers 2.5 mm long. Ovary apex glabrous.

Cytology. 2n = 28.

Habitat and Distribution. Native; arctic (or cold coastal habitats). Greenland; Canada: Labrador, Nfld., Que.

Classification. Subg. Festuca L.


For taxonomic discussion see Aiken and Darbyshire (1990).


• Plant and Spikelet. Left, A plant of F. frederikseniae, with vegetatively proliferating inflorescences. Isolated plants are growing in the nearby gravel. Vegetatively proliferating bulbils of F. frederikseniae are among the first vascular plant species to colonize ground exposed by a retreating glacier (background). Right, close up of spikelet with glumes, and 2–3 florets, with healthy anthers. The top of the spikelet is vegetatively proliferating. Photographs taken in Norway, at the Blasisen (=Blue Ice) Glacier, at Finse along the Bergen-Oslo railway, by Per Salvesen, in 1980. • Habitat in Norway. Left, F. frederikseniae habitat in Norway. Numerous vegetatively proliferating bulbils were collected in the icy melt water and on the snowbed. Right, proliferating bulbil photographed growing on ice. Photographs taken in Norway, at Gronhoin, Lesja, by Per Salvesen, in 1980. • Leaf anatomy. Leaf cross section of F. frederikseniae. Plicate leaf blades are 0.3–0.49–0.75 mm wide and 0.65–0.84–0.95 mm deep, with 5–7 veins. Adaxial to abaxial sclerenchyma strands are absent. Abaxial sclerenchyma strands are well developed, in broad bands or continuous. There is one well defined rib and 2–4 variously defined lateral ribs. • Distribution map

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).