Festuca of North America


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

Festuca groenlandica (Schol.) Frederiksen


Nord. J. Bot. 2: 533. 1982. F. brachyphylla var. groenlandica Schol., Skrifter om Svalbard og Ishavet 62: 69. 1934. Type: Greenland. Eqalungmiut, 24 July 1932, Maries Dal. Holotype: C.

Habit. Plants yellowish green (fresh green to glaucous), 14–37 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 with trichomes (finely scaberulous), 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 (fused up to one third, Frederiksen 1977). Collars glabrous. Auricles represented by distinct, erect, swellings. Auricular cilia absent. Ligules 0.2–0.5 mm long. Leaf blades 6–15 cm long, erect, stiffish. Adaxial blade surfaces with trichomes, abaxial blade surfaces glabrous. Leaf blades plicate; 0.4–0.5 mm wide, 0.65–0.75 mm deep. Veins 5–7. Adaxial to abaxial sclerenchyma strands absent. Abaxial sclerenchyma well developed (Frederiksen 1977), in broad bands or continuous. Uppermost culm leaf sheaths not inflated. Flag leaf blades 1–5 cm long (Frederiksen 1977). Culm nodes becoming exposed, 1; internodes glabrous (or almost so).

Floral morphology. Inflorescence 2–5 cm long (always branched lanceolate, green or purple). Inflorescence branches at the lowest node 1 (abundantly branched), appressed after anthesis, 0.5–1 cm long. Rachis angular in cross section, trichomes over the entire surface. Spikelets 1 on the longest branches; 4–5.5 mm long (Frederiksen 1982), 0.2–0.3 mm wide. Proliferating spikelets absent. Florets 2–4(–5). Glumes unequal, glabrous (or almost so), margins ciliate. First glume 2–2.5 mm long, veins 1. Second glume shorter than the first lemma, 3–3.5 mm long, veins 3. Rachilla internodes antrorsely scabrous. Lemma callus not elongated. Lemma 2.9–3.4(–3.7) mm long, glabrous or with trichomes (very sparsely scaberulous at the apex), trichomes on the upper portion only; apex entire. Lemma awn 0.8–2.1 mm long (more or less curved). Palea 2.8–3.3 mm long, distinctly pubescent between the keels. Lodicules with marginal teeth, glabrous, 0.8–1 mm long. Anthers 0.8–1.3 mm long. Ovary apex glabrous.

Habitat and Distribution. Native; arctic. Greenland (widespread, see map, page 271, Frederiksen 1977).

Classification. Subg. Festuca L.


Described as F. brachyphylla var. groenlandica Schol., Frederiksen (1977), but considered a full species in Frederiksen (1982). An attempt was made to gather data for this taxon based on the literature but no specimens have been examined as yet. It differs from F. brachyphylla Schult. & Schult. f. in having: a very dense panicle, smaller and broader spikelets, a shorter, somewhat curved arista, and mechanical tissue of the basal leaves that is well developed (Frederiksen 1977). The taxon appears to be restricted to Greenland. During field work in the Eastern Canadian Arctic Archipelago, the first author has searched for candidate specimens that may be assigned to this taxon, but so far without success.

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).