Festuca of North America


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


This package is generated from a DELTA database (Dallwitz 1980; Dallwitz, Paine, and Zurcher 1993). It comprises an interactive identification and information retrieval system using the program Intkey (running under MS-Windows), descriptions (as WWW pages and MS-Word documents), illustrations, references, and other subsidiary material.

The database describes Festuca taxa of North America, north of Mexico (Aiken et al. 1997). The information recorded includes: common names, the place of valid publication of the name, the location of type specimens, when known, and whether we have examined them, synonymy, data on morphology, anatomy, and chromosome number(s), habitat and distribution information, subgeneric classification, and taxonomic notes.

The information is based in part on ‘Fescue Grasses of Canada’ (Aiken and Darbyshire 1990), The vascular plants of British Columbia, G.W. Douglas (1991), and on the treatment of Festuca in the Jepson Manual Higher plants of California, (Hickman, J.C. 1993). References to plates and figures among the characters, are to those published in Aiken and Darbyshire (1990).

The database is illustrated with more than 200 images including photographs of plants, photographs of habitats where species occur, photographs of type specimens or specimens of interest, line drawings of plants and leaf cross sections of species with narrow leaves, distribution maps, and illustrations of many characters.

INTKEY and other DELTA programs have been used to assess biodiversity and have supported recognition of several species that have often been placed into synonymy (e.g. F. calligera and F. earlei), status change for F. idahonensis subsp. roemeri comb. nov., placing F. brachyphylla subsp. breviculmis into synonymy with F. brachyphylla subsp. coloradensis), and suggested a taxonomy that is presented in an annotated list. Phenetic and cladistic analyses suggest that the traditional generic limits of Festuca and Lolium should be retained and four subgenera recognized within Festuca, subgg. Festuca, Leucopoa, Schedonorus, and Subulatae, with sects. Subulatae and Obtusae.

The authors invite comments and information that would allow them to make corrections and additions to the database.