Festuca of North America


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

Festuca parishii (Piper) Hitchc.


In Jepson, Fl. Calif. 1: 169. 1912. Festuca aristulata subsp. parishii Piper, Contrib. U.S. Natl. Herb. 10: 33. 1906. Festuca californica parishii (Piper) Hitchc. in Abrams, Illust. Fl. 1: 222. 1923. Festuca altaica var. parishii (Piper) St.-Yves, Candollea 2: 273. 1925. Type: U.S.A. California: southern slope of the San Bernardino Mountains, Alt. 5,500 ft., 20 June 1902, S.B. Parish 5036. Holotype: US! Isotype: GH!

Habit. Plants yellowish green, 60–70 cm high, densely tufted, tiller bases stiffly erect, bases purplish, horizontal rooting stems absent (base of plant elongated, from growing through sand). Vegetative shoots arising from within existing sheaths.

Vegetative morphology. Sheaths with trichomes (that are retrorse and sometimes dense), 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 (or with a few trichomes). Auricles absent. Ligules 0.3–0.5 mm long, ciliate. Leaf blades 10–25 cm long, erect, stiffish. Adaxial blade surfaces with trichomes, abaxial blade surfaces glabrous. Leaf blades plicate; 0.45–0.65 mm wide, 0.95–1.1 mm deep. Veins 7. Adaxial to abaxial sclerenchyma strands absent. Abaxial sclerenchyma well developed (sclerenchyma bands relatively narrow). Ribs 3–7 (the midrib well defined, the lateral ribs variously defined). Uppermost culm leaf sheaths not inflated. Flag leaf blades 2 cm long. Culm nodes becoming exposed, 1; internodes glabrous (Piper (1906) stated that the lower part of the stem is covered with short retrorse pubescence. This is not obvious on the GH isotype).

Floral morphology. Inflorescence paniculate, 10–20 cm long. Inflorescence branches at the lowest node 2, spreading, 5–8 cm long (pulvinate, borne on one side of the inflorescence). Rachis angular in cross section, trichomes mainly on the ridges. Spikelets aggregated towards the ends of the branches; 2–4 on the longest branches; 11–16 mm long, 0.3–0.4 mm wide. Proliferating spikelets absent. Florets 3–4. First glumes present. Glumes unequal, with trichomes, vestiture at the apex only (and on main vein), margins ciliate (at the apex). First glume 0.5–0.8 mm long, veins 1. Second glume shorter than the first lemma, 6.5–9.5 mm long, veins 3. Rachilla internodes 2–2.8 mm long, antrorsely scabrous. Lemma callus not elongated (but appearing as a swollen knob of tissue at the base of the lemma). Lemma 9.5–11 mm long, nerveless in dorsal view or sometimes with only the centre vein distinct, with trichomes, trichomes over the entire surface; apex entire. Lemma awn present. Lemma awn 1–2 mm long. Palea 9–10.5 mm long, distinctly pubescent between the keels. Lodicules with marginal teeth, ciliate, 1.4–1.7 mm long. Ovary apex pubescent. Caryopsis 4–6 mm long.

Cytology. 2n = unknown.

Habitat and Distribution. Native; alpine. Southwestern USA: Calif. (San Bernardino Mountains).

Classification. Subg. Leucopoa (Griseb.) Hack.


Treated as synonymous with F. californica Vasey, by Aiken (1993). After examining the isotype specimen from GH, in 1994–95, and examining the data analyses in Aiken et al. (1997), this is considered to be a distinct species. There is a photograph of the isotype specimen and diagrams of two leaf cross sections in the image library.


• Isotype specimen. Isotype specimen of F. parishii. Label reads, "Cotype. Plants of Southern California, San Bernardino Co. F. aristulata Parishii Piper. Mill Creek Falls, Southern Slope of San Bernardino Mts. Alt. 5,500 ft. No. 5036 Coll. S.B. Parish, June 20, 1901". • Holotype specimen. Holotype specimen of F. parishii. Annotated by E.B. Alexeev, June 1979. Photocopy of specimen. Label reads, "Plants of Southern California, San Bernardino Co. Festuca aristulata Parishii Piper. Mill Creek Falls, Southern Slope of San Bernardino Mts. Alt. 5,500 ft. No. 5036 Coll. S.B. Parish June 20, 1901". • Leaf anatomy. Leaf blades are 0.45–0.65 mm wide and 0.95–1.1 mm deep (data from the two leaf cross sections shown), with 7 veins. Adaxial to abaxial sclerenchyma strands are absent. Abaxial sclerenchyma strands are well developed (sclerenchyma bands relatively narrow). There are 3–7 ribs, with the midrib well defined and the lateral ribs variously defined.

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).