Festuca of North America


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

Festuca brevifolia var. utahensis St.-Yves


Candollea 2: 257. 1925. Type: Colorado, Pagosa Peak, 12,000', August 1899, Baker 175. Isotype: RM!

Habit. Plants 18–25 cm high, not densely tufted, tiller bases not stiffly erect, bases purplish, horizontal rooting stems absent. Vegetative shoots arising from within existing sheaths, or arising outside, or breaking through the base of existing sheaths.

Vegetative morphology. Sheaths glabrous or glabrescent, not conspicuous at the base of the plant, splitting between the veins. Collars glabrous. Auricles represented by distinct, erect, swellings or absent. Ligules 0.2–0.3 mm long, ciliate. Leaf blades 8–10 cm long, more or less lax. Adaxial blade surfaces with trichomes. Leaf blades plicate; 0.4–0.75 mm wide, 0.45–0.8 mm deep. Adaxial to abaxial sclerenchyma strands absent. Abaxial sclerenchyma poorly developed, in discrete, relatively narrow strands opposite the veins. Uppermost culm leaf sheaths not inflated. Flag leaf blades 2.5–3 cm long. Culm nodes becoming exposed, 1; internodes glabrous.

Floral morphology. Inflorescence 4–5 cm long. Inflorescence branches at the lowest node 2–3, appressed after anthesis, 0.4–0.8 cm long. Rachis rounded in cross section or angular in cross section, trichomes mainly on the ridges (sparse). Spikelets 1–3 on the longest branches; 5–7.5 mm long, 1.8–2.5 mm wide. Proliferating spikelets absent. Florets 3–5. Glumes unequal, with trichomes (scaberulous), vestiture at the apex only, margins ciliate. First glume 2.8–3.2 mm long, veins 1. Second glume shorter than the first lemma, 3.5–3.9 mm long, veins 3. Rachilla internodes 0.9–1.1 mm long, glabrous, or nearly so. Lemma callus not elongated. Lemma 3.5–4 mm long, with trichomes (scaberulous), trichomes on the upper portion only; apex entire. Lemma awn 0.5–1.5 mm long. Palea 4–4.5 mm long, distinctly pubescent between the keels. Lodicules without marginal teeth, glabrous. Anthers 0.7–0.8 mm long. Ovary apex pubescent (densely).

Habitat and Distribution. Native; alpine. Rocky Mountains USA: Colo., Utah.


Data from an isotype specimen, Baker 175 were collected for the above description, and tested against other taxa in the database using INTKEY programs such as 'Differences'. The specimen is now considered synonymous with F. earlei Rydb. It is not a variety of F. brachyphylla Schult. & Schult. f. as the ovary is densely hairy, much more so than in plants of F. minutiflora Rydb.

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).