Festuca of North America


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

Festuca viviparoidea (Krajina) ex Pavlick subsp. viviparoidea


Can. J. Bot. 62: 2454. 1984. Type: Greenland, Jameson Land, Gurreholm, 14 August 1958, K.A. Holmen 807. Holotype: C. F. viviparoidea subsp. krajinae Pavlick, Can. J. Bot. 62: 2457. 1984.

F. vivipara subsp. glabra Frederiksen F. ×viviparoidea Krajina, Biota N. Am. 2: 342. 1980, F. ovina var. vivipara.

Habit. Plants bluish gray green, 11–28 cm high, densely tufted, tiller bases stiffly erect, bases purplish or not purplish, horizontal rooting stems present or absent. Vegetative shoots arising from within existing sheaths.

Vegetative morphology. Sheaths glabrous or glabrescent or with trichomes, not conspicuous at the base of the plant or conspicuous at the base of the plant, persisting for more than 1 year, splitting between the veins (often brownish), open more than half their length. Collars glabrous. Auricles represented by distinct, erect, swellings. Auricular cilia absent. Ligules 0.2–0.5 mm long, ciliate. Leaf blades 3–16 cm long, more or less lax. Adaxial blade surfaces with trichomes, abaxial blade surfaces with trichomes (uniformly scabridulous). Leaf blades plicate; 0.35–0.6 mm wide, 0.6–0.85 mm deep. Veins 5–7. Adaxial to abaxial sclerenchyma strands absent. Abaxial sclerenchyma poorly developed or well developed, in discrete, relatively narrow strands opposite the veins. Ribs 1 (well defined, 0–4 variously defined). Uppermost culm leaf sheaths not inflated. Flag leaf blades 1.4–3.5 cm long. Culm nodes becoming exposed, 1; internodes glabrous (usually), or scabrous-hirsute, or densely pubescent.

Floral morphology. Inflorescence 1–3 cm long. Inflorescence branches at the lowest node 1, appressed after anthesis, 0.2–1 cm long. Rachis angular in cross section, trichomes mainly on the ridges or trichomes over the entire surface. Spikelets aggregated towards the ends of the branches; 1–2 on the longest branches; 7–25 mm long (including the vegetative proliferation), 1.5–3 mm wide. Proliferating spikelets present. Florets 1–3. Glumes unequal, glabrous or with trichomes, vestiture at the apex only or over most of the outer surface (scabrous, if present), margins ciliate. First glume 3–4.2 mm long, veins 1. Second glume shorter than the first lemma, 3.6–6 mm long, veins 3. Lemma callus not elongated. Lemma 3.6–6.9 mm long, nerveless in dorsal view or sometimes with only the centre vein distinct, with trichomes (to 0.3 mm long, if present), trichomes on the upper portion only or over the entire surface; apex entire or apically cleft (in proliferating spikelets). Lemma awn 0.1–0.3 mm long. Palea 4.8–5.2 mm long (rarely present). Anthers 2 mm long (approximately, if present). Ovary apex glabrous.

Cytology. 2n = 49, 56.

Habitat and Distribution. Native; arctic, or alpine. Greenland; Canada: Alta., B.C., Franklin District (NWT); Rocky Mountains USA: Mont.

Classification. Subg. Festuca L.


Pavlick (1984) recognized two entities within F. viviparoidea. The typical subspecies, subsp. viviparoidea, is circumpolar with Canadian collections only from Ellesmere Island. The form found in alpine sites in the western cordillera is referred to as subsp. krajinae Pavlick. This treatment was not followed by Alexeev (1985) who presented four rather different leaf cross sections under the name F. viviparoidea. In this treatment we have followed Frederiksen (1981) and Alexeev (1985) and recognized one taxon at specific level as F. viviparoidea (see accepted taxa).

The two CAN specimens from the Canadian Arctic may be F. baffinensis Polunin × F. brachyphylla Schult. & Schult. f. hybrids. They have very young inflorescences and few definitive characteristics. Alexeev (1985) published four leaf cross sections of this species documenting the variation that he observed in F. viviparoidea.

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).