The grass genera of the world

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Festucopsis (C.E. Hubb.) Melderis

Sometimes referred to Elymus

Excluding Peridictyon

Habit, vegetative morphology. Perennial; caespitose. Culms 25–60 cm high; herbaceous; 2 noded, or 2–3 noded. Culm nodes glabrous. Young shoots intravaginal. Leaves non-auriculate. Sheath margins joined (innovation leaves), or free (culm leaves). The connate basal sheaths disintegrating into more or less discrete fibres. Leaf blades narrow; 0.4–1 mm wide; filiform or setaceous; folded, or rolled (involute); without cross venation. Ligule an unfringed membrane (but ciliolate); truncate; very short, about 0.1–0.5 mm long.

Reproductive organization. Plants bisexual, with bisexual spikelets; with hermaphrodite florets.

Inflorescence. Inflorescence rather few spikeleted (about 8–12); a single spike (5–15 cm long). Rachides hollowed (concave against the spikelets). Inflorescence espatheate; not comprising ‘partial inflorescences’ and foliar organs. Spikelet-bearing axes persistent. Spikelets solitary; not secund; sessile.

Female-fertile spikelets. Spikelets 10–25(–26) mm long; compressed laterally to not noticeably compressed; disarticulating above the glumes; disarticulating between the florets. Rachilla prolonged beyond the uppermost female-fertile floret. Hairy callus absent. Callus very short; blunt (to truncate).

Glumes two; more or less equal; shorter than the spikelets; shorter than the adjacent lemmas; free; dorsiventral to the rachis; pointed (acute); not subulate; awnless; non-carinate; similar (somewhat asymmetrical, leathery, with narrow membranous margins). Lower glume 1–3 nerved, or 3–4 nerved. Upper glume 3–5(–6) nerved. Spikelets with female-fertile florets only, or with incomplete florets. The incomplete florets distal to the female-fertile florets. Spikelets without proximal incomplete florets.

Female-fertile florets (2–)3–8(–12). Lemmas similar in texture to the glumes (leathery); not becoming indurated; entire; pointed; awnless (F. festucoides), or awned (at least the lower ones, in F. serpentini). Awns when present, 1; median; apical; non-geniculate; much shorter than the body of the lemma to about as long as the body of the lemma. Lemmas hairy (puberulent basally), or hairless; non-carinate; without a germination flap; 3–5 nerved. Palea present; conspicuous but relatively short (up to two thirds the lemma length), or very reduced; apically notched; 2-nerved; 2-keeled. Palea keels hairy (stiffly ciliate above). Lodicules present; 2; free; membranous; ciliate; not toothed; not or scarcely vascularized. Stamens 3. Anthers (1.6–)3–5.5 mm long. Ovary hairy. Styles free to their bases. Stigmas 2.

Fruit, embryo and seedling. Fruit medium sized (4–6 mm long); with hairs confined to a terminal tuft. Hilum long-linear. Embryo small. Endosperm containing only simple starch grains.

Transverse section of leaf blade, physiology. Probably C3. Mesophyll not traversed by colourless columns; without fusoids. Leaf blade with distinct, prominent adaxial ribs, or ‘nodular’ in section. Midrib with one bundle only; without colourless mesophyll adaxially. All the vascular bundles accompanied by sclerenchyma. Combined sclerenchyma girders present; forming ‘figures’ (I’s and anchors). Sclerenchyma all associated with vascular bundles.

Cytology. Chromosome base number, x = 7. 2n = 14. 2 ploid. Haplomic genome content G. Mean diploid 2c DNA value unknown, but chromosomes ‘large’.

Taxonomy. Pooideae; Triticodae; Triticeae.

Distribution, ecology, phytogeography. 2 species (F. serpentini (C.E. Hubb.) Melderis, and the poorly known F. festucoides (Maire) Löve); Albania, High Atlas of Morocco. Species of open habitats; glycophytic. Rocky or stony slopes or gullies.

Holarctic. Boreal and Tethyan. Euro-Siberian. Mediterranean. European.

References, etc. Morphological/taxonomic: Löve 1984, Seberg et al. 1991. Leaf anatomical: scanty - Seberg et al. 1991.

Special comments. Description scarcely adequate, e.g. lacking information on spikelet orientation. Anatomical data wanting.


This description is offered for casual browsing only. We strongly advise against extracting comparative information from it. This is much more easily achieved using the interactive key, which allows access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting specified attributes, summaries of attributes within groups of taxa, geographical distribution, classification, and species sampled for anatomy.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 1992 onwards. The grass genera of the world: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval; including synonyms, morphology, anatomy, physiology, phytochemistry, cytology, classification, pathogens, world and local distribution, and references. Version: 5th February 2014. http://delta-intkey.com’.

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