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Plant - summer
Mahan Park
John Kava
Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Festuca arizonica - Arizona fescue

Synonyms: Festuca ovina var. arizonica, Festuca altaica subsp. arizonica, Festuca scabrella var. asperrima, Festuca vaseyana

Other Common Names: pinegrass, mountain bunchgrass

Plant Form:Grass

Family: Poaceae

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Mahan Park John Kava
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Mahan Park John Kava
  Grass Description -   Glossary of Grass Terminology

Origin: Native    Season: Cool and Warm
Habitat Description: Dry meadows and openings of montane conifer forests, prefers gravelly rocky soil.
Plant Communities: Montane Conifer Forest
Elevation: 6000 - 10000 feet

General Description

Desc: Bluish-green fine leaved tufted grass up to 1 foot diameter and 1 foot high, seedheads extend up to 3 feet. Green growth is present in spring, summer, and fall. Plant greens up in the spring and flowers late spring to August.
Identification notes: Densely tufted, clumping bunchgrass. Stems 1 to 3 feet tall, clustered, greenish yellow to blue-green. Leaf blades are mostly basal, string-like, and rough to the touch. Florets with less than 1/16 inch awns or no awns.
Grass Type: Perennial bunchgrass  Rhizomes: N  Stolons: N
Large Dense Clump (> 2 feet): N  Bushy (highly branched): N
Height with Seedheads: 24 to 36 inches
Seedhead Structure: Branched - contracted  Seedhead Droops: N
Flowering Period: May - Aug

Flower Characteristics

Number of Flowers per Spikelet: Multi-flowered  Spikelets One-sided: N
Awns: Less than 1/4 inch   Three Awns: N  Awns Bent: N

Flower and Seedhead Notes: Narrow with 1 or 2 spreading branches at the base. Seedhead branches are rough. Spikelets 4 to 6 flowered, awnless or with very short awns. Glumes unequal with hairy margins.

Vegetative Characteristics

Blade Hairy: N  Blade with White Margin: N  Blade Cross Section: Involute  
Blade Notes: Blades 10 to 20 inches long, less than 1/8 inch wide, thread-like, stiff, bluish and ascending.
Sheath Hairy: N  Tuft of Hairs Top of Sheath or Collar: N  Ligules: Membranous
Auricles (Ear-like lobes at base of blades): N
Vegetative Notes: Sheaths closed for less than 1/2 their length, without hairs, smooth or roughened with stout projections; collars without hairs; ligules less than 1/16 inch; internodes are hairy.

Forage Value: Good, highly palatable when the seedheads and blades are green, furnishes considerable forage in some areas. It does not maintain itself well, however, under heavy grazing or grazing during the dormant period.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 8.0  
Last Updated: Feb 16, 2020  
Content Questions/Comments: Email Jeff Schalau  
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