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Herbarium specimen
Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Festuca californica - California fescue

Synonyms: Festuca hitchcockianus

Plant Form:Grass

Family: Poaceae

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  Grass Description -   Glossary of Grass Terminology

Origin: Native    Season: Cool and Warm
Habitat Description: Dry open forest and moist streambanks.
Plant Communities: Desert Scrub, Interior Chaparral, Semidesert Grasslands, Pinyon Juniper Woodland, Montane Conifer Forest, Riparian
Elevation: 2500 - 6500 feet

General Description

Desc: A cool season perennial bunchgrass with stems up to 4 feet high and thick chalky blue to green foliage.
Identification notes: Densely tufted perennial with gracefully drooping, narrow, folded or rolled, dull-green to blue-green leaves. Collar is generally densely hairy, persistent dead leaf sheaths at bases. Leaf sheaths open at least 1/2 their length, smooth or slightly hairy.
Grass Type: Perennial bunchgrass  Rhizomes: N  Stolons: N
Large Dense Clump (> 2 feet): N  Bushy (highly branched): N
Height with Seedheads: Greater than 36 inches
Seedhead Structure: Branched - open and spreading  Seedhead Droops: N
Flowering Period: Apr - Jul

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: The seedhead is open, sparsely branched and 4 to 12 inches long. The branches usually occur in pairs. Spikelets are 4 to 6 flowered.

Vegetative Characteristics

Blade Hairy: Y  Blade with White Margin: N  Blade Cross Section: Flat or involute  
Blade Notes: Leaf blades are 4 to 39 inches long and narrow. Leaves are primarily basal, flat or rolled, firm, and rough to the touch. Leaves are greenish-gray and sometimes purple tinged.
Sheath Hairy: Y  Tuft of Hairs Top of Sheath or Collar: Y  Ligules: Hairy
Auricles (Ear-like lobes at base of blades): Y
Vegetative Notes: Sheaths may be smooth or slightly hairy. Ligule is hairy. Inconspicuous flap-like auricles sometimes present.

Forage Value: Fair.

  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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