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Herbarium specimen
Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Vulpia myuros - annual fescue

Synonyms: Festuca megalura, Festuca megalura var. hirsuta, Festuca myuros, Festuca myuros var. hirsuta, Vulpia megalura, Vulpia myuros var. hirsuta

Other Common Names: foxtail fescue, rat-tailed fescue, silvergrass, sixweeks fescue

Plant Form:Grass

Family: Poaceae

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Max Licher @, Usage Rights: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA)
  Grass Description -   Glossary of Grass Terminology

Origin: Introduced    Season: Cool and Warm
Habitat Description: Grows in well-drained sandy soils and dry disturbed areas.
Plant Communities: Disturbed Areas
Elevation: Below 6500 feet

General Description

Desc: Single stemmed or loosely tufted annual, with smooth stems 4 to 30 inches tall. Basal stems may lie on the ground with the tips ascending, and bending sharply at the lower nodes.
Identification notes: Annual; blades tightly rolled; ligules ragged, somewhat hairy; spikelets solitary, arranged in rows on one side of the seedhead axis; lower glumes less than 1/2 the length of upper; lemma distinctly hairy, awned; lemmas 5-veined, margins sometimes hairy.
Grass Type: Annual  Rhizomes: N  Stolons: N
Large Dense Clump (> 2 feet): N  Bushy (highly branched): N
Height with Seedheads: 24 to 36 inches
Seedhead Structure: Branched - open and spreading  Seedhead Droops: Y
Flowering Period: Apr - Jul

Flower Characteristics

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

Flower and Seedhead Notes: Seedhead is about 9 inches long with 1 to 3 branches per node; branches are spreading or appressed to erect. Lower branches are often enclosed in upper sheaths. Spikelets have 3 to 7 bisexual florets. Seedhead turns silver in summer and droops.

Vegetative Characteristics

Blade Hairy: Y  Blade with White Margin: N  Blade Cross Section: Flat or involute  
Blade Notes: Leaf blades are up to 4 inches long and less than 1/10 inch wide. Leaf blades are flat or margins may be rolled inward. Leaf blades are smooth on the bottom and rough or hairy on the top and light green in color.
Sheath Hairy: N  Tuft of Hairs Top of Sheath or Collar: N  Ligules: Membranous and hairy
Auricles (Ear-like lobes at base of blades): N
Vegetative Notes: Sheaths are smooth. Ligules are usually longer on the sides, have tattered edges and a fringe of minute hairs.

Forage Value: This grass has little forage value because it is short lived and declines when it is closely grazed.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 8.0  
Last Updated: Nov 21, 2021
Content Questions/Comments: Email Mary Barnes  
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