Festuca nigrescens*

Festuca nigrescens* Lam. Encycl. 2: 460 (1788).

Classification. (GPWG 2001) : Subfamily Pooideae. Tribe Poeae.

Type of Basionym or Protologue Information: France, Mont Dore:  Lamarrck (P holo).

Recent synonyms: F. rubra var. commutata.

Key references (books and floras): [2002] D.Sharp & B.K.Simon, AusGrass, Grasses of Australia, [2008] S.W.L.Jacobs, R.D.B.Walley & D.J.B.Wheeler, Grasses of New South Wales (268), [2009] A.Wilson (ed.). Flora of Australia, Vol 44A. Poaceae 2 (282).

Illustrations: [2008] S.W.L.Jacobs, R.D.B.Whalley & D.J.B.Wheeler, Grasses of New South Wales, 4th edn (268).

Habit. Perennial. Culms 27–90 cm tall. Lateral branches simple. Leaf-sheaths glabrous on surface. Leaf-sheath auricles absent. Ligule an eciliate membrane, 0.2 mm long. Leaf-blades filiform, flat or conduplicate, 5–27 cm long, 0.4–0.9 mm wide. Leaf-blade surface smooth or scabrous.

Inflorescence. Inflorescence compound, a panicle. Panicle 4–14 cm long.

Spikelets. Spikelets pedicelled. Fertile spikelets many flowered, with at least 2 fertile florets (3–8), comprising 3–8 fertile floret(s), with diminished florets at the apex, oblong, laterally compressed, 7–9.5 mm long.

Glumes. Glumes similar. Lower glume lanceolate, chartaceous, without keels, 1 -nerved. Upper glume lanceolate, 2.6–5.2 mm long, chartaceous, without keels, 3 -nerved.

Florets. Fertile lemma 4.6–6.2 mm long, without keel or keeled, 5 -nerved. Lemma apex awned, 1 -awned. Median (principal) awn 0.6–3 mm long overall. Palea 2 -nerved. Anthers 3.

Continental Distribution: Europe and Australasia.

Australian Distribution: New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania.

New South Wales: Central Coast, South Coast, Northern Tablelands, Central Tablelands, Southern Tablelands. Victoria: Snowfields. Tasmania: Central Highlands, East Coast, Mt Wellington.

Notes. Often used as a lawn grass.

 Very similar to F. rubra, and difficult to distinguish from it, particularly if the base is not complete.

 Although commonly referred to as F. nigrescens in Australia, the status and correct name of plants referred to this name is uncertain. The history and publications relevant to Chewing's Fescue are discussed by Aiken et al. (1996 onwards).

Introduced. Usually in drier open habitats, e.g. roadsides, pasture. Flowers Nov.-Jan.

AVH 2011


Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith