This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol5-6", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
The distribution of Sand Fescue to-day is the N. Temperate Zone in Europe, and N. Africa, and it has been introduced into N. America. In Great Britain it is found in the Peninsula province, except in N. Devon; the Channel province, except in N. Hants; Thames, Anglia provinces, except in W. Suffolk; Severn province; in S. Wales, only in Glamorgan, Radnor, Carmarthen; in N. Wales, in Carnarvon, Denbigh, Anglesea; in the Trent province, in Lincs; in the Mersey province, only in Chester; in the Humber province, in N.E. and N.W. Yorks; and in the Lakes province, only in the Isle of Man. In Scotland it is only found in Dumfries and Kirkcudbright. It is a native in Mid and S. Ireland and the Channel Islands.
Photo. H. Irving. - Flat-stalked Poa (Poa compressa, L.)
Photo. H. Irving - Sand Fescue (Festuca Myuros, L.)
Sand Fescue is so essentially areno-philous that its distribution is limited to some inland and many maritime counties where sand is a dominant formation. It is found where Silky Wind Grass and Flat-stalked Poa are prevailing grasses.
The stems are slender, smooth, with many bristle-like leaves below, keeled, very short, with long upper sheaths, which are furrowed, rounded, smooth, and almost or more than reaching the panicle. The ligule is short, with round auricles or lobes.
The panicle is one-sided, nodding, elongate, interrupted, the lowest branch a quarter of the whole, and is either straight or wavy, glossy. The lower glume is one-third less than the upper. The spikelets have awns which are wedge-shaped when expanded. The awn is slender.
This plant is 12-18 in. in height. It flowers in June and July. Sand Fescue is annual, propagated by seeds.
The spikelets contain three or more flowers, there is 1 stamen, the terminal style is short, and the stigma is feathery. Here, again, the flower is anemophilous and proterogynous.
The long, light fruit is enclosed in the glume, and is admirably adapted for wind dispersal.
This is a sand plant, growing on sand soil and gravel.
Festuca, Dodonaeus, is from the Latin festuca, which means a stalk, stem, or strand, and Myuros is from the Greek mus, a mouse.
Fescue is from the Celtic fest, food or pasturage. This grass is also called Capon's-tail Grass.
Essential Specific Characters: 340. Festuca Myuros, L. - Stem slender, tall, leaves setaceous, panicle long, unilateral, nodding, compressed, awn longer than the palea, terminal, slender, glumes unequal.