This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol1", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Festuca elatior L. Sp. PI. 75. 1753.
Festuca pratensis Huds. Fl. Angl. 37. 1762.
F. elatior var. pratensis A. Gray, Man. Ed. 5, 634. 1867.
Culms 2°-5° tall, erect, simple, smooth and glabrous. Sheaths shorter than the internodes; ligule very short; blades 4'-15' long, 2"-4" wide, flat, smooth beneath, more or less rough above; panicle 4'-14' in length, often nodding at the top, simple to very compound, the branches ascending or erect, 2'-8' long; spikelets 5-9-flowered, 4 1/2"-6" long; empty scales acute, the first 1-3-nerved, the second 3-5-nerved; flowering scales acute or short-pointed, smooth and glabrous, 2 1/2"-3" long, indistinctly 5-nerved.
In fields and waste places throughout the United States and southern Canada. Naturalized from Europe and cultivated for hay. Variable. Dover-grass, Randall or Evergreen-grass. Frisky (Meadow)-grass. July-Aug.
Festuca Shortii Kunth; Wood, Class-book 794. 1861. Festuca nutans var. palustris Wood, Bot. & Fl. 399. 1873.
Culms 2°-4° tall, erect, simple, smooth and glabrous. Sheaths much shorter than the internodes; ligule very short; blades 5'-10' long, 1"3" wide, flat, smooth beneath, rough above; panicle 3'-7' in length, open, the branches spreading or ascending, rarely erect, spikelet-bearing from the middle or below, the lower 1 1/2'-3 1/2' long; spikelets broadly obovate, when mature, 3-6-flow-ered, 2V-3" long; empty scales acute, unequal, scabrous on the nerves, the first 1-3-nerved, the second 3-nerved; flowering scales about 2" long, smooth, obtuse or acutish, faintly nerved.
In woods and thickets, Pennsylvania to Iowa, south to Georgia and Texas. July-Aug.
Festuca nutans Willd. Enum. 1: 116. 1809.
Culms 2°-3° tall, erect, simple, slender, glabrous or sometimes pubescent. Sheaths much shorter than the internodes, glabrous or pubescent; ligule very short; nodes black; blades 4'-12' long, 2"-3" wide, rather dark green, flat, smooth beneath, rough above; panicle 4'-9' in length, its branches at first erect, the lower 2V-5' long, finally spreading and nodding, spikelet-bearing only at the ends; spikelets lanceolate, 3-5-flowered, 2 1/2"-3" long; empty scales acute, scabrous on the keel, the first 1-nerved, shorter than the 3-nerved second; flowering scales about 2" long, smooth, acute, very faintly nerved.
In rocky woods, Nova Scotia to Minnesota, south to Florida and Texas. Ascends to 2300 ft. in Virginia. June-Aug.
Bromus giganteus L. Sp. PI. 77. 1753.
Festuca gigantea Vill. Hist. PI. Dauph. 2: no. 1787.
Culms 2°-4° tall, erect, simple, smooth and glabrous. Sheaths usually overlapping; ligule 1" long; blades 5'-1 ° long or more, bright green, 2"- 6" wide, flat, rough; panicle 7'-12' in length, loose, narrow, the branches erect or ascending, the lower 2-4' long; spikelets 3-7-flowered; empty scales acuminate, smooth and glabrous, the first 1-3-nerved, shorter than the 3-5-nerved second; flowering scales, exclusive of awns, about 3" long, faintly 5-nerved, slightly scabrous, minutely 2-toothed at the apex, bearing an awn 6"-8" long.
In waste places, Maine to southern New York. Adventive from Europe. July-Aug.