Mostly tufted perennial grasses, with flat or convolute leaf-blades and paniculate inflorescence. Spikelets 2-several-flowered. Two lower scales empty, more or less unequal, acute, keeled; flowering scales membranous, narrow, rounded on the back, 5-nerved, usually acute, and generally awned at the apex. Palet scarcely shorter than the scale. Stamens 1-3. Styles very short, distinct. Stigmas plumose. Grain glabrous, elongated, often adherent to the scale or palet. [Latin, stalk or straw.]

A genus of about 100 species, widely distributed, particularly numerous in temperate regions. Type species: Festuca ovina L.

Spikelets perfect; stigma-branches toothed, bilateral.

Empty scales membranous, green, narrow, the second one 3-5-nerved.

Leaf-blades involute or folded, 1" wide or less.

Annuals; stamens 1 or 2.

Awn not longer than flowering scale; spikelets 5-many-flowered.


F. octoflora.

Awn more than twice as long as flowering scale; spikelets 2-5-flowered.

First empty scale half as long as the second or less.


F. Myuros.

First empty scale more than half as long as the second.


F. sciurca.

Perennials; stamens 3.

Innovations extravaginal; plants with rootstocks or stolons.


F. rubra.

Innovations intravaginal; plants densely tufted, no rootstocks or stolons.

Awns more than half as long as membranous flowering scales.


F. occidentalis.

Awns less than one-half as long as the coriaceous flowering scales.

Flowering scales short-awned; leaf-blades setaceous.

Culms 8' tall or more; culm blades long.


F. ovina.

Culms 6' long or less; culm blades short.


F. brachyphylla.

Flowering scales awnless; leaf-blades capillary.


F. capillata.

Leaf-blades flat, 2" wide or more.

Flowering scales awnless or short-awned.

Flowering scales 2 1/2"-3 1/2" long, spikelets 5-10-flowered.


F. elatior.

Flowering scales 2" long or less, spikelets 3-6-flowered.

Spikelets very broad; panicle branches spikelet-bearing from middle or below.


F. Shortii.

Spikelets lanceolate; branches elongated, spikelets at the end.


F. nutans.

Flowering scales with an awn twice their length or more.


F. gigantea.

Empty scales broad, scarious, with broad hyaline margins, thin, 1-nerved; base of the culm

clothed with dry leafless sheaths.


F. altaica.

Spikelets unisexual; stigma-branches arising from all sides; dioecious.


F. con finis.