Festuca idahoensis
(Idaho Fescue)

Subclass: Commelinidae
Order: Cyperales
Family: Poaceae
Family Description: Grass

Key Characteristics:
Is a bunch grass. Appears to be like a bluegrass, but differs in having awns. Culms (stems) hollow.
  • mostly basal, sheaths open, glabrous to scaberulous, auricles lacking, ligules mostly 0.3-0.6 mm long, ciliolate, highest on the sides,
  • blades filiform, folded-involute, some usually at least 10 cm long, smooth to scaberulous.
  • narrow, 20 cm long panicle with ascending branches.
  • with 4-8 florets; rachilla joints 1-1.5 mm long
  • glumes, unawned, unequal and shorter than the lemmas, first glume 2.5-5 mm long, narrowly lanceolate, one nerved.
  • second glume 4-6.5 mm long, oblong lanceolate, 3- nerved
  • rounded, may be either glabrous or scaberulous, 4.5-7.5 mm long with a stout, 2-5 mm long, 5-nerved.
  • about equal to the lemma, 2 nerved
  • 5-8 per spikelet; anthers 2.5-4 mm long

General Description:
Culms usually tufted in large bunches; blades numerous, very scabrous, rarely smooth, filiform, involute; spikelets mostly 5-7 flowered; lemmas nearly terete, about 7 mm long; awn usually 2-4 mm long. This may be only a larger phase of F. ovina. Open woods and dry soil. Alta. To B. C., south to Colo. And Calif. Very abundant in Idaho, and one of the important range grasses.

British Columbia to Alberta south through Cascade and Olympic mountains through Oregon to Sierran
California eastward through Nevada, northward to Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Montana, Utah and Idaho.

Found in grasslands and sagebrush, dry desert areas up to dry mountain slopes and meadows

Idaho Fescue is an extremely important forage grass and often disappears with overgrazing

Important State References:
No information available at this time
Photos and Information written by Dr. Karl E. Holte,© 2002