Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago

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S.G. Aiken, M.J. Dallwitz, L.L. Consaul, C.L. McJannet, R.L. Boles, G.W. Argus, J.M. Gillett, P.J. Scott, R. Elven, M.C. LeBlanc, L.J. Gillespie, A.K. Brysting, H. Solstad, and J.G. Harris

Festuca L.

English: Fescue,

Inuktitut: Iviit, ivisuka, ivitsuskaka.

Poaceae, Grass family.

Published in Sp. Pl. 73. 1753.

Vegetative morphology. Plants 2.5–50(–120) cm high; perennial herbs; caespitose, or not caespitose. Only fibrous roots present. Ground level or underground stems horizontal, or absent; rhizomatous; elongate, or compact; 0.5–2 mm wide. Ground level or underground stems scales present; surfaces smooth, or striate; 10–25 mm long; glabrous, or hairy. Aerial stems erect, or decumbent. Leaves mainly basal; alternate; marcescent. Prophylls 5–20 mm long; with smooth veins, or with hairy veins; with pronounced keels, or lacking pronounced keels. Petioles absent. Sheaths present; with the margins fused to the apex, or with the margins fused only in the lower part; glabrous, or with trichomes; pubescent, or hirsute, or scabrous; sheath collars present. Ligules present; 0.1–0.6 mm long; membranous; hairy (ciliate at the apex); transversely oblong. Ligule apices acute, or truncate; entire, or erose, or cleft. Leaves grass-like. Blades 10–200 mm long, 0.3–2 mm wide, appressed to the stem or spreading or reflexed, folded in bud, linear, with sheath auricles or without auricles, folded or involute, veins parallel, midvein similar in size to other veins in the leaf. Blade adaxial surface glabrous or scabrous or hairy. Blade abaxial surface glabrous or scabrous or hairy. Blade margins flat or slightly revolute.

Reproductive morphology. Flowering stems circular or oval in cross section. Flowering stems with leaves; not rooting at the lower nodes; culm nodes not exposed, or becoming exposed; culm nodes number visible 0–2. Flag leaf sheaths inflated, or not inflated. Inflorescences paniculate; dense, or diffuse; linear, or lanceolate, or ovate, or pyramidal; 0.5–20 cm long; 4–40 mm wide. Inflorescences main axis glabrous, or scabrous, or hairy. Number of inflorescence branches at lowest node 0–2(–3). Inflorescence primary branches 0.2–17 mm long; glabrous, or scabrous; with appressed secondary branches, or with spreading secondary branches. Spikelets disarticulating above the glumes; lanceolate; 3–15 mm long; 1.5–5 mm wide. Florets per spikelet 2–6. Two glumes present. First glume 0.58–4.6 × the length of the second glume; 0.25–0.53 × spikelet length; 1–2.85–4 mm long; lanceolate; glabrous, or with trichomes; margins glabrous, or ciliate; veins 1; apex acuminate, or acute. Second glume 0.4 × as long as the spikelet or less, or 0.4–0.9 × as long as the spikelet; shorter than the lowest floret, or almost as long as, or longer than, the lowest floret; 2.2–6 mm long. Second glume lanceolate, or ovate. Second glume glabrous, or with trichomes; veins 1–3. Rachilla not pronounced between the florets; terminating in a vestigial floret, or extending beyond the uppermost floret; internode 0.1–1.2 mm long; internode glabrous to hairy. Lemma ovate, or lanceolate; 2.9–6.2 mm long; keeled, or rounded on the back; surface dull; surface sparsely scabrous, or hairy; surface with trichomes on and between the veins; veins 5; apex acuminate, or acute; apex entire, or erose, or bifid; apex glabrous, or ciliate; awned (usually), or awnless (in proliferating specimens). Awn arising from the tip, or from below the apex but above the middle. Awn 0.1–3.3 mm long. Palea well developed (except F. viviparoidea); 3–6 mm long; veins scabrous, or hairy. Flowers bilaterally symmetrical (zygomorphic). Perianth represented by lodicules. Stamens 3. Anthers 0.3–3.5 mm long. Ovary superior; carpels 3; syncarpous. Ovaries glabrous (usually), or hairy (F. baffinensis and F. altaica). Styles 2. Placentation basal. Ovules per ovary 1. Fruit sessile; dry; a caryopsis; 1.8–4 mm long; indehiscent. Seeds 1.

Chromosome information. 2n = 28, 42 and 56.

Ploidy levels recorded 4x/6x/8x.

General notes. Generic description limited to the six taxa occurring in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.


This publication is available on the internet (posted May 2011) and on CD-ROM (published in 2007). These versions are identical in content, except that the errata page for CD-ROM is accessible on the main index page of the web version.

Recommended citation for the web-based version of this publication: Aiken, S.G., Dallwitz, M.J., Consaul, L.L., McJannet, C.L., Boles, R.L., Argus, G.W., Gillett, J.M., Scott, P.J., Elven, R., LeBlanc, M.C., Gillespie, L.J., Brysting, A.K., Solstad, H., and Harris, J.G. 2007. Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago: Descriptions, Illustrations, Identification, and Information Retrieval. NRC Research Press, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa. http://nature.ca/aaflora/data, accessed on DATE.

Recommended citation for the CD-ROM version of this publication: Aiken, S.G., Dallwitz, M.J., Consaul, L.L., McJannet, C.L., Boles, R.L., Argus, G.W., Gillett, J.M., Scott, P.J., Elven, R., LeBlanc, M.C., Gillespie, L.J., Brysting, A.K., Solstad, H., and Harris, J.G. 2007. Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago: Descriptions, Illustrations, Identification, and Information Retrieval. [CD-ROM] NRC Research Press, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa.

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