name = Fescue

image_width = 240px
image_caption = Meadow Fescue ("Festuca pratensis")
regnum = Plantae
divisio = Magnoliophyta
classis = Liliopsida
ordo = Poales
familia = Poaceae
genus = "Festuca"
genus_authority = L.
subdivision_ranks = Species
subdivision =Some 300, see text

Fescue ("Festuca") is a genus of about 300 species of perennial tufted grasses, belonging to the grass family Poaceae (subfamily Pooideae). The genus has a cosmopolitan distribution, although the majority of the species are found in cool temperate areas, such as the transition zone and Canada [ [http://www.fescue.com/ Tall Fescue Grasses & Fine Fescues] ] . The genus is closely related to ryegrass ("Lolium"), and recent evidence from phylogenetic studies using DNA sequencing of plant mitochondrial DNA shows that the genus lacks monophyly. As a result plant taxonomists have placed several species, including the forage grasses, tall fescue and meadow fescue, formerly belonging to the genus "Festuca" into the genus "Lolium".cite journal|author=Darbyshire, S J|year= 1993|title=Realignment of "Festuca" subgenus "Schedonorus" with the genus "Lolium" (Poaceae)|journal=Novon|volume=3|pages=239–243|doi=10.2307/3391460]

Fescues range from small grasses only 100 mm tall or less with very fine thread-like leaves less than 1 mm wide, to tall grasses up to 2 m tall with large leaves up to 600 mm (2 ft) long and 20 mm (3/4 in.) broad.

Fescue pollen is a significant contributor to hay fever.


The fescues contain some species which are important grasses for both lawns (particularly the fine-leaved species, highly valued for bowling greens) and as pasture and hay for livestock, being a highly nutritious stock feed. They are also used in soil erosion control programs, most notably tall fescue, one cultivar of which, Kentucky 31 (Festuca arundinacea), was used in land reclamation during the dust bowl period in the 1930s in the US. cite book|author= Schardl C L, Leuchtmann L|title=The Epichloë Endophytes of Grasses and the Symbiotic Continuum|page=475-503| publisher = CRC Press|editor= The Fungal Community: Its Organization and Role in the Ecosystem, Third Edition, ed. J Dighton, J F White Jr., P Oudemans|year = 2005|isbn = 0824723554]

Fescue is sometimes used as feed for horses. However, fescue poisoning, which results from a fungus, is a risk for pregnant mares [ [http://www.vet.purdue.edu/depts/addl/toxic/plant15.htm Tall Fescue] ] . Occurring in the last three months of pregnancy, fescue poisoning increases the risk of spontaneous abortion, stillbirths, retained placenta, absent milk production, and prolonged pregnancy. Incorporating legumes into the fescue can be a way to increase livestock gains and conception rates, even if the fescue is infected [ [http://ohioline.osu.edu/agf-fact/0008.html Fescue Toxicosis] ] .

elected species

*"Festuca alpina" — Alpine Fescue
*"Festuca altissima" — Wood Fescue
*"Festuca amethystina" — Tufted Fescue
*"Festuca amplissima"
*"Festuca arizonica" — Arizona Fescue
*"Festuca caesia" — Blue Fescue
*"Festuca californica" - California Fescue
*"Festuca cinerea"
*"Festuca diffusa" — Northern Fescue
*"Festuca elmeri" - Coast Fescue
*"Festuca eskia"
*"Festuca gautieri"
*"Festuca glacialis"
*"Festuca glauca" — Grey Fescue
*"Festuca heterophylla" — Various-leaved Fescue
*"Festuca idahoensis" — Idaho Fescue
*"Festuca juncifolia" — Rush-leaved Fescue
*"Festuca mairei" — Atlas Fescue
*"Festuca matthewsii" — Alpine Fescue Tussock
*"Festuca nigrescens" — Alpine Chewing's Fescue
*"Festuca novae-zealandiae" — Fescue Tussock
*"Festuca occidentalis" - Western Fescue
*"Festuca ovina" — Sheep's Fescue
*"Festuca paniculata" — East Alpine Violet Fescue
*"Festuca picturata"
*"Festuca pilgeri"
*"Festuca pseudodura"
*"Festuca punctoria"
*"Festuca pyrenaica"
*"Festuca quadriflora"
*"Festuca richardsonii" — Arctic Fescue
*"Festuca rubra" — Red Fescue
*"Festuca rubra ssp. commutata" — Chewing's Fescue
*"Festuca rupicola"
*"Festuca sativa"
*"Festuca scabrella" - Rough Fescue
*"Festuca subulata" - Bearded Fescue
*"Festuca subulifolia" - Crinkleawn Fescue
*"Festuca supina" - Tufted Fescue
*"Festuca tenuifolia" — Fine-leaved Sheep's Fescue
*"Festuca viridula" - Green Fescue
*"Festuca vivipara" — Viviparous Fescue

Subgenus "Schedonorus", proposed for inclusion in genus "Lolium"
*"Festuca arundinacea" (syn. "Festuca elatior", "Lolium arundinaceum") — Tall Fescue
*"Festuca gigantea" ("Lolium giganteum") — Giant Fescue
*"Festuca mazzettiana" ("Lolium mazzettianum")
*"Festuca pratensis" ("Lolium pratensis") — Meadow Fescue


External links

* [http://www.greenviewfertilizer.com/articles/choosing-top-grass-seed How to Select Grass Seed] Information and Tips from Greenview
* [http://imagedb.calsnet.arizona.edu:8080/imagedb/servlet/DBDisplayTaxon?tdisplay=4&taxon_name=Festuca University of Arizona Extension Service] , flora and fauna image gallery

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Fescue — Fes cue (f[e^]s k[ u]), n. [OE. festu, OF. festu, F. f[ e]tu, fr. L. festuca stalk, straw.] 1. A straw, wire, stick, etc., used chiefly to point out letters to children when learning to read. Pedantic fescue. Sterne. [1913 Webster] To come under… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Fescue — Fes cue (f[e^]s k[ u]), v. i. & t. [imp. & p. p. {Fescued}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Fescuing}.] To use a fescue, or teach with a fescue. Milton. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • fescue — (n.) 1510s, teacher s pointer, alteration of festu piece of straw, twig (late 14c.), from O.Fr. festu (Mod.Fr. fétu), a kind of straw, from V.L. festucum, from L. festuca straw, stalk, rod, probably related to ferula (see FERULE (Cf. ferule)).… …   Etymology dictionary

  • fescue — [fes′kyo͞o΄] n. [ME festu < OFr < L festuca, a straw, blade of grass] 1. Rare a long stick, straw, etc., used as a teacher s pointer 2. any of a genus (Festuca) of grasses, many of which are used in the temperate zone as lawn and pasture… …   English World dictionary

  • fescue — /fes kyooh/, n. 1. Also called fescue grass. any grass of the genus Festuca, some species of which are cultivated for pasture or lawns. 2. a pointer, as a straw or slender stick, used to point out the letters in teaching children to read. [1350… …   Universalium

  • fescue — /ˈfɛskju / (say feskyooh) noun 1. any grass of the genus Festuca, some species of which, especially Chewings fescue and creeping red fescue, are cultivated for pasture or lawns. 2. any of several grasses belonging to other related genera, as… …  

  • fescue — noun /ˈfɛskjuː/ a) A straw, wire, stick, etc., used chiefly to point out letters to children when learning to read. , 1997: ‘Now then,’ Mason rapping upon the Table’s Edge with a sinister looking Fescue of Ebony, whose List of Uses simple… …   Wiktionary

  • fescue — fes·cue (fesґku) 1. any grass of the genus Festuca. 2. fescue foot …   Medical dictionary

  • fescue — eraičinas statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Miglinių (Poaceae) šeimos augalų gentis (Festuca). atitikmenys: lot. Festuca angl. fescue vok. Schwingel rus. овсяница lenk. kostrzewa …   Dekoratyvinių augalų vardynas

  • fescue — eraičinas statusas T sritis augalininkystė apibrėžtis Daugiamečių, miglinių (Poaceae), seniau varpinių (Gramineae), šeimos augalų gentis. atitikmenys: lot. Festuca angl. fescue rus. овсяница …   Žemės ūkio augalų selekcijos ir sėklininkystės terminų žodynas

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