Festuca valesiaca Gaud. - Valesian (sheep.s) fescue.

Taxonomic position.

Family Poaceae Barnhart., genus Festuca L.


Festuca valesiaca subsp. valesiaca Tzvel.

Biology and morphology.

Perennial herb plant, small in size, non-pubescent, cespitous. Stems erect, glabrous, slightly rough at the top, (10) 20-30 (50) cm tall. Leaf sheathes split. Needle blade narrow (about (0.35) 0.4-0.6 mm), grayish green to bluish green, rough, with 3 ribs. Ligule very short. Auricles very reduced, sometimes distinct. Panicle-like inflorescence (2) 3.5-5.0 (8) cm long, with rough branches and axis. Spikelets (4.5) 5.0-6.0 (7.0) cm long. Lemma is lanceolate, glabrous with awn 0.7-2.0 mm long. Anthers are 2.0-2.9 mm long. Blossoms in May-June; seeds ripen in August. Cross-pollinated by wind. 2n = 14, 28.


Occurs throughout the European part of the former USSR, Crimea, the Caucasus, Siberia, Central Asia, and the Far East.


Typical xeromesophyte. The dominant grass species of dry steppe. Occurs in dry meadows and steppe woods, on stony slopes, in loams, and in sands. Highly resistant to drought. Does not tolerate humidity. Highly resistant to cold. Does not tolerate shade. Restricted to very dry soils. Grows as high as the middle mountain level.

Utilization and economic value.

The most distributed grass of natural steppe pastures. Valuable component of grass mixtures in cultivated, long-lived pastures in steppe areas. Re-grows at the end of April and is good for grazing in the first part of May or for early harvest. Provides good forage for all classes of livestock. Good re-growth after 3-4 grazings. Highly palatable. Can be used as a lawn grass, too.

Literature cited:

Cereals of Ukraine. 1977. Kiev: Naukova Dumka, 518 pp. (in Russian).
Fedorov A.A., ed. 1974. Flora of the European USSR. Vol. 1. L.: Nauka, 404 pp. (in Russian).
Grossheim A.A. 1939. Flora of the Caucasus. Vol. 2. Baku: AzFAN, pp. 587. (in Russian).
Harkevich S.S., ed. 1985. Vascular Plants of the Soviet Far East. Vol. 1. St. Petersburg: Nauka, 390 p. (in Russian).
Kovalevskaja S.S., ed. 1968. Conspect of Central Asian Flora. Vol. 1. Taschkent: AN Uzbekistan SSR, 226 pp. (in Russian).
Malyshev L.I., Peshkova G.A., eds. 1990. Flora of Siberia. Vol. 2. Novosibirsk: Nauka, 361 pp. (in Russian).
Nikitin V.V., Geldihanov A.M. 1988. Field Guide of Plants of Turkmenia. L.: Nauka, 680 p.
Rozhevitz P.U., Shishkin V.K., eds. 1937. Flora of the USSR. Vol. 2. M.-L.: USSR, 778 pp. (in Russian).
Shishkin B.K., ed. 1950. Flora of Kirghizia. Vol. 2. Frunze: AN Kirghizia SSR, 315 pp. (in Russian).
Tzvelev N.N. 1976. Poaceae USSR. L.: Nauka, 788 pp. (in Russian).

© Dzyubenko N.I., Dzyubenko E.A.

Copyright on the photos belongs to N.I. Dzyubenko.

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