Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Slender Eight-flowered Fescue - Festuca octoflora var. octoflora   Walter
Members of Poaceae:
Members of Festuca with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Family Poaceae
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DistributionThroughout the state; the apparent gaps on the map will be filled with more collecting.

Southern NJ to MO and OK, south to FL and TX. FNA states that this variety occurs northward into southern Canada.
AbundanceCommon in the Coastal Plain and much of the Piedmont, uncommon in the Mountains.
HabitatDry to xeric sandy soil of stable dunes, maritime dry grasslands, fields, rock outcrops, roadsides, disturbed areas.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting April-June.
IdentificationThis is one of several fescues that are annual and which have a single stamen (vs. perennial and with 3 stamens). Plants grow about a foot or so tall, with most leaves near the base and with narrow, erect inflorescences. It differs from F. myuros by first glume >1/2 length of second glume (vs. <1/2) and by much shorter awns.
Taxonomic CommentsSynonyms include Vulpia octoflora var. octoflora.

Bromus, Festuca, and Poa all can look quite similar to beginners (and even veterans!), because they all have multi-flowered spikelets. Generally speaking, Bromus has much the largest spikelets, and most Poa have a tuft of wispy hairs at the base of each floret (lacking in the other genera). Bromus and Festuca have obvious awns on the florets (absent in Poa). With field experience and careful use of keys, one can eventually handle these genera.

Our annual species of Festuca are by some authors placed in the genus Vulpia; they have a single stamen (vs. perennial and with 3 stamens).
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State RankS4? *
Global RankG5T5
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B.A. SorrieEdge of field, West End Road, late Apr 2015. MoorePhoto_natural

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