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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Smallflower Fescue - Festuca minutiflora

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Status Under Review
Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status


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General Description
Loosely to densely cespitose perennials. Culms 4-30 cm tall, semi-prostrate to mostly erect. Leaf sheaths closed about half their length; collars glabrous; ligules 0.1-0.3 mm; blades mostly less than 0.5 mm in diameter, conduplkcate, lax, lower surface sparsely scabrous to puberulent. Inflorescences 1-4(5) cm long, contracted; branches 1-2 per node, erect, the lower ones with 2 or more spikelets. Spikelets (2.5-)3-5 mm long, florets (1)2-3(5). Glumes exceeded by upper florests; lower glumes 1.4-2.5 mm; upper glumes 2-3.5 mm long; lemmas (2-)2.2-3.5(-4) mm, sparsely scabrous near apex, apex abruptly acuminate, awns 0.5-1.5(-1.7) mm; paleas about equal or slightly shorter than lemmas; anthers (0.4)0.6-1.2 mm; ovary apex usually with a few hairs or rarely glabrous (adapted from: Darbyshire & Pavlick, 2007, in Flora N. America, Vol. 24).

Lavin (2012) includes this species in synonymy of F. ovina.

Range Comments
Most common in southern Rockies (CO and NM) and UT but sporadically in AZ, CA, NV, ID, OR, to AK (Kartesz in prep. 2012).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 1

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Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Alpine regions (Flora N. America, Vol. 24).

  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Aho, Ken Andrew. 2006. Alpine and Cliff Ecosystems in the North-Central Rocky Mountains. Ph.D. Dissertation. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 343 p.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2022. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants, Second Edition. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 779 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Smallflower Fescue — Festuca minutiflora.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from