Sheep's-fescue - Festuca ovina

    Alternative names
    Sheep's Fescue

    Tufted grass without rhizomes or runners, 5 to 40 cm tall. All leaves are bristle like, rough 3 to 15 cm long and 0.5 cm wide. Inflorescence 2 to 12 cm long, erect.

    Similar Species

    Festuca rubra and other fine-leaved fescues

    Identification difficulty
    ID guidance

    The basal leaves are rolled into tubes. The panicle is branched, but closes up after flowering. Each spikelet contains two or more florets which are awned. The sheath edges are fused into a tube. A small grass of dry, barren places.

    Recording advice

    The County Recorder has asked for a specimen of this plant to be retained for verification


    Drier grassland.

    When to see it

    May and June.

    Life History


    UK Status

    Fairly frequent but local in most of Britain and scarcer in the east of England.

    VC55 Status

    Fairly frequent in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 123 of the 617 tetrads.

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    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

    Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
    Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

    UK Map