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


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

UK Map