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|meadow fescue (Festuca pratensis)|
Some 300, see text
Festuca (fescue) is a genus of about 300 species of flowering plants belonging to the grass family Poaceae (subfamily Pooideae). They are evergreen or herbaceous perennial tufted grasses with a height range of 10–200 cm (4–79 in) and a cosmopolitan distribution, although the majority of the species are found in cool temperate areas. The genus is closely related to ryegrass (Lolium), and recent evidence from phylogenetic studies using DNA sequencing of plant mitochondrial DNA shows that the genus lacks monophyly. As a result, plant taxonomists have moved several species, including the forage grasses tall fescue and meadow fescue, from the genus Festuca into the genus Lolium.
The fescues contain some species which are important grasses for both lawns (particularly the fine-leaved species, highly valued for bowling greens) and as pasture and hay for livestock, being a highly nutritious stock feed. Fescues are also quite common on golf courses of the coastal U.S. and the U.K., usually beyond the second cut in the rough. Fescue is easily established on bare ground, out-competing other plants and persisting over several years, and so is often used in soil erosion control programs, most notably tall fescue, one cultivar of which, Kentucky 31 (Festuca arundinacea), was used in land reclamation during the dust bowl period in the 1930s in the US.
Fescue is sometimes used as feed for horses. However, fescue poisoning, which results from ergot alkaloids produced by an endophytic fungus, is a risk for pregnant mares. Occurring in the last three months of pregnancy, fescue poisoning increases the risk of spontaneous abortion, stillbirths, retained placenta, absent milk production, and prolonged pregnancy. Fescue toxicosis of livestock can require a farmer to seek costly treatment for his/her animals.  Incorporating legumes into the fescue can be a way to increase livestock gains and conception rates, even if the fescue is infected.
Subgenus Schedonorus 
- Proposed for inclusion in genus Lolium
- Festuca arundinacea (syn. Festuca elatior, Lolium arundinaceum) – Tall Fescue
- Festuca gigantea (Lolium giganteum) – Giant Fescue
- Festuca mazzettiana (Lolium mazzettianum)
- Festuca pratensis (Lolium pratensis) – Meadow Fescue
Popular culture 
In a 2011 ESPN College GameDay television commercial, Lee Corso eats fescue grass after coach Les Miles tells Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit that he eats the grass of every field he plays on because it makes him "one with the field."
- Tall Fescue Grasses & Fine Fescues
- Darbyshire, S J (1993). "Realignment of Festuca subgenus Schedonorus with the genus Lolium (Poaceae)". Novon 3: 239–243. doi:10.2307/3391460.
- Ianniello, Daniel. "Information for Growing a Nice, Green Richmond Lawn". Information for Growing a Nice, Green Richmond Lawn. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
- Schardl C L, Leuchtmann L (2005). In The Fungal Community: Its Organization and Role in the Ecosystem, Third Edition, ed. J Dighton, J F White Jr., P Oudemans. The Epichloë Endophytes of Grasses and the Symbiotic Continuum. CRC Press. pp. 475–503. ISBN 0-8247-2355-4.
- "Tall Fescue". Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine. April 13, 2008 (archived). Archived from the original on 2008-04-13.
- "Cornell University Department of Animal Science". Treatment of Fescue Toxicity. Cornell University.
- Fescue Toxicosis
- "Festuca riccerii". Galleria della Flora italiana (in Italian). ActaPlantarum. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
- BSBI Description retrieved 2010-11-16.
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|Wikisource has the text of the 1920 Encyclopedia Americana article Fescue.|
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