|Festuca ovina on left|
It is a perennial plant sometimes found in acidic ground, and in mountain pasture, throughout Europe (with the exception of some Mediterranean areas) and eastwards across much of Asia; it has also been introduced to North America.
It is classified under the British NVC community CG2, i.e. Festuca ovina – Avenula pratensis grassland, one of the calcicolous grassland communities.
Sheep's fescue is a densely tufted perennial grass. Its greyish-green leaves are short and bristle-like. The panicles are both slightly feathery and a bit one-sided. It flowers from May until June, and is wind-pollinated. It has no rhizomes.
The great ability to adapt to poor soils is due to mycorrhizal fungi, which increase the absorption of water and nutrients and also are potential determinants of plant community structure. The symbiosis with fungi increases mineral, nitrogen and phospate absorption, thanks to fungal hyphae that expand deeply in the soil and cover plant roots, increasing the exchange surface. The symbiosis also makes every plant interconnected with the surrounding plants, making possible the exchange of nutrients between plants far from each other.
More colourful garden varieties with blue-grey foliage are available.
The Gatekeeper Butterfly feeds on it.
- Festuca duriuscula (syn. Festuca ovina L. var. duriuscula Macloskie)
- Festuca tenuifolia – Fine-leaved Sheep's Fescue
- "Distribution map for Festuca ovina". Naturhistoriska riksmuseet, Stockholm.
- Fuller, Sherry. "Choosing the right drought-tolerant lawn can save water". SWColoradohome.com.
- Marcel G. A. van der Heijden, Thomas Boller, Andres Wiemken, and Ian R. Sanders. "DIFFERENT ARBUSCULAR MYCORRHIZAL FUNGAL SPECIES ARE POTENTIAL DETERMINANTS OF PLANT COMMUNITY STRUCTURE". http://www.esajournals.org.
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