Festuca ovina

Genuine sheep fescue ( Festuca ovina ), illustration

The genuine sheep fescue ( Festuca ovina s.str. ), Also known as Actual fescue or fescue Common, belongs to the group of species of sheep fescue ( Festuca ovina agg. ) Within the family of grasses ( Poaceae ) ..


The Genuine Sheep fescue is a perennial Hemikryptophyt with 5 to 30, sometimes to 60 cm high, erect and stiff stalks. The species forms dense, fresh - green usually unsecured matured, at most greyish clumps. Renewal shoots grow up just inside the lower leaf sheaths, so that the species remains without stolons and rhizomes.

Below the panicle, the culms are rough -edged or covered with very short hairs, sometimes smooth. The leaf sheaths are open up towards the base and closed only at the base. They are smooth and wear at the upper end two lateral small ears that are finely ciliated on the edge. The ligule is a 0.1 to 0.2 mm long membranous hem. The very thin, hair - or bristle- like leaf blades are 0.3 to 0.6 mm in diameter and cross-section folded heart-shaped or ovate sharp and firm. You can reach length of 3-25 inches. You tips are dull and rough. Upper hand, they are very short hairy or at least rough above, but bald. The leaf blade has five vascular bundles, on the top of a ridge and two furrows. The sclerenchyma fibers form a closed, rarely interrupted, uniform thin ring on the lower epidermis.

From May to July, the plants form 3 to 12 cm long, erect panicles. These are lance-shaped and tightly contracted and spread a little only at flowering time. They are green, but often crowded purple. The side branches are individually and rough. The Ährchenstiele are 1-3 mm long. The individual elliptic to oblong spikelets are three-to neunblütig. The lower glume lanceolate is 2 to 3 mm long and einnervig. The upper glume is 3-4 mm long and three annoying. The rounded on the back of lemmas 2.6 to 4.5 mm long and bare, rough and near the top five annoying. Wear -resistant, 0.5 to 2 mm long awns. The dust bag can be 2 to 2.5 mm long. The ovaries are bald.

Distribution and location

The Genuine Sheep fescue is a Nordic -Eurasian matic Florenelement. It is widely distributed in North, West and Central Europe and in temperate Asia to Japan and the People's Republic of China. In southern Europe from France to the Balkans Articles synanthropic occurrence is missing can be found in North America and Australia. It usually grows on nutrient-poor, low base, well drained and dry, shallow soil sandy or clay soils.

The grass is a light to partial shade plant and grows mostly in sunny oak mixed and pine forests, clearings or forest edges and on embankments and in nations and in poor grass. The species is considered degenerative and Verhagerungszeiger. Its ecological behavior can be based on the indicator values ​​according to Ellenberg classified as follows: L-7, Tx, K-3, Fx, R-3, N- 1, S- 0b.

The genuine sheep fescue is gesellschaftsvag, that is, it occurs in many different plant communities. Often he is with red bentgrass ( Agrostis capillaris ), broadleaf thyme (Thymus pulegioides ), bristle grass ( Nardus stricta ), 's Small sorrel ( Rumex acetosella ), heather ( Calluna vulgaris) and the ordinary wing broom ( Chamaespartium sagittal ) associated.


Knowing the distribution of the species in Germany is still insufficient, so that an assessment of the risk is difficult. In Mecklenburg- Vorpommern and Hamburg, the species is on the red list of endangered vascular plants out as being at risk ( hazard category 3). Throughout Germany it is considered safely.


The species occurs mostly on extreme locations where sophisticated forage grasses no longer thrive and they can not be displaced by them. It is even reluctant eaten by sheep. Even the hay is considered inferior. The Sheep fescue hampered with its dense stand and badly decomposed remains of the water and air exchange in the soil. It is however recommended as a grass for sunny, dry locations on poor soils. Also for floor mounting on dry slopes and embankments is the way in seed mixtures of importance.