Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Festuca idahoensis

Blue bunchgrass, Bunchgrass fescue, Idaho fescue

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Festuca idahoensis (Blue bunchgrass)
Bunchgrass fescue or Idaho fescue is a modest-sized, cool-season bunchgrass with very narrow, leaves, often of a striking blue- to gray-green color. Grows in large tufts with flowers in narrow clusters on stiff stalks, flower stalks twice the height of the leaves. The flowering culms are 12-18 in. in height and rather insignificant. This is a perennial.

In spite of its rough leaves, Idaho Fescue is still an important native forage grass.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Fruit Type: Caryopsis
Leaf: Gray-Green
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul


USA: AZ , CA , CO , ID , MT , NV , NM , OR , SD , UT , WA , WY
Canada: AB , BC
Native Distribution: B.C. to Alt., s. in mts. to c. CA & CO
Native Habitat: Rocky slopes & dry openings in woods below 5000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Deep, fertile to thin, rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: This grass is drought tolerant and excellent for erosion control. Seedlings are only weakly competitive but once mature become strongly competitive.

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Festuca idahoensis is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Sonora Skipper
(Polites sonora)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Last Update: 2007-01-01