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Festuca californica (California fescue)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Festuca californica

Festuca californica Vasey

California Fescue

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Synonym(s): Festuca hitchcockianus


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

This perennial bunchgrass is large, relative to most fescues, with gracefully drooping, narrow, dull-green to blue-green leaves reaching up to 4 ft. in height. Flower culms may stand up to 3-6 ft.


From the Image Gallery

8 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Linear
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Fruit Type: Caryopsis
Size Notes: Up to about 6 feet tall.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

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


USA: CA , MT , OR , WA
Native Distribution: Clackamas Co., OR to s. CA, w. of the Cascades & Sierras
Native Habitat: Dry, open ground to moist stream banks; wood edges; below 5000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Dry to moist soils.


Use Food: Festuca grasses harvested for seed by Native Americans.
Use Other: Pomo Indians maintained stands of this species for thatch.
Interesting Foliage: yes


Description: Sow seed.
Seed Treatment: No pretreatment is necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Groundcover for erosion control
September 23, 2008
I live in southern california. What is the best groundcover to plant on a slope to prevent erosion?
view the full question and answer

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Festuca californica in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Festuca californica in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Festuca californica


Record Modified: 2023-01-25
Research By: TWC Staff

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