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Festuca idahoensis

Festuca idahoensis Elmer

Idaho Fescue, Bunchgrass Fescue, Blue Bunchgrass

Poaceae (Grass Family)


USDA Symbol: feid

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

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.

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


From the Image Gallery

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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
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.
Leaf: Gray-Green

Bloom Information

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


USA: AZ , CA , CO , ID , MT , NM , NV , 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)

Sonora Skipper
(Polites sonora)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA


Description: Propagate by seed, though seeds are not highly germinable.
Seed Treatment: No pretreatment is necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

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

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

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


Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright

Search More Titles in Bibliography

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


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

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