Six-Weeks Fescue

Six-weeks_Fescue_jpgThis family (Poaceae) is commonly called the Grass Family.  The genus name (Vulpia) means “fox” and refers to the many long terminal bristle.  The species name (octoflora) means “eight-flowered”, referring to the individual spiklet that contains 8 flowers. In ancient times and continuing to today this plant family (Poaceae), commonly known as grasses, have stood between mankind and starvation.  For thousands of years grasses have provided food we eat (wheat, rice, corn, sugar cane, and more) and food for our domestic livestock.  In earlier times grasses were used to make thatched roofs, mats for floors, bedding, and kitchen utensils.  Indeed, some made an entire house of a grass species–bamboo–including water-piping, ladders and furniture. In early man’s culture, selected grasses were used as writing tools and reeds provided flutes and similar musical instruments.  Dyed grasses played an ornamental role as part of costumes worn for ceremonial occasions.  Incense was made from grasses. Children made toy boats, dolls, and other toys with plants in this family.  A good whistle can be made by placing a blade of grass between the thumbs and blowing across it.

OtherCommonName:

Slender Fescue

ScientificName:

Vulpia octoflora

Community:

Edge

PlantStatus:

Native

LifeSpan:

Annual

PlantHeight:

4 to 24 inches

FruitingTime:

Mid May to late Jun

Distribution:

Quebec to Florida ~ Throughout Coastal Plain, decreasing in Northern New Jersey

FloweringTime:

Mid May to late June

IdentifyingCharacteristics:

Slender, decumbent to erect, hairy ~ Blades flat narrow (1 mm) ~ Flower cluster, few ascending or rarely spreading branches ~ Spiklets flattened, linear-cylindrical, 3 ½ inches long, one-sided, not branched. Consider the often quoted rhyme when identifying grasses: “Sedges have edges,Rushes are round, Grasses have joints from their tips to the ground.”