Festuca altaica Trin.
Altai fescue (northern rough fescue)
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


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E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Festuca altaica
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Species Information

Perennial, densely tufted grass from fibrous roots; stems (25) 30-90 (120) cm tall, the nodes not visible.
Sheaths conspicuous at the base of the stems, persisting for more than 1 year, remaining entire, not conspicuously splitting between the nerves; blades (4) 10-30 (45) cm long, 1-3 mm wide, flat or folded; ligules 0.2-0.6 mm long.
Inflorescence an open panicle, 5-16 cm long, the branches (3) 5-13 cm long often with the flowers and branches borne on one side of the axis, the lower branches weak, to 10 cm long, often reflexed and to one side; spikelets strongly purplish-bronze with a sheen, 8-14 mm long, 3- to 4- (6-) flowered; lower glumes (4) 4.2-6.8 (8.3) mm long, the upper ones (4.5) 5.3-7.5 (10) mm long; lemmas (6.5) 7.5-9 (12) mm long, the margins translucent, awned, the awns 0.2-0.7 mm long; anthers 2.6-4.5 (5) mm long; ovary tops hairy.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


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Ecological Framework for Festuca altaica

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres)
1523 160 2380
Slope Gradient (%)
19 0 300

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

185 0 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 0 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

AT(56), BAFA(430), BG(3), BWBS(154), ESSF(214), ICH(3), IDF(11), IMA(6), MH(11), MS(74), PP(7), SBPS(5), SBS(3), SWB(384)

Habitat and Range

Mesic to dry meadows, grasslands, shrublands, rocky slopes and forest openings from the montane (N BC) to alpine zones; common in BC in and east of the Coast Mountains, S to 51 degrees N; amphiberingian, N to AK, YT and NT, E to AB, disjunct to PQ and NF and S to N MI; E Asia.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Festuca altaica subsp. scabrella (Torr. ex Hook.) Hultén
Festuca altaica var. scabrella (Torr. ex Hook.) Breitung
Festuca scabrella Torr. ex Hook.