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Festuca pratensis - Huds.

Common Name Meadow fescue
Family Poaceae
USDA hardiness 4-10
Known Hazards None Known
Habitats Meadows, roadsides, old pastures, and riversides on moist, rich soils, especially on loamy and heavy soils.
Range Native to northern Europe east to Central Asia and south to Caucasus and Asia Minor. Introduced to North America from England (Reed, 1976).
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Festuca pratensis Meadow fescue

Festuca pratensis Meadow fescue
T.Voekler wikimedia.org


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Festuca pratensis is an evergreen Perennial growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 5. The flowers are pollinated by Wind.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. It cannot tolerate atmospheric pollution.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Bromus pratense (Huds.) Spreng. Festuca americana (Pers.) F. Dietr. Festuca apennina De Not. Festuca arctica Schur. Festuca australis Schur. Festuca elatior L. Festuca elatior Linnaeus, misapplied. Festuca elatior St.-Yves. Festuca elatior var. pratensis (Hudson) A. Gray. Festuca glabra Spreng. Festuca heteromalla Pourr. Festuca pluriflora Schult. Festuca poaeoides Michx. Lolium pratense (Hudson) Darbysh. Poa intermedia Koeler. Schedenorus pluriflorus (Schult.) H.Scholz. Schedonorus americanus (Pers.) Roem. & Schult. Schedonorus apenninus (de Not.) Tzvelev. Schedonorus pratensis (Hudson) Palisot de Beauvois. Schedonorus radicans Dumort. Tragus pratensis (Huds.) Panz.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Possible edible seeds [1-4]

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None Known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses


F. pratensis has been valued for centuries as a pasture grass in temperate regions. It is more cold tolerant than Festuca arundinacea, although it is not as productive. Animal feed, fodder, forage. Environmental: Erosion control or dune stabilization. Genetic importance: Gene source. An ornamental grass [1-8]. Faunal Associations: Insects that feed on Fescue grasses (Festuca spp.) include caterpillars of the skipper Atalopedes campestris (Sachem), larvae of the moth Pediasia trisecta (Larger Sod Webworm), Camnula pellucida (Clear-winged Grasshopper), Oulema melanopus (Cereal Leaf Beetle), Sphenophorus parvulus (Bluegrass Billbug), Blissus leucopterus hirtus (Hairy Chinch Bug), Metopolophium dirhodum (Rose-Grass Aphid), Rhopalosiphum oxyacanthae (Apple-Grass Aphid), Tetraneura ulmi (Elm & Grass Root Aphid), and other aphids. Horses, cattle, and other hoofed farm animals graze on the foliage of Meadow Fescue. The seeds of Meadow Fescue are eaten by the Greater Prairie Chicken. Meadow Fescue collapses into sprawling mats of vegetation during the winter, which probably provides good cover for voles and other small rodents [1-6].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A perennial grass growing 30-120cm high. It can be erect or spreading [1-4]. Ranging from Boreal Moist to Rain through Subtropical Dry Forest Life Zones, meadow fescue is reported to tolerate annual precipitation of 3.2 to 13.6 dm, annual temperature of 4.3 to 21.1?C, and pH of 4.5 to 8.2 (Duke, 1978, 1979). Adapted to cool climates as a cool-season turfgrass. Thrives in deep rich soil, but also grows well on calcareous or sandy soils provided they are moist. In native areas, found in meadows, forest margins, thin forests (Reed, 1976). In Pakistan it grows at about 2,000 m altitude. In Sichuan and Yunnan [1-4]. Flowering from June until August in the Northern Hemisphere. US Forest Service (2016) records that it is tolerant of acid soils but may also occur in calcareous soils. Although it survives regular mowing, this grass prefers unmowed or little-mowed areas [1-6].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Slow to establish, this grass requires a clean seedbed. Propagated from sown at a rate of 11?28 kg/ha. Optimum temperature for germination, 20?30?C. In mixtures with clovers sown 9?13 kg/ha; with alfalfa, 3 kg/ha. Combines well with clovers, Lotus corniculatus, alfalfa and grasses, as Phleum pratense and Dactylis glomerata, producing a large proportion of leafy bottom growth (Reed, 1976).

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Meadow fescue, English bluegrass Spanish: canuela de los prados French: fetuque des pres Chinese: cao dian yang mao Portuguese: festuca-dos-prados Local Common Names Germany: Wiesen- Schwingel Italy: festuca dei prati Netherlands: Beemdlangbloem Sweden: aengssvingel [1-8].

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, China, Georgia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Albania, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Canada, United States, Australia, Argentina [1-8].

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Where introduced outside of its native range the species can be invasive in riparian areas, forests, and grasslands and decrease native biodiversity. It may pose a threat to rare plant species in these ecosystems, for example the endangered mustard species Physaria globosa (Short’s bladderpod) in the USA [1-8].

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Not Listed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Festuca conferta  0.0 -  LMHSNM10 
Festuca ovinaSheep's FescuePerennial0.3 4-8  LMSNDM10 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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