Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Festuca subulata


SPECIES: Festuca subulata
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Esser, Lora L. 1994. Festuca subulata. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : FESSUB SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY SCS PLANT CODE : FESU COMMON NAMES : bearded fescue nodding fescue TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of bearded fescue is Festuca subulata Trin. [9,14,24]]. There are no recognized infrataxa. LIFE FORM : Graminoid FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Festuca subulata
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Bearded fescue occurs from Alaska south to northern California and east to Alberta, Montana, Wyoming, and western South Dakota [8,9,14,24,25]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES20 Douglas-fir FRES23 Fir - spruce FRES24 Hemlock - Sitka spruce FRES27 Redwood FRES28 Western hardwoods FRES34 Chaparral - mountain shrub FRES36 Mountain grasslands FRES37 Mountain meadows STATES : AK CA ID MT OR SD UT WA WY AB BC BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 1 Northern Pacific Border 2 Cascade Mountains 4 Sierra Mountains 5 Columbia Plateau 8 Northern Rocky Mountains 9 Middle Rocky Mountains 10 Wyoming Basin 15 Black Hills Uplift KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K001 Spruce - cedar - hemlock forest K002 Cedar - hemlock - Douglas-fir forest K003 Silver fir - Douglas-fir forest K004 Fir - hemlock forest K005 Mixed conifer forest K006 Redwood forest K025 Alder - ash forest K037 Mountain-mahogany - oak scrub K047 Fescue - oatgrass K052 Alpine meadows and barren SAF COVER TYPES : 205 Mountain hemlock 217 Aspen 221 Red alder 223 Sitka spruce 224 Western hemlock 225 Western hemlock - Sitka spruce 226 Coastal true fir - hemlock 227 Western redcedar - western hemlock 228 Western redcedar 229 Pacific Douglas-fir 230 Douglas-fir - western hemlock 232 Redwood 243 Sierra Nevada mixed conifer SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Bearded fescue is a member of maple-quaking aspen (Acer spp.-Populus tremuloides), quaking aspen-mountain brush, and aspen-spruce-fir (Picea-Abies spp.) communities in the mountains of northern Utah [24]. It is found in stands dominated by Gambel oak (Quercus gambelii) in Red Butte Canyon, Utah [4]. Bearded fescue is found in upland coastal redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) forests of northern California and montane coniferous forests of the Sierra Nevada, California [15,17]. Bearded fescue is commonly found in the Sitka spruce/devil's club (Picea sitchensis/Oplopanax horridus) association in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest [1]. It is also found in the coastal Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii) and western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) zones of British Columbia [19]. On the Saturna Island Ecological Reserve, British Columbia, bearded fescue is a member of a virgin Douglas-fir forest [22]. Bearded fescue is a common understory species in red alder (Alnus rubra) communities in the central Oregon Coast Range [3]. In Washington, bearded fescue occurs in western hemlock/vanillaleaf (Achlys triphylla), western hemlock/devil's club, red alder/salmonberry (Alnus rubra/Rubus spectabilis), and Pacific silver fir (Abies amabilis)/devil's club associations [6]. At Mount St. Helens, Washington, in the airfall area (the area surrounding the immediate devastated area), bearded fescue is one of the dominant riparian herbs [16]. Species commonly associated with bearded fescue not previously mentioned in Distribution and Occurrence include noble fir (Abies procera), Alaska-cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis), vine maple (Acer circinatum), dwarf Oregon-grape (Berberis nervosa), red huckleberry (Vaccinium parviflorum), Alaska blueberry (V. alaskensis), baldhip rose (Rosa gymnocarpa), salal (Gaultheria shallon), western fescue (Festuca occidentalis), blue wildrye (Elymus glaucus), evergreen violet (Viola sempervirens), twinflower (Linnaea borealis), bunchberry (Cornus canadensis), oneleaf foamflower (Tiarella unifoliata), sweet-scented bedstraw (Galium trifolium), starry Solomon-seal (Smilacina stellata), thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus), California hazel (Corylus cornuta var. californica), oceanspray (Holodiscus discolor), Oregon oxalis (Oxalis oregana), western sword fern (Polystichum munitum), and bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum) [1,3,6,18,22].


SPECIES: Festuca subulata
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Bearded fescue is eaten by grizzly bears in British Columbia [1]. The western hemlock/devil's club and red alder/salmonberry habitat types of Mount Rainier National Park, Washington, which include bearded fescue, provide important habitat for deer, elk, and mountain beaver [6]. PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : NO-ENTRY OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Festuca subulata
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Bearded fescue is a native, perennial bunchgrass [8,14,24]. Culms are 16 to 32 inches (40-80 cm) tall [14,24]. Leaf blades are drooping, flat or loosely rolled, and 4 to 12 inches (10-30 cm) long [9]. The inflorescence is an open, loose panicle 4 to 16 inches (10-40 cm) long [9,24]. Bearded fescue is occasionally stoloniferous in Utah [9], and California plants reportedly have short rhizomes [24]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Hemicryptophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Bearded fescue may sprout from rhizomes and perennating buds at the base of the culms. It also reproduces by seed [9,24]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Bearded fescue occurs on mesic to moist sites in meadows, thickets, forests, shaded places, coastal mountain valleys, wet benches, terraces and streambanks [6,8,9,14,24]. It is most commonly found in soils derived from sandstone, shale, and conglomerates [4,15]. Elevations for bearded fescue in some western states are as follows: feet meters California <8,250 <2,500 [9] Utah 5,544-7,656 1,680-2,320 [24] Washington 1,815-4,820 550-1,460 [6] SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Facultative Seral Species Bearded fescue grows in both open and shaded areas [8,9,17], but does best in full or partial shade [9]. In British Columbia, bearded fescue occurs as a pioneer species in communities disturbed by avalanches [1]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Bearded fescue blooms from June to August in California [17].


SPECIES: Festuca subulata
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Bearded fescue grows best in plant communities that burn infrequently, but it can grow on open, disturbed sites. Western hemlock, redwood, and Pacific silver fir forests, in which bearded fescue occurs, have fire-return intervals of 500 years or more [26]. The fire-return interval varies with respect to location, associated species, and climate. Bearded fescue has basal culm buds and rhizomes which may sprout after aerial portions are burned. Bearded fescue forms densely clumped stems with persistent dead leaf sheaths at the plant base [9,14]. If thick tufts form, they may protect the basal buds from fire damage. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Rhizomatous herb, rhizome in soil Surface rhizome/chamaephytic root crown Tussock graminoid Secondary colonizer - off-site seed


SPECIES: Festuca subulata
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Bearded fescue culms, leaves, and stolons are probably killed by fire. Plants with rhizomes are probably only top-killed. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Bearded fescue may sprout following some fires. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Agee [26] summarizes fire management options in Pacific Northwest forests where bearded fescue occurs. In western hemlock forests no natural areas are large enough to allow a free-ranging fire, and few will allow prescribed natural fire. Also, much of the protected western hemlock forest is within conservation areas for the northern spotted owl and is being managed to preserve owl habitat. Without fire, the proportion of Douglas-fir in natural stands will decline, particularly on more mesic sites, and western hemlock will assume a more important role. In Pacific silver fir forests fire is not a useful management option. Under controllable conditions, prescribed fires will not spread. As a fuel reduction tool, prescribed fire usually increases dead fuel loadings [26].


SPECIES: Festuca subulata
REFERENCES : 1. Banner, Allen; Pojar, Jim; Trowbridge, Rick; Hamilton, Anthony. 1986. Grizzly bear habitat in the Kimsquit River Valley, coastal British Columbia: classification, description, and mapping. In: Contreras, Glen P.; Evans, Keith E., compilers. Proceedings--grizzly bear habitat symposium; 1985 April 30 - May 2; Missoula, MT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-207. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 36-49. [10810] 2. Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p. [434] 3. Carlton, Gary C. 1988. The structure and dynamics of red alder communities in the central Coast Range of western Oregon. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University. 173 p. Thesis. [10549] 4. Cottam, Walter P.; Evans, Frederick R. 1945. A comparative study of the vegetation of grazed and ungrazed canyons of the Wasatch Range, Utah. Ecology. 26(2): 171-181. [695] 5. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905] 6. Franklin, Jerry F.; Moir, William H.; Hemstrom, Miles A.; [and others]. 1988. The forest communities of Mount Rainier National Park. Scientific Monograph Series No 19. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. 194 p. [12393] 7. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998] 8. Hallsten, Gregory P.; Skinner, Quentin D.; Beetle, Alan A. 1987. Grasses of Wyoming. 3rd ed. Research Journal 202. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, Agricultural Experiment Station. 432 p. [2906] 9. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992] 10. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p. [1168] 11. Hulten, Eric. 1968. Flora of Alaska and neighboring territories. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. 1008 p. [13403] 12. Klinka, K.; Krajina, V. J.; Ceska, A.; Scagel, A. M. 1989. Indicator plants of coastal British Columbia. Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia Press. 288 p. [10703] 13. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384] 14. Lackschewitz, Klaus. 1991. Vascular plants of west-central Montana--identification guidebook. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-227. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 648 p. [13798] 15. Lenihan, James M. 1990. Forest ass. of Little Lost Man Creek, Humboldt Co., CA: reference-level in the hierarchical structure of old-growth coastal redwood vegetation. Madrono. 37(2): 69-87. [10673] 16. Means, Joseph E.; McKee, W. Arthur; Moir, William H.; Franklin, Jerry F. 1982. Natural revegetation of the northeastern portion of the devestated area. In: Keller, S. A, C.; ed. Mount St. Helens: one year later: Proceedings of a symposium; 1981 May 17-18; Cheney, WA. Cheney, WA: Eastern Washington University Press: 93-103. [5977] 17. Munz, Philip A. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1905 p. [6155] 18. Ogilvie, R. T.; Hebda, R. J.; Roemer, H. L. 1984. The phytogeography of Oxalis oregana in British Columbia. Canadian Journal of Botany. 62: 1561-1563. [9004] 19. Pojar, J.; Klinka, K.; Meidinger, D. V. 1987. Biogeoclimatic ecosystem classification in British Columbia. Forest Ecology and Management. 22: 119-154. [7314] 20. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843] 21. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species originating in northern Rocky Mountain forests. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; RWU 4403 files. 7 p. [20090] 22. Sullivan, Thomas P. 1979. Virgin Douglas-fir forest on Saturna Island, British Columbia. Canadian Field-Naturalist. 93(2): 126-131. [10155] 23. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1982. National list of scientific plant names. Vol. 1. List of plant names. SCS-TP-159. Washington, DC. 416 p. [11573] 24. Welsh, Stanley L.; Atwood, N. Duane; Goodrich, Sherel; Higgins, Larry C., eds. 1987. A Utah flora. Great Basin Naturalist Memoir No. 9. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University. 894 p. [2944] 25. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603] 26. Agee, James K. 1993. Fire ecology of Pacific Northwest forests. Washington, DC: Island Press. 493 p. [22247]

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