Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Festuca idahoensis
bluebunch fescue, Idaho fescue

Distribution: Occurring chiefly east of the Cascades crest in Washington; British Columbia to California, east to the Rocky Mountains and northern Great Plains.

Habitat: Grasslands and sagebrush desert to dry mountain slopes, occasionally to the subalpine.

Flowers: May-July

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Wind


Strongly tufted perennial, usually glabrous, the hollow culms 4-10 dm. tall.


Sheaths open, usually glabrous; ligules 0.3-0.6 mm. long, highest on the sides; blades mostly basal, filiform, folded-involute, up to 10 cm. long.


Inflorescence a narrow panicle 7-15 cm. long, the branches erect to ascending; spikelets 5- to 7-flowered; first glume narrowly lanceolate, about 3.5 mm. long, 1-nerved; second glume oblong-lanceolate, about 5 mm. long, 3-nerved; lemmas rounded, about 6.5 mm. long, with a stout awn 2-5 mm. long; palea equal to the lemma.

Accepted Name:
Festuca idahoensis Elmer
Publication: Bot. Gaz. 36(1): 53. 1903.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Festuca idahoensis Elmer var. idahoensis [HC]
Festuca idahoensis Elmer var. oregona (Hack. ex Beal) C.L. Hitchc. [HC]
Festuca ingrata (Hack. ex Beal) Rydb.
Festuca occidentalis Hook. var. ingrata (Hack. ex Beal) B. Boivin
Festuca occidentalis Hook. var. oregona (Hack. ex Beal) B. Boivin
Festuca ovina L. var. columbiana Beal
Festuca ovina L. var. ingrata Hack. ex Beal
Festuca ovina L. var. oregona Hack. ex Beal
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Festuca idahoensis in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database

WA Flora Checklist: Festuca idahoensis checklist entry

OregonFlora: Festuca idahoensis information

E-Flora BC: Festuca idahoensis atlas page

CalPhotos: Festuca idahoensis photos

31 photographs:
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