Please try our next iteration of the Michigan Flora Online here. Beginning on February 1, 2023, will point to this new site.

The new site offers several benefits over the existing website, including real coordinate mapping, giving a clearer view of the density of documentation as well as more precision about plant distributions and their link to landforms. We will also have the ability to update species pages more regularly, both in terms of new collections and as more existing Michigan specimens are georeferenced. In addition, we have a better photo display, and offer indented keys.

Festuca rubra L.
Common Name: RED FESCUE
Coefficient of Conservatism: *
Coefficient of Wetness: 3
Wetness Index: FACU
Physiognomy: Ad P-Grass

Festuca rubra A. A. Reznicek

Roadsides, fields, shores, meadows, savannas – almost anywhere in open places. 

A most complex and intricate species; Darbyshire & Pavlick (2007) recognize 10 subspecies. We have not attempted to assign Michigan material to subspecies. It is possible that both native and introduced strains are included in our material, however, the earliest collection is from "pastures and along roadsides" in Keweenaw Co. in 1890.

The youngest green shoots available should be examined for the distinctive closed sheaths of this species. In F. rubra there is a strong tendency for the lowermost panicle branches (at least one of them) to be 5 (rarely only 4) mm or more long before the first pedicel; whereas in F. saximontana and F. trachyphylla, the lowermost panicle branches are usually all less than 5 (rarely 7) mm long before the first (sometimes aborted) pedicel. Festuca rubra, unlike F. trachyphylla and F. saximontana, is sometimes conspicuously rhizomatous, especially in lawns.


Alcona County
Allegan County
Alpena County
Arenac County
Baraga County
Barry County
Bay County
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Charlevoix County
    Including Beaver Island
Cheboygan County
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Eaton County
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Iron County
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Kent County
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    Including Isle Royale
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    Including Fox Islands
    Including Manitou Islands
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Marquette County
Mason County
Missaukee County
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Newaygo County
Oscoda County
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Presque Isle County
Schoolcraft County
St. Joseph County
Washtenaw County
Wayne County


MICHIGAN FLORA ONLINE. A. A. Reznicek, E. G. Voss, & B. S. Walters. February 2011. University of Michigan. Web. February 1, 2023.