Meadow fescue

Grass profile

  • Latin Name: Festuca pratensis
  • Festuca: lat. blade of grass
  • Pratum: lat. meadow
  • Family: Sweetgrasses/Poaceae
  • Type of forage: Grasses
Meadow fescue - Festuca pratensis

Meadow Fescue (Festuca pratensis)

The meadow fescue, also known as camel hay, is a richly shaped meadow grass belonging to the sweet grass family. It is a widespread pasture grass in the grassland and is eaten by cattle.

The meadow fescue is an upper grass growing in loose horsts. It grows up to 120 cm high. The leaf sheaths are bare, up to 7 mm wide and hang flaccidly downwards. At their base they enclose the stem with an ear. The rich-flowered panicle stands upright or is slightly overhanging. The individual spikelets have 5 to 8 flowers and are much longer than the glumes.

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Occurrence meadow fescue

The meadow fescue is a very common grass and a characteristic species of the European meadows (Molinio-Arrhenatheretea). The preferred soils are heavy, at times damp, well fertilized and over calcareous ground. As it is a forage grass of very high forage value, it is often sown.

Effect of meadow fescue

The nests are tread-proof and therefore the meadow fescue is also a welcome pasture grass. In forage plant cultivation it is often crossed with other species, which in turn are used as forage grasses. However, these hybrids are mostly linked to intensive cultivation and are not competitive in a conventional meadow and disappear again.


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