Sheep Fescue Information

Overview

Sheep fescue (also known as Festuca ovina) is a type of native bunch grass that grows during cool seasons. It is a bluish-green grass that is classified as a perennial graminoid (herbaceous and monocotyledonous plants). Sheep fescue actively grows during the spring season, particularly toward the end. It does not originate in North America, though it has adapted to its latitudes.

Habitat

Sheep fescue is a perennial plant that often appears in acidic bogs. Some examples the locations of this grass include the bogs of Portlethen Moss in Scotland, and in mountain pastures throughout Europe and Asia.

Characteristics

This perennial grass has dense tufts. Its leaves are a greenish-gray color and resemble bristles. The leaves are very short, with slightly feathery inflorescences that are one-sided.

Cultivation

Sheep fescue is resistant to drought, and usually appears on mineral soil that is well-drained and of poor quality. Sheep fescue flowers between the months of May and June, and is pollinated by the wind. It prefers medium and coarse soil types, and a pH range of 5.5 to 7.5. Low moisture is necessary for sheep fescue cultivation. Partial shade to sun is preferable.

Caution

Out of all the different varieties of fescue grasses, sheep fescue is the least commonly used. This is because it is cultivated in some of the poorest soil types and is generally used for erosion control in settings that are naturalized.

Food Plant

Sheep fescue is a food plant for the caterpillars of various different types of butterflies. The small heath, meadow brown and the gatekeeper all feed off of sheep fescue grass.

Keywords: sheep fescue, fescue grass, blue fescue

About this Author

Isabel Prontes is a freelance writer and traveler residing in Manhattan, NY. She has traveled to five continents and counting. Her work has appeared on a number of websites, such as Travels, eHow.com and "Happy Living Magazine." Prontes has a professional background in public relations; she received a bachelor's degree in communication studies from Pace University.