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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.