FLORA OF ICELAND elements: Festuca richardsonii, Arctic Fescue

Festuca richardsonii; the Arctic Fescue has an inflorescence which is very spike-like. However, a close inspection shows it is a true panicle. The spikelets have 5-8 flowers. The spikelets are also characterized by the many bristle-like short hairs.. The basal leaves are narrow. It is sometimes regarded as a subspecies of Festuca rubra (Red Fescue). The nominate of this species (F. rubra ssp rubra) has been introduced on Iceland. It is characterized by the less hairy/glabrous spikelets and larger, slightly nodding panicles with reddish colours especially around the lower nodes.

The species is very common on Iceland growing anywhere from around homesteads to highland sand and gravel desert areas.

The Arctic Fescue is a member of the grass family (Poaceae, also known as Gramineae). The Icelandic name of the Arctic Fescue is TĂșnvingull.

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A brief introduction to Iceland plants
Text & Photographs by Dick Vuijk - unless stated otherwise


Spreading panicle
Contracted panicle
Leaves of the Arctic Fescue
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Spreading panicle
Contracted panicle
Leaves of the Arctic Fescue
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