Scientific Name:
Festuca novae-zelandiae (Hack.) Cockayne, Trans. New Zealand Inst. 48: 178 (1916)
  • Festuca ovina subsp. novae-zelandiae Hack., Trans. New Zealand Inst. 35: 384 (1903)
  • Festuca ovina var. novae-zelandiae (Hack.) Cheeseman, Man. New Zealand Fl. 917 (1906)
  • = Festuca novae-zelandiae J.B.Armstr., New Zealand Country Journal 5: 57 (1881) nom. nud.
  • = Festuca ovina var. eu-novae-zelandiae Howarth, 48: 63 (1928) nom. inval.
  • = Festuca ovina subvar. pruinosa Howarth, 48: 64 (1928)
Vernacular Name(s):
Fescue tussock; hard tussock

Short tawny tussock with fine harshly scabrid rolled leaf-blades and inflorescences with small  spikelets in ± appressed branches on rachides covered with small prickle-teeth. Prophyll 3–6 cm, red-brown, keels antrorsely toothed, scattered hairs on flanks; margin glabrous, membranous. Branching intravaginal. Leaf-sheath 5–25 cm, stramineous, striate, minutely scabrid or glabrous, margin mem-branous sometimes undulating; apical auricles 0.4–1.5 mm, unequal, rounded or acute, hairy, margins ciliate. Ligule = auricles, shortly triangular. Leaf-blade 10–40 cm × 0.4–0.7–(1.0) mm diam., terete, pointed, abaxially beset with small antrorse prickle-teeth, adaxially and on margins antrorsely short white hairy; TS: 5 vascular bundles, sclerenchyma usually continuous but frequently in 7 strands, occasionally various, costal sclerenchyma infrequent. Culm 20–100 cm, usually exceeding leaf-blades; nodes glabrous, concealed, brown; internodes antrorsely prickle-toothed, upper node often ensheathed. Panicle 5–25 cm, with (5)–6–9–(10) nodes, 15–25–30 spikelets, often included by leaves; branches solitary ascending, often naked below, sometimes binate, basal branch (2)–5–7–(10) cm of 3–6–(10) spikelets, uppermost 4–6 spikelets solitary on short pedicels; rachis, branches and pedicels abundantly shortly (0.05 mm) prickle-toothed on all surfaces. Spikelets 8–15 mm × 2.5–3 mm, 4–8 florets. Glumes unequal, keeled above, prickle-toothed on keel and above, centrally green-brown, pale stramineous elsewhere, thin, nerves evident, margin ciliate; lower 2.5–5.5 mm, 1-nerved, long triangular almost awned, upper 3.0–6.8 mm, 3-nerved, narrowly ovate, acute. Lemma 4–6 mm, lobes minute, rounded, prickle-toothed above and on margins below sometimes below on outermost nerve; awn 0–3 mm. Palea 4–6.5 mm, ≥ lemma, acute, shortly (0.1–0.3 mm) bifid, keels toothed in upper ½-⅔, interkeel hairs in upper ¼, margins of flanks with small hairs almost to base. Callus 0.1–0.4 mm, bearded on margins; articulation ± flat. Rachilla 0.75–1.5 mm, dense short stiff antrorsely hairy. Lodicules 0.5–1 mm, lobed, usually hair-tipped. Anthers 2–4 mm, yellow. Gynoecium: ovary 0.7 mm, turbinate, apex with hispid hairs; stigma-styles 1.0–1.75 mm. Caryopsis 2–3.8 mm; embryo 0.5 mm; hilum ± 2 mm. 2n= 42. Fig. 6. Plate 1C.

[From:  Edgar and Connor (2000) Flora of New Zealand. Volume 5 (second printing).]

Indigenous (Endemic)
Cheeseman, T.F. 1906: Manual of the New Zealand Flora. Government Printer, Wellington.
Cockayne, L.; Foweraker, C. E. 1916: Notes from the Canterbury College Mountain Biological Station: No. 4 - The Principal Plant Associations in the Immediate Vicinity of the Station. Transactions of the New Zealand Institute 48: 166–186.
de Lange, P.J.; Rolfe, J.R.; Barkla J.W.; Courtney, S.P.; Champion, P.D.; Perrie, L.R.; Beadel, S.N.; Ford, K.A.; Breitwieser, I.; Schönberger, I.; Hindmarsh-Walls, R.; Heenan, P.B.; Ladley, K. 2018: Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2017. New Zealand Threat Classification Series. No. 22. [Not Threatened]
de Lange, P.J.; Rolfe, J.R.; Champion, P.D.; Courtney, S.P.; Heenan, P.B.; Barkla, J.W.; Cameron, E.K.; Norton, D.A.; Hitchmough, R.A. 2013: Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012. New Zealand Threat Classification Series 3. Department of Conservation, Wellington. [Not Threatened]
Edgar, E.; Connor, H.E. 2010: Flora of New Zealand Volume V Grasses. Edition 2. Manaaki Whenua Press.
Häckel, E. 1903: On New Species of Grasses from New Zealand. Transactions of the New Zealand Institute 35: 377–385.
Howarth, W.O. 1928: The genus Festuca in New Zealand. J.Linn.Soc.Lond. 48: 57–77.
New Zealand Country Journal