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California Fescue
Festuca californica
About California Fescue (Festuca californica) Nurseries Show All Photos It is a species of grass known by the common name California fescue. It is native to the states of California and Oregon where it is a member of many plant communities, including chaparral. This fescue is a clumping perennial without rhizomes. It reaches anywhere from 40 to 120 centimeters in height. The rough leaves are narrow but can be quite long. The flower cluster holds spikelets which are each one to two centimeters long. The plant reproduces from seed and from buds located at the base of the clump. It is used for revegetating grassland that has been cleared or claimed by non-native grasses.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
1.3 - 4 ft (0.4 - 1.2 m)

Max. Width
3 ft (0.9 m)

Upright, Fountain


Growth Rate
Fast, Moderate


Flower Color

Flowering Season
Spring, Winter

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Open places

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
13' - 8689'

Annual Precip. ?
12.8" - 143.7"

Summer Precip. ?
0.19" - 5.56"

Coldest Month ?
29.5° F - 56.0° F

Hottest Month ?
51.7° F - 76.3° F

Humidity ?
0.14 vpd - 25.33 vpd

Soil Description
Prefers loamy or clay soils. Grows poorly in sandy soils.

Soil PH
6.0 - 7.2

Soil Toxicity Tolerance
Tolerates Serpentine Soil

Fast, Medium, Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 30° F

Sunset Zones ?
4, 5, 6, 7*, 8, 9, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17*, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

Companion Plants
This is a large clumping grass, so use with shrubs that won't be overwhelmed by it, such as Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia), Lemonade Berry (Rhus integrifolia), larger Ceanothus, Manzanita species, or Scrub Oaks.

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Very Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Common uses
Groundcovers, Deer Resistant

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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