Schedonorus P. Beauv.
Tufted perennials. Leaf-blades flat or more often folded or convolute, sometimes auricled at the base. Inflorescence an open or contracted panicle. Spike-lets several-to many-flowered, ± laterally compressed; glumes subequal, narrow, the lower 1(-3)-nerved, the upper 3-nerved; lemmas ± lanceolate, rounded on the back, herbaceous or somewhat indurated, (3-)5-nerved, usually with an awn or awn-point from the tip, less often awnless or awned from just below the tip; ovary glabrous or sometimes pubescent above, the styles apical.
A large genus of about 300 species in temperate and subtropical regions of both hemispheres, extending into mountainous regions of the tropics; 20 species occur in Pakistan.
Festuca is a large and very cumbersome genus whose species are often extremely difficult to name. The species concept today is very different from that of last century or even earlier this century and it is becoming apparent that among the smaller, setaceous-leaved fescues the important taxonomic characters are often of a highly cryptic nature. The taxa now recognised seldom fit comfortably into an infraspecific hierarchy and so former subspecies and varieties (and even forms) are today frequently accorded species rank. Use of anatomical characters in the key, while hopelessly unhelpful in the field, is unavoidable since it is at this level that taxonomy appears to operate in Festuca. The following is a very rough guide to the main groups that exist within the genus and to which species can be safely amalgamated into aggregates in cases of extreme difficulty:
Bovinae (tall plants with broad flat leaves)
Drymanthele (leaves without auricles) species 1-2
Schedonorus (leaves with auricles) species 3—5
Leucopoa (glumes hyaline; species sometimes dioecious) species 6-7
Ovinae (small plants with folded-setaceous leaves)
Festuca rubra group (leaves with 7-13 sclerenchyma strands; panicle lax, often nodding) species 8-12
Festuca ovina group (leaves with 3 sclerenchyma strands; panicle narrow. contracted) species 15-19
Species 13 & 14 (like Festuca ovina but with 7 sclerenchyma strands; lemmas awnless or almost so) and species 20 (sclerenchyma usually continuous, not m strands do not easily fit into these groups although the last is morphologically enough like Festuca ovina group to be admitted into the aggregate.
The account which follows is based entirely on that of Alexeev (1980) and this paper should be consulted for further details on the matter of synonymy and the application of certain, names.