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Meadowmat wildflower species: Slender creeping red fescue

Slender creeping red fescue

What does slender creeping red fescue look like?

Festuca rubra, which is more commonly known as slender creeping red fescue,features narrow, almost needle-like leaves and slightly tufted swards. The leaves of the grass are bright green and have slight reddish hues (most notably in the warmer months), from which the name of the plant derives. When flowering, the grass features between four and 10 spikelets which individually grow to approximately 15mm each. The ligules of slender creeping red fescue are typically short and quite blunt, although the overall size of the grass ranges between 2-20cm in height.

flowering spike of slender creeping red fescue

When does slender creeping red fescue flower?

As a perennial plant, slender creeping red fescue grows all year round, in almost all conditions. During the summer months the grass tends to reach its maximum height of 20cm and upwards, and also appears much richer in colour during the same time period, with more spikelets and flowers than in the colder seasons. As the word 'creeping' in its name may suggest, the grass grows slowly over time and is able to withstand close cutting and mowing, as well as strong winds.

Where does slender creeping red fescue like to grow?

As a native species to the UK, slender creeping red fescue is a reasonably hardy grass, is likely to grow in all manner of climates and is suited to anywhere in the country. The grass mainly grows naturally in pH neutral or acidic soils, and has a high tolerance to salt, which makes it an ideal choice for decorating roadsides, roundabouts, parks and other urban areas where salt is used for de-icing, as certain other grasses with less sodium tolerance can often wither as a result of salt contamination. Slender creeping red fescue also has a higher than average tolerance for both drought and shade conditions, making it an excellent all-rounder, whatever the weather. It tends to thrive better than other grasses of its class in mild, coastal climates, although it is hardy enough to flower anywhere in the United Kingdom.

Does slender creeping red fescue benefit wildlife?

Due to its hardy nature, creeping red fescue is ideal for use as an ornamental grass in its own right, or as a buffer to help protect other meadow-dwelling flowers such as bluebells or croci - making it perfect for use within a Meadowmat. It's bright, deep hues generally work well with flowering plants in pastel or vibrant shades, and it is an excellent all-rounder when it comes to preparing or designing a meadow or garden area.

Picture is from www.wickipedia.com

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