Festuca matthewsii subsp. aquilonia
northern blue fescue
None (first described in 1998)
Vascular – Native
The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.
2n = 42
Current conservation status
The threat classification status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2017 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS) – more information about this can be found on the NZTCS website This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2012 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: By Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, John W. Barkla, Shannel P. Courtney, Paul D. Champion, Leon R. Perrie, Sarah M. Beadel, Kerry A. Ford, Ilse Breitwieser, Ines Schönberger, Rowan Hindmarsh-Walls, Peter B. Heenan and Kate Ladley. Please note, threat classifications are often suggested by authors when publications fall between NZTCS assessment periods – a suggested threat classification status has not been assessed by the NZTCS panel.
2017 | Not Threatened
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Endemic. New Zealand: South Island (North-West Nelson (Mt Benson), central and southern Nelson from St Arnaud to Lewis Pass, Marlborough, Wairau Mountains and Richmond Range)
Subalpine and alpine tussock grasslands
Stiff scabrid leaved tussock with scabrid inflorescences of wide-angled branches of awned spikelets borne high above circular or hexagonal glaucous leaves. Leaf-sheath 50-150 mm, glabrous or minutely scabrid, keeled, stramineous, margins membranous, brown below; apical auricles 0.3-0.7 mm, ciliate. Collar usually swollen. Leaf-blade 150.0-300.0 × 0.5-0.7 mm, glaucous, hexagonal and ribbed or terete, abaxially minutely or strongly antrorsely prickle-toothed sometimes glabrous, adaxially with abundant short white antrorse hairs on ribs and margins. Culm 300-700 mm, usually greatly exceeding leaf-blades, nodes sometimes geniculate, uppermost conspicuous, upper internodes sparsely prickle-toothed or glabrous. Panicle 70-150 mm with 6-9 nodes, of 8-25 spikelets; open wide-angled pulvinate branches sometimes contracted or becoming so, naked below, basal branch solitary with 2-7 spikelets, uppermost 4-6 spikelets solitary on short pedicels; rachis, branches and pedicels with abundant small prickle-teeth especially on convex surfaces, longer prickle-teeth on margins. Spikelets 10.0-15.0 × 4.5 mm, of 4-9 florets. Glumes unequal, keeled with prickle-teeth above, centrally green-bronze, margins pale membranous, ciliate; lower 3.4-5.0 mm, 1-nerved, triangular acute, upper 4.5-7.0 mm, 3-nerved, long triangular acute to obovate acute. Lemma 4.5-7.0 mm, lobes small (0.05 mm) or 0, rounded below becoming keeled above, sparsely scabrid on margin below and near awn; awn 0.5-1-2 mm. Palea 5-7 mm, frequently > lemma, apex deeply bifid, ciliate, keels toothed ½-2/3 or more, interkeel hairs above, margins of flanks ciliate above. Callus 0.2-0.3 mm, margins sparsely bearded, articulation ± flat. Rachilla 1.0-1.5 mm, hairy, hairs short and stiff. Lodicules 0.8-1.1 mm, > ovary, often hair-tipped. Anthers 2.50-3.75 mm, yellow or purpled. Ovary 0.50-0.75 mm, hispid hairs at apex; stigma-styles 1.8-2.5 mm. Seed 3-3.5 mm.
Manaaki Whenua Online Interactive Key
October - December
November - March
Easily grown from fresh seed and rooted pieces. An attractive grass tolerant of most conditions but dislikes humidity.
festuca: From the Latin festuca ‘stem’ or ‘blade of grass’
matthewsii: After Mathews
Where To Buy
Not commercially available
Description modified from Edgar and Connor (2000).
References and further reading
Edgar, E.; Connor, H.E. 2000: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. V. Grasses. Christchurch, Manaaki Whenua Press. 650 pp.