Festuca matthewsii subsp. pisamontis
Otago 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 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon | Qualifiers: RR
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon | Qualifiers: RR
2009 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon
2004 | Range Restricted
Endemic. New Zealand: South Island (Central Otago: Dunstan, Pisa, and Old Man Ranges).
Montane to alpine. In tussock grassland (often the dominant species), around rock outcrops, amongst scrub.
Moderately tall short tussock with very smooth or minutely prickle-toothed fine leaf-blades, below laxly branched inflorescence of large spikelets with conspicuously awned florets. Leaf-sheath 25–70 mm, glabrous, striate, stramineous, margin membranous; apical auricles 0.4–1.3 mm, rounded, ciliate. Ligule 0.3–0.6 mm, ciliate. Leaf-blade 50–200 × 0.4–0.6 mm, hexagonal and ribbed or ± terete, pointed, undersides smooth or minutely imperceptibly antrorsely prickle-toothed on ribs, upper surface and margins abundantly short white antrorsely hairy. Culm 110–400 mm, erect, well exserted above leaf-blades; nodes visible; internodes smooth but sometimes occasionally minutely prickle-toothed. Panicle 25–130 mm with 5–9 nodes, 4–16 spikelets; branches solitary sometimes binate, lax, naked below, basal branch 12–55 mm, of 1–5 spikelets, uppermost 3–5 spikelets solitary on short pedicels; rachis prickle-toothed on margins throughout or sometimes glabrous below becoming scabrid above, branches and pedicels prickle-toothed. Spikelets 10–15 × 3–5 mm, of 5–6 florets. Glumes unequal, keeled or slightly so, prickle-teeth above, usually brown or purpled centrally, margins membranous, ciliate; lower 2.8-4.0 mm, 1-nerved, long triangular acute or blunt, upper 3.5–5.5 mm, 3-nerved, narrowly ovate, obtuse to acute. Lemma 3.7–6.2 mm, lobes 0.1 mm, rounded, glabrous except for prickle-teeth at apex and near awn, glaucous; awn 1.2–2.5 mm. Palea 4.5–6.8 mm, often = lemma, acute, deeply bifid, keels toothed in upper ½–⅔, interkeel hairs above, margins of flanks ciliate above. Callus 0.2–0.3 mm, margin very sparsely shortly bearded; articulation flat. Rachilla 1.0–1.5 mm, short stiff antrorsely hairy. Lodicules 0.8–1.2 mm, lobed, usually hair-tipped. Anthers 2.8–3.7 mm, yellow. Ovary 0.6–0.9 mm, obovate, apex usually with hispid hairs; stigma-styles 1.2–1.3 mm. Seed 3 mm.
Manaaki Whenua Online Interactive Key
Easily grown from fresh seed and rooted pieces. An attractive grass tolerant of most conditions but dislikes humidity.
Local endemic, common within its geographic region.
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 p.