CPC Plant Profile: Guadalupe Fescue
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Plant Profile

Guadalupe Fescue (Festuca ligulata)

Festuca ligulata occurs at moderate elevations (>6000 feet) on the gentle but rocky, forested slopes of pine-oak-juniper woodlands in Texas. Photo Credit: Kathy Rice
Description
  • Global Rank: G1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Endangered
  • Family: Poaceae
  • State: MX, TX
  • Nature Serve ID: 133670
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 04/01/1990

Festuca ligulata is a loosely tufted perennial grass growing up to 32 inches in height (Hitchcock 1950, Gould 1975). The slender stems of this grass are roughly textured and curve upward from a rhizomatous base. Inflorescences are branched and droop delicately. Festuca inhabits rocky, steep sites in Texas and Mexico (Poole 1989).

Participating Institutions
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Updates
Center for Plant Conservation
  • 08/18/2021
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

In 2021, CPC contracted Desert Botanical Garden to recollect seed from a population currently held in long term orthodox seed storage as part of an IMLS-funded seed longevity experiment. The National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation will evaluate how germination tested viability and RNA Integrity of seed lots decline over time in storage.

  • 10/05/2020
  • Propagation Research

Seeds of some Fescue species have been known to deteriorate rapidly in storage. An endosymbiotic fungus may invade the seeds of Festuca, although the exact nature of this interaction is unknown. Approximately 1500 seeds were collected in 1991, as summer rainfall and seed production were very high. Desert Botanical Garden is conducting studies related to germination and storage requirements of seeds, and seedling survival and ecology. (Desert Botanical Garden 2000)

  • 10/05/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Seeds of some Fescue species have been known to deteriorate rapidly in storage. An endosymbiotic fungus may invade the seeds of Festuca, although the exact nature of this interaction is unknown. Approximately 1500 seeds were collected in 1991, as summer rainfall and seed production were very high. Desert Botanical Garden is conducting studies related to germination and storage requirements of seeds, and seedling survival and ecology. (Desert Botanical Garden 2000)

  • 10/05/2020
  • Seed Collection

Seeds of some Fescue species have been known to deteriorate rapidly in storage. An endosymbiotic fungus may invade the seeds of Festuca, although the exact nature of this interaction is unknown. Approximately 1500 seeds were collected in 1991, as summer rainfall and seed production were very high. Desert Botanical Garden is conducting studies related to germination and storage requirements of seeds, and seedling survival and ecology. (Desert Botanical Garden 2000)

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Currently (2015) known only from two extant populations, one in Big Bend National Park, Texas and one in nearby?Maderas del Carmen, Coahuila, Mexico. The Texas population is small (fewer than 150 individuals) but is being monitored and actively protected. The extant Mexican population is on private conservation land, was visited in 2003 and described as being large. The status of plants at a second collection site in Coahuila is not known, and a historically known Texas site, in the Guadalupe Mountains, has not been relocated despite attempts in 2002.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Festuca ligulata is a palatable forage grass and is subject to grazing pressure, particularly from domestic animals (Poole 1989). Park recreational uses and maintenance may further stress remaining individuals (Poole 1989).

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

In the U.S. there is a single known population with less than 65 individuals (Polle 1989). Two to three historical occurrences have been reported in Mexico, but the status of these sites is unknown.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Seeds of some Fescue species have been known to deteriorate rapidly in storage. An endosymbiotic fungus may invade the seeds of Festuca, although the exact nature of this interaction is unknown. Approximately 1500 seeds were collected in 1991, as summer rainfall and seed production were very high. Desert Botanical Garden is conducting studies related to germination and storage requirements of seeds, and seedling survival and ecology. (Desert Botanical Garden 2000)

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Plants are being annually monitored by staff at Big Bend National Park (Moir 1980). Surveys are being done to locate new sites in areas where controlled burning is being considered.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Additional surveys in the Chisos Mountains and in Mexico are needed. General knowledge of this species reproductive biology and ecology as well as habitat requirements would aid in conservation efforts.

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Festuca ligulata
Authority Swallen
Family Poaceae
CPC Number 1930
ITIS 40803
USDA FELI
Common Names Guadalupe fescue
Associated Scientific Names Festuca ligulata
Distribution The only known population of Festuca ligulata in the United States occurs in the Chisos Mountains of Big Bend National Park (Poole 1989). Two historical sites in Culverson County and the Guadalupe Mo
State Rank
State State Rank
Mexico
Texas S1
Habitat

Festuca ligualta is found at high elevations (ca. 6,000-7,000 ft) with cool climates, talus slopes with Juniperus flaccida, Quercus, Pinus, and Acer (Poole 1989).

Ecological Relationships

Unknown.

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Reintroduction
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting

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