Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa
Volume 9, 1876
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Festuca duriuscula, L.

The “Hard Sheeps' Fescue” is found from Hawke Bay southward, becoming more abundant in the Southern Island. It ranges from the sealevel (Port Nicholson) to 6,000 feet in the Southern Alps, and flourishes in all soils and situations, except those of a moist character. Although extensively cultivated in Europe, where its value is fully recognized, it is comparatively rare under cultivation in this Colony, especially in the Northern Island, yet from its great abundance and wide distribution, combined

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with its high nutritive qualities and hardy habit, it has more than any other grass aided the rapid progress of Canterbury and Otago. This and the preceding species ought to form part of the armorial bearings of the South Island.

When growing alone it exhibits a remarkably tussocky habit, quite foreign to its character in the British Islands, but the tussocks are not nearly so rigid as those of Poa australias, var. lavis, and they disappear when it is cultivated with other grasses. It is especially adapted for mixed pasturage on rather dry and gravelly soils, and for sheep runs at considerable altitudes, but should form part of all ordinary mixed pastures except on moist land. Of all grasses, native or introduced, this species and Poa colensoi are the most valuable for sheep runs, while their herbage is eaten alike by horses, cattle, and sheep.