Vulpia elliotea (Raf.) Fern.

Locations ofVulpia elliotea (Raf.) Fern. in Virginia

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Botanical Name
Vulpia elliotea (Raf.) Fern.
Common Name
Squirrel-tail Fescue
Vulpia sciurea (Nuttall) Henrard; Festuca sciurea Nuttall
Flora of Virginia Name/Status
Festuca sciurea Nuttall
Treated as Vulpia sciurea (Nutt.) Henrard by FNA and others. However, the name Vulpia elliotea (Raf.) Fern. has nomenclatural priority (R. Soreng, pers. comm.).

Our Vulpia spp. are sometimes included in Festuca, as by Flora of the Southeastern U.S. and Flora of Virginia. However, according to Darbyshire and Pavlick (in FNA 24), the taxonomy of Festuca is complex, problematic, and not yet definitive. The phylogenetic relationships between Vulpia, with thirty species world-wide, and various clades of the highly variable Festuca seem unresolved; and Lonord (in FNA 24) points out that Vulpia consists mostly of cleistogamous annuals with one anther per floret while Festuca consists of chasmogamous species with three anthers per floret. Moreover, Vulpia forms sterile hybrids with both Festuca and Lolium. Until greater clarity is attained by future studies, we here retain Vulpia based on the morphological evidence that it forms a distinctive evolutionary lineage.
Sandy fields, roadsides, disturbed dunes. Infrequent in the Coastal Plain of se. Virginia and the Eastern Shore.
Native Status

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