Festuca vaginata

Festuca vaginata Waldst. & Kit. ex Willd.

Poaceae – Grass family

Conservation status. Endangered [EN A1c; B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv)+2ab(i,iv)]. BDA.

Morphology and biology. Perennial, lax caespitose plant. Stem 40–60 cm high, smooth, glaucus. Leaves with 9 veins, narrow cylindrical, starting from entire sheaths, as their prolongation. Panicle up to 20 cm long, lax to dense. Spikelets 5–8 mm long. Lemmas acute. Glumes acute, awn absent or up to 0.5 mm long. Fl. VI–VII, fr. VII– VIII. Wind pollination. Reproduction by seeds and vegetatively.

Habitats and populations. Occurs on sand dunes, in the composition of open, psammophytic communities. Populations strongly fragmented with relatively small number of individuals, rarely exceeding 100 individuals.

Distribution in Bulgaria. Black Sea coast (north – Pobiti Kamani locality, Shabla, Dourankulak, the mouth of Kamchia river; south – Zlatna ribka, Alepu, Arkutino localities, Primorsko), Danubian plain (Archar village, Vidin district); up to 100 m alt.

General distribution. C, S and E Europe.

Threats. Intensive building of tourist complexes, and destruction of sand dunes at the south Black Sea soast, trampling, particularly by tourists; winter storms (particularly at the northern coast), strongly fragmented distribution and small number of individuals per population. Only the populations in Pobiti Kamani and Arkutino are with higher number of individuals.

Conservation measures taken. The species is protected by the national Biodiversity Act. Some of the localities are within protected areas (Durankulashko Ezero and Pobiti Kamani Nature Monuments, Kavatsite Protected Site, Ropotamo Strict Nature Reserve) and in sites of the European ecological network Natura 2000 in Bulgaria.

Conservation measures needed. Protection of the species by the national Biodiversity Act. Study of the tendencies in the numerical strength and area of the populations as a result of the rapid degradation of the coastal ecosystems; control of the construction activities on the sand dunes. Collection of seeds for the National Seed Genebank in Sadovo.

Note. According to Kozhuharov (1992) the close relative F. arenicola (Prodan) Soó also occurs in Bulgaria. This species is treated as part of F. vaginata agg. in the current edition. According to Dihoru (1987), F. arenicola comprises 2 species – F. beckerii and F. polesiaca. Both species are treated as part of F. vaginata agg. in the current edition.

References. Reichinger 1933; Valev 1963; Stoeva 1984; Dihoru 1987; Tzonev et al. 2005.

Author: Rossen Tzonev

Festuca vaginata (distribution map)

Festuca vaginata (drawing)